Woody Wagons in Small-Scale
by Doug Breithaupt

Station wagons may be in for a re-birth in the U.S. and the rest of the world already offers a nice variety grocery getters. Looking back, the most beloved wagons of past years have been the 'woody wagons', so named for the use of actual wood for portions of the body. Toy car makers have enjoyed offering woody wagons over the years. Recently, Johnny Lightning offered a new series that included several classic woody models.

1931 Ford Model A Woody
Hot Wheels (custom)

This is the best-known and perhaps, the first woody wagon produced in 1:64 scale. One of the early models from Hot Wheels, the '31 Ford Woody represented just the sort of hot rod to be found at California beaches in the 1960's. At the time, these were not prized collector cars, rather they were budget transportation, modified as necessary to make them look good and run better.

In mint condition, this Hot Wheel can sell for $50 or more. Even compared to Johnny Lightning's recent version of the same car, the original Woody holds up well.

1931 Ford Model A Woody
Johnny Lightning #835

It is clear that this model from JL is intended to improve on the original from Hot Wheels. The casting and detail are certainly better but this is largely the result of new casting, paint and tampo techniques. Both models are delightful and it's great to see this model again after 30 years. The JL model features headlights and a front bumper not provided on the original.

1940 Ford Woody Wagon
Hot Wheels

Once again, Hot Wheels led the way with this hot rod '40 Ford Woody. The use of the plastic body to simulate wood actually worked quite well. After more than 20 years this casting is still in production. The example here sports 'Real Rider' tires and is one of the most collectible versions.

1940 Ford Woody Wagon
Racing Champions #2174

This example of the '40 Ford Woody is a mild custom featuring modern wheels and engine detail. This particular model was offered in the 'Outdoor Life' series, matched with a vintage magazine cover as part of the blister pack.

1940 Ford Woody Wagon

In 2001, Imperial surprised collectors with a series of new models including this '40 Ford Woody. This example is a nice casting and uses the same wheels as the other cars in the series. Unfortunately, these models are not broadly distributed and can be a challenge to find.

1940 Ford Woody Wagon (Boxotica)
Racing Champions #157

This slick custom '40 Ford Woody is one of the best from Racing Champions. Excellent detail and paint allow the superior casting to shine. The reverse-opening hood shows a nicely painted hot rod V8. Most of the Racing Champion hot rod models were based on real vehicles and it is likely the 'Boxotica' has a real live counterpart.

1941 Chevrolet Deluxe Woody Wagon
Johnny Lightning #836

Another recent woody from JL, the '41 Chevy is a nice change after all the '40 Fords. Other than the wheels, this model appears to be in stock form and is very well done. With so few pre-war Chevrolet models in 1:64 scale, this one is a great addition to the hobby.

1950 Ford 2-Door Woody Wagon

The image is a bit deceptive as this particular model is a smaller scale (1:72) than the Mercury below. It is however, nicely detailed and includes a wind-up motor for the back wheels. Like Hongwell, Kinsmart has produced models in the 1:72 range. The '50 Ford Woody is one of their more interesting and comes in a wide variety of colors.

1950 Mercury 2-Door Woody Wagon
Johnny Lightning #146

This model was done first as the 'Mod Squad' car for JL's Hollywood series. It has been re-issued in the new Wagons series. The model is well executed and includes the spare tire out back. It's great to see these seldom-seen models in 1:64 scale.

1958 Morris Minor Traveler Wagon
Hot Wheels (custom)

A hot rod Morris Minor Estate could only come from Hot Wheels. Curiously, it is identified as an M.G. Rover on the base. The 'woody' portion of the wagon is in plastic and the huge V8 would be a challenge to see around. If the motor was removed and bonnet replaced, this model could almost pass for stock.

1971 Ford Country Squire Wagon
Yat Ming #1015

Like this Yat Ming model, the wood on the side of the real '71 Ford was fake. This did not stop it being a popular option. This model is one of the few tributes to the golden age of American station wagons. Perhaps we will see more of the wagons of this era in future.

1975 Ford Country Squire Wagon
Zylmex (courtesy of Jayme Ahearn)

The nose and the tail of this seldom-seen wagon are not too bad but it seems a bit too short. The earlier Yat Ming example is much closer to the mark for Ford's big wagon. Still, this Zylmex does sport a unique feature. The rear door opens from the side, just like the real wagon.

1982 Dodge Aries Wagon
Hot Wheels (courtesy of Jayme Ahearn)

Who would have expected Hot Wheels to produce a Dodge Aries Wagon? It is certainly unlike most of the flashy models that Hot Wheels is known for and it is even done in normal colors. This model is also a bit difficult to find as it was not produced for long.

1995 Mercury Sable Wagon (The Brady Bunch)

It's amazing that Matchbox actually produced a Mercury Sable Wagon. Choosing this model to carry 'Brady Bunch' graphics is silly as it is 20 years too new. These wagons did however come with fake wood decals for those trying to recapture the look of a classic baby boom wagon.
2002 Chrysler Panel Cruiser Woody

While the PT/Panel Cruiser models are not really wagons, they are close in size to many wagons of the past. Matchbox added some wood-like tampos to their recent casting.