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1951 Dodge Wagon- How Much Wood Could A Woodchuck Chuck?

Robert Emslie October 7, 2014 Cars and Coffee 7 Comments


If you bought a classic Dodge Woody Wagon you’d probably want all your friends to know about it, right? This Campbell-bodied Dodge isn’t just Job-Rated, it’s up to the job of bringing all your friends along to enjoy the experience. It’s also a truck with an astounding presence, and enough lumber to keep you in splinters for years.DSCN4974At one time the Dodge truck was the king of the commercial heap, at least as far as the big three go. Their Power Wagon had powered through WWII and the brand had gained the reputation for offering the toughest of mid- to large-size trucks having done more to enhance their durability than had Ford or Chevy.


This truck’s woody body is the work of the Hercules Campbell Body Company, at the time headquartered in Tarrytown, NY. Campbell built the bodies for Chevrolet during the depression and following the war turned their attention predominantly to the building of commercial vehicles. This 1951 Dodge is just such an example, sporting 10-passenger capacity in its beautifully crafted passenger space. Remarkably, this model, the ‘Surrey,’ wasn’t even the largest one offered. The even longer ‘Commuter’ and  ‘Convoyer’ dwarfed their smaller brethren. On the other end of the spectrum, the ‘Club’ was almost diminutive in comparison.



The exterior on this one looks as good as the insides, the well maintained wood contrasting nicely with the patina of age in the deep blue paint. A dually rear end keeps all those passengers aloft, and the only thing missing here is a spidery roof rack for the luggage. With that you could totally picture this wagon sitting outside a train depot awaiting vacationers.


Hercules Campbell went into receivership in 1957, at which point they stopped commissioned manufacturing. The company continued on for another half-decade as a truck distributor but of course by then the use of wood in car bodies was pretty much only the parlance of British makers. Dodge today doesn’t make trucks, Chrysler deigning that the Ram brand is better suited. They’ve also decided that some of their trucks should come from Italy by way of Mexico. For some reason, I don’t think those trucks will be looked upon with as much appreciation as this one 60 years hence.

Images: ©2014 Hooniverse/Robert Emslie, All Rights Reserved

  • Van_Sarockin

    Maybe Tarrytown?

    • Slow_Joe_Crow

      That would make sense, there was a big Chevy plant there until the mid 90s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Tarrytown_Asse….
      From the looks of the interior, this was the functional ancestor of the passenger van and reminds me of the Chevy Suburban school buses that were still common in the early 70s.

  • Drzhivago138

    Seeing the rear end of that monster reminds me of the aftermarket wide-body Dodge Ram Van.

  • MrDPR

    My first thought has to do with the Armstrong power steering unit in a Dodge dually woodie as old as me. Then there's the 3' tall shifter — – – – rowing the grind'em till they fit gears, double & triple clutching through traffic. Just knowing the brakes have to be a constant thing of wonder when called upon … " … I wonder if they're going to work this time??; …." feeling of panic associated with the LegPower braking system managing the all around drums.

    Nice looking old vehicle tho. . . .

    • This one appears to have a Lokar automatic shift lever, so I fear its rowing days are over.

  • FЯeeMan

    "Job-Rated" – good to know marketing slogans in the 50's were just as meaningless as they are today.