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Wagon Wednesday: Ebay Find 1939 Ford Phantom Woodie

Scott Ith December 12, 2012 Wagon Wednesday 4 Comments

Henry Ford got into the business of building depot hacks, or station wagons, very early on.  The first station wagons were generally just a standard cab of a car or truck with some wooden seating attached to the back of the car.  They were usually used to transport passengers and luggage to and from train stations (or depots) – thus the name.

This woody deviates from Henry’s original utility-based design just a bit…


Later, the wooden station wagon body morphed into a more useful, enclosed and stylized car body, with windows and tailgates.  These woodies were sold as part of the standard product line.  Ford used hard maple for the framing.  Why?  Well, maple is a very high quality wood that doesn’t react too much to changes in temperature and humidity.  Also, he happened to own large sections of land covered with maple groves, so the lumber was almost pure profit.

What Ford did not do, was come up with an idea like this ’39 Ford hot rod.  People in the hot rod community call these “Phantom” woodies because there was never a two-door body style originally.  This example is very well executed.


The smooth, gloss black paneling within the wood framework on the body is a great touch.  Generally, woodies have wood paneling there.  The high gloss really ties the car together with a sleek look. 

The whole car, inside and out, is very well thought out and beautifully crafted.  Click here for the ebay ad.  This car, despite its $65,000 price tag, is not a bad deal at all.  Woodies have achieved an amazing level of price.  Original, modified, full custom, it doesn’t seem to matter as these cars tend to have a $75-100k ask when they go up for sale or auction. 

The buyer even included some cool build pics that show that this particular car is mostly built from steel substructure with wood applique for looks. 

Should you buy this beauty?  Well, if you were wondering what you were going to do with that spare $65k you had lying around, then yes, absolutely you should. 


Scott Ith is an Associate Editor with Hooniverse.com, but he also contributes to his own site NeedThatCar.com.  Head over there for more hooniganism.


  • MVEilenstein

    I'm ashamed to admit I did not know the origin of the term "station wagon," aside from the wagon part, which is obvious.

    Thanks for learning me good.

  • Pretty cool. Collector bargain price, right there.

  • Alcology

    Very cool, I have a very non-Phantom woodie for this.

  • While Ford never built a 2-door woody, coachbuilders at the time did build contemporary 2-door woody bodies.

    <img src="http://www.hazcc.com/gallery_pics/Events/2007/Armacost/Armacost%20003.jpg&quot; width="500">