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Mike & Beth Cavallaro's 1937 Ford Woody Wagon
(from Volume 15, Issue 169)

Some cars just seem to have a certain attitude, and you can’t help but feel a definite vibe when looking them over. For classic Woody Wagons, I guess what most people would imagine is a carefree lifestyle - which of course has been entrenched in American history over the years due to the fact that they were the vehicle of choice for surfers since the sport became popular in the United States. Functional yet stylish, with lots of character, while working with what nature has to offer, Woody Wagons compliment the fluid motions and mentality surfers try to achieve while becoming one with the wave.

Mike and Beth Cavallaro started restoring Corvettes in the 80’s, but being a surfer, Mike has always been in love with Woody Wagons. Between Mike and Beth they have owned many classic cars and trucks, but by the age of 50, Mike realized he had to start looking for a Woody. Several years later the couple took a drive up to Cocoa Beach, and met Erik Johnson, the owner of Treehouse Woods. They commissioned him to build this 1937 Ford Woody Wagon, which was completed two days before Mike’s 60th birthday. What a birthday present! Having looked forward to one day owning a Woody, it took a few years before it finally set in that the dream had indeed become a reality.

Of course the most prominent exterior feature is the hard maple woodwork that Erik Johnson expertly crafted, which combines nicely with the blue paint of the steel front end and fenders. Surf decals adorn the rear windows, and look right at ease while completing the classic surfer look. The car utilizes the original suspension in the front and back, with a 4-inch dropped I-Beam giving the car the appropriate stance and rake. Wanting to evoke a retro feel, the wheels are tan painted steelies with dog dish hub caps, beauty rings, and Coker wide whitewall radial tires.

Inside you can see more great woodwork, including the maple slat roof, plus a custom banjo-style steering wheel made out of birds eye maple by Erik, resting atop a tilt steering column. Going with the theme, the rest of the interior was kept simple, with vinyl bench seats that have swing down center arm rests, and woven floor mats evoking a tiki vibe. What look like window cranks actually control the power windows, while air conditioning and heat, power steering and disc brakes make things more comfortable. Cruising power is supplied by a 350 cubic inch small block Chevy with 300 horsepower, mated to a Turbo 350 automatic and finally an 8-inch Ford rear end.

Of all the cars they have owned, Mike and Beth told us this is the most unique and collectible they’ve had the pleasure to park in their garage. It draws a crowd everywhere they go, and most of the younger onlookers can not believe it is actually made out of wood. They tell us common questions include, “What was Henry Ford thinking?”. Whatever it was, few would not agree the world is a better place with cool Woody Wagons in it, and the Cavallaro’s 1937 Ford termite tempter is among the tops. CN