Vehicle
1948 Chevrolet Fleetmaster Station Wagon
350 cid, V-8, 325 bhp

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The 1948 Fleetmaster Station Wagon was the last true “woody” (structural wood) from Chevrolet and the only 1948 model Chevrolet that had a list price over $2,000.00 (base list price $2.103.00).  Approximately 10,171 were built between February 1948 and January 1949. Ash provided the structural base, while mahogany was used for the panels.  Leatherette was stretched over a wood frame to provide the roof.  In 1949, Chevrolet made about 3000 station wagons with some wood on the exterior, followed quickly with an all steel exterior model – also in 1949.  “Why wood?” Answer: Post war economy.  Shortages of materials caused problems as Detroit resumed production of vehicles, but wood was not in short supply.  By the end of 1946, wood-bodied stations wagons, sedans, and convertibles were being offered in great numbers.  In 1945, many late pre-war cars, light trucks and taxicabs were stripped for conversion to “woodies.” These re-bodied vehicles were considered new and could be sold for the market price. “What led to the downfall of the “woody”?” Answer: While post war steel shortage provided wooden vehicles with room in the market, that shortage was also its downfall.  Most experts blame the required frequent maintenance needed, but often neglected.  Manufacturers responded by using less wood and more steel. Highlights:
  • 350 TPI, 4-Speed automatic transmission
  • Mustang II front end
  • 75 Cadillac front seats
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