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Homepage. This page: Restoring a V8 Ford woodie estate-car of the mid/late 1930s.

1936 Ford V8 station wagon.

Colin contacted me in 2011 with photographs and information about a rare V8 Ford that he has restored. A fan of classic woodies, Colin took the vehicle back to the bare chassis and rebuilt it throughout. The following is an article that he supplied, outlining this thorough restoration.
The restored Ford V8 woodie

Colin's V8 Ford.

This 1936 Ford V8 model 68-790 wooden-bodied station wagon has been lovingly restored by Woodie Car Club chairman, Colin Peck, over a three year period and returned to the road during 2010.  This original RHD car sold new for £245 and was dubbed the ‘Ford Utility Car’ although the 1936 advertising blurb described the car more creatively as the ‘Sportsman’s Pullman’.
It was first restored in the early 1970s and then spent a number of years in the ownership of a Ford Motor Co executive in Paris. It returned to the UK in the late 1980s but only clocked up approx 300 miles in the last 30 years.
Whilst the car was structurally sound when acquired by Colin, the mechanicals left much to be desired. “If there were two of something then one was bodged, broken or missing”, comments Colin. The engine had a military distributor and a combination of burnt valves, and an exhaust manifold on one bank of the flathead V8 3.6 litre motor that had a hole big enough to get a 50p piece inside, which caused a chronic misfire. This, combined with a clutch and brakes down to the rivets, cracked tyres, flaking paintwork and chrome and an exhaust system made from Swiss cheese, meant that Colin had the car stripped to a shell within a couple of weeks of ownership.
Restoring this classic woodie
“Early Ford V8 owners must be the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable people you’ll find anywhere, and they have steered me through most of the problems I encountered during the car’s restoration,” continues Colin. “The fact that most parts for Early Ford V8’s are also being reproduced in the US also helped a great deal, along with helpful advice I got from members of the dedicated old Ford website www.fordbarn.com.”
He had to completely rebuild the back end of the car, as a previous owner had cut the bottom nine inches off the bottom tailgate to accommodate a huge towbar, and whilst he was at it Colin also replaced the fold-up plastic side and rear windows with sliding glass. “I’ve got a number of subtle upgrades planned for the car as I want it to be a great driving long distance cruiser. So over this winter I’m rebuilding the rear axle with a slightly higher ratio crownwheel and pinion to improve cruising speed and lower petrol consumption, and I’m also going to have a custom dual exhaust system built to improve gas flow and give it a nice exhaust note. I may also be shodding a spare set of wheels with radials to improve handling.”
Whilst wooden-bodied shooting brakes, utilities, estate cars and station wagons, collectively known as Woodies, were to be seen on every street during the 1930s, 40s and 50s the ravages of cold damp UK winters and woodworm have taken their toll on most since that time, and whilst the UK population of woodies is estimated to be around 250 vehicles, only two 1936 Ford V8 woodies are currently known to survive in the UK.
Read more classic car owners' stories in the Your Cars section of oldclassiccar. Thanks to Colin for supplying the story of his car's rebuild.

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