Orange County, Ca
Sunset Beach

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Photos  Sunset Beach  Woody Surfing USA


beach photos /   California cars & woodies


Photos of Sunset Beach Cool California  Scenes include Taco Surf Woody in Surfing USA. Get your cherry woody car out and drive on down to the beach where you can eat at the tin shack reminiscent of the 1960's when Frankie and Annette sang beach songs down on the sand.

Nothing says surfing & beach like woody wagons. A cross between a sedan and a panel truck, nearly any kind of wood paneled station wagon might qualify as one.   First known as "Shooting Brakes" or "Estate Wagons" used  for grouse hunting on Great Britain's country estates, they were called "depot wagons" in the United States.   Used to transport  passengers and luggage at the railway depot, they became "station wagons" when we later went to the train station. 

Early station wagons were custom built vehicles. Ford offered an optional station wagon body on  the Model T frame in 1922, but customers still had to order the body separately. The first ever production station wagon was the Star Station Wagon, built by Durant Motors in 1923. 

Popularity of the these vehicles reigned for several decades until the postwar years saw the demise of structural wood bodies. Too expensive to make and maintain, ash or oak frames were complex, precisely milled shapes that required  furniture grade craftsmanship. The wood had to be varnished every year or two and did not compare with the durability of  increasingly popular steel bodies. 



Wooden panels gave way to laminates used for ornamentation and the  prewar station wagons became embarrassing old wrecks, sold cheap as a utility vehicle to haul surf lumber to the beach. Today, the woody is a classic. You may see one in a garage or protected under a cover. Rolled out for special beach festivals and car shows, the vehicles are collectible and worth much more than they originally sold for. Most have been restored with thousands of dollars poured into them to provide the look and feel of an era when wood provided a statement of wealth and luxury.  Likewise, the accompanying classic surfboard you'll often see displayed with a woody has run a similar course in history. But that's another story.