Ford Deluxe Woodie Station Wagon

In 1939, the Standard and Deluxe station wagons were readily distinguishable from one another. The standard used 1938-style front fenders, and a grille based on the 1938 Deluxe configuration, but with a more distinctive upper section and hood side panels. Most station wagons now had safety glass all around, though side curtains were still available. Just 315 Standard wagons were so equipped, however, against 2,203 with glass. Standard wagons had artificial leather seats, while Deluxe models got leather facing on the cushions. The Standard model lacked the bright windshield moldings, passenger windshield wiper and sun visor of the Deluxe models, but some of these could be added as options. The basic price of the Deluxe wagon was just $85.00 more than the Standard, so most customers opted for the additional features. More than 8,200 Ford station wagons were built in 1939, second only to 1937’s record.

Among the most coveted of Ford woodies are those constructed of Birdseye Maple. “Birdseye” refers to its grain pattern, resembling a sea of tiny, swirling “eyes” that disrupt the normal straight lines of grain. It is not a species of tree, but rather a condition that arises from complex causes. Birdseye grain is known to occur in ash, mahogany, beech, walnut and birch, but by far the most common Birdseye is found in Acer saccharum, the sugar maple. Experience has shown that the greatest concentration of Birdseye tres is in the forests of the Great Lakes region of Canada and Michigan: the location of Iron Mountain.

It is believed that the “eyes” are the result of new shoots whose growth has been aborted, perhaps as a result of low soil pH and a sugar deficit within the tree. This aborted growth leaves tiny knots, forming the birds’ eyes, which are covered by the next year’s growth ring.

Birdseye Maple has a medium density and variable color. Outer rings of the tree are usually creamy, light amber in color, with darker birdseye patterns. Inner rings, the heartwood, can be deep amber with dark brown birdseyes. The “eyes” can be from an eighth or three-eighths of an inch in diameter. The wood works well on a lathe or shaper, but is hard enough that it does not scratch easily. Thus it is highly prized for making fine furniture or, alternatively, automobile bodies or trim.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August 2009 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California, in July of 2010 at the Shotwell Gustafson Pavilion at Meadow Brook Hall, Rochester, Michigan and in June of 2012 at the Dingman Collection, Hampton, New Hampshire.

85 bhp, 221 cu. in. Flathead V8 engine, three-speed manual transmission with Columbia rear end, solid front axle and live rear axle with transverse semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 112".

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel

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