Ford's new Flex crossover is comfortable and luxurious enough to take out on the town. The same can be said of a generation of Ford woodies, particularly those produced from 1946 to 1948. While the vinyl appliqus plastered to the sides of 1960s and 1970s station wagons reduced to caricature the notion of a wood-bodied vehicle, this was the real stuff. Depending on the manufacturer, doors, window frames, even the headliners were handcrafted out of ash, maple, and other woods, more in the idiom of fine furniture and sporting watercraft than mass-produced automobiles. The top was made of a hard, black vinyl-like material, stretched over wood bows. This 1947 example was officially called a Super Deluxe Station Wagon.
Wood was hardly ideal for automotive use. It rotted and was subject to termite damage. It rattled when loose. The material was heavy and often required refinishing. But none of that mattered to the gentrified wagon buyers of the day. Because it sure looked great.
Coverage: January 1987
Just like the current issue, January 1987 boasted Lamborghini, Lotus, and Ferrari road tests, although today's fastest from two of those marques will run a good bit faster than 177. We tested something fairly new, called the Toyota 4Runner, which has done pretty well in the ensuing two decades. The Saab 900 convertible? A version of that is still around, too. Renault Alliance? Peugeot 505? Pontiac Fiero? Uhhhh...not so well.