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Motor City Classics 1939 Chevrolet DeLuxe wagon Page 1

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With the long board hanging out the back and real wooden exterior panels, Motor City Classics 1939 Chevy wagon is a woody-lovers dream machine. The big whitewalls and body-color-matched wheels with polished lug caps really put the final touches on this classic.
The 90hp Chevy engine lacks detail, but the slick-folding hood makes up for the lackluster inline-6.
Another convincing touch is the vintage surf-lifestyle decals affixed to the rear quarter windows.

Forgettable. That’s the way most postwar Chevrolets are referred to. Sixty to 70 years later, Chevy coupes, sedans and wagons have been nearly entirely eclipsed by Fords of the same era. Let us not forget, however, that Ford and Chevy have been in mortal combat long before the Mustang and Camaro showed up. In 1939, the two were neck and neck in sales; they each moved about 570,000 vehicles (not including trucks). Ford had a well-established station wagon presence, but Chevrolet had just introduced its wooden-body wagon that year. As a result, Ford outsold Chevy 6,155 to 1,419. It’s no wonder that the Chevy woody became lost in a field of Fords.

Chevy commissioned Hercules and Iona Co. to build the wooden body. It was beautifully crafted with elegant flowing lines that bowed fore and aft. With a design that still relied on shaped corners, the Chevy’s look was far more progressive than its Ford counterpart’s.

The allure of wooden-body wagons faded with the automobile industry’s postwar modernization, and those Fords and Chevys became rusting and rooting transportation for a wetter lifestyle.

HIGHLIGHTS
Exterior Some anticipation was felt when the 1939 Chevy wagon and the 1949 Ford Woody arrived, and Motor City Classics did not disappoint.

Motor City chose the ’39 because it has a rustic ruggedness that defines the early surf mentality. The die-cast portion of the body has a smooth and consistent finish that covers the classic fat fenders and bullet-style highlight housings. Thumbs up to the rich attention to historical detail; Motor City added the side-mounted spare tire cover and optional front grille panel delete and the winged hood ornament—all upgrades on the top-of-the-line Master DeLuxe.

Motor City Classics also scores high on trim quality. The hood side grilles, windshield-wiper arms, door handles and bumpers are above the price point seen in typical window-box display die-cast models.

The Chevy wagon’s superstar feature is its real wood panels. The wood supplies the panels with a grain and texture that varies according to the wood used—much the same as it was in 1939.

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Updated: June 30, 2011 — 11:23 AM

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