Prepare to step back in time and witness the grandeur of a bygone era with the mesmerizing 1950 Dodge B-108 Woodie by Cantrell. In an age where wood-bodied station wagons reigned supreme, J.T. Cantrell & Co. emerged as one of the leading builders, crafting elegant carriages for over half a century. This exceptional vintage beauty, based on a B-108 truck platform, can be found in Long Island, New York, patiently waiting for its revival. Currently listed on eBay for $13,900 (offers accepted), it offers a unique opportunity to own a piece of automotive history.
The roots of Cantrell’s craftsmanship can be traced back to 1905 when Joseph Cantrell established his carriage-building business in Long Island. As the demand for wood-bodied wagons surged in the 1930s and 1940s, Cantrell’s expertise flourished, earning the reputation of a premier builder. Notably, Cantrell preferred the term “Suburbans” over the conventional station or depot wagons. Throughout its operation, Cantrell collaborated with various automobile manufacturers, including Dodge, who provided chassis for Cantrell to transform into stunning wooden masterpieces.
At Cantrell’s shop, the process of creating these unique Woodies involved carefully removing the factory body aft of the front door posts while salvaging as much of the original bodywork as possible, such as the cowl, windshield, and sun visor area. A meticulously crafted mahogany structure was then applied to the roof, side panels, doors, and tailgate, showcasing Cantrell’s exceptional attention to detail. However, as the market shifted towards steel-bodied wagons, Cantrell faced challenges, eventually leading to the company’s closure in 1958.
The featured 1950 Dodge B-108 Woodie by Cantrell stands as a testament to the builder’s artistry, offering a spacious 4-seat interior reminiscent of a luxurious land yacht capable of accommodating up to 12 passengers. Although time has taken its toll on the exterior woodwork, the wood lining inside, including the roof, showcases remarkable preservation. While the odometer reads 51,000 miles, the wagon requires a comprehensive restoration to regain its former glory. The seller believes that with some work on the fuel delivery system and brakes, the unfrozen flathead-6 engine could be revived, making this vintage gem roadworthy once again. Notably, the wagon still retains its rear heater, a charming feature that promises cozy winter journeys. Embarking on the restoration journey may require considerable investment, particularly for the intricate woodwork, but the resulting transformation will undoubtedly be awe-inspiring.