Mystery Car


New year, new mysteries, it’s just that simple. Last week’s – which also happened to be the last of last year’s – proved not to be, requiring multiple hours to solve rather than the usual nanoseconds. That inscrutably cropped Lamborghini gave most of you vexations, let’s see if today’s first of 2013 Mystery Cars gives you wood.

Lumber used to be a ubiquitous automotive building material in the early days, as cars did start out as mere mechanizations of the existing horse-drawn carriage. Today it’s typically confined to tidbits embellishing the interiors of luxury cars, and the occasional Morgan’s body underpinnings. There was a time however, when cars transitioned from wood as a structural element to that of aesthetic adornment, and those that carried significant amounts of termite food on their outsides were known colloquially as woodies.

Today’s Mystery Car is thus dressed, and hence part of your work is already complete. To finish the job, you of course just need to fully name the make, model, year-range and likely engine under its mysterious hood. Wood it be that simple.

Image: [©2013 Robert Emslie, ALl Rights Reserved]

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33 responses to “Mystery Car”

  1. Scandinavian Flick Avatar
    Scandinavian Flick

    I now have "Mini Woodie" in my work computer's search history.
    Thank you for that.

  2. joshuman Avatar

    1898 Tatra? No, I guess not. has a woodshed load of woodies. Some Rolls and Bentley editions come close but don't match.
    <img src=""&gt;

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      I think I saw that in an episode of Green Acres, flashing back to WWII, when Oliver met Lisa.

  3. dukeisduke Avatar

    Looking at the hardware, I'm wondering if this a car, or a four-wheeled refrigerator.

  4. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    Looks like ash.

    1. SSurfer321 Avatar

      Please leaf your puns out of this thread

      1. Target29 Avatar

        We just want to get to the root of the problem, we don't want to be barkng up the wrong tree.

        1. danleym Avatar

          Wood you guys please stop? I can't focus on solving the mystery with these other threads branching out and cluttering up the place.

          1. fodder650 Avatar

            Man you guys are all a bunch of saps constantly using these bad puns. Cut it out with these lumbering word plays please.

          2. OA5599 Avatar

            Why? Bad puns are very poplar here. Some of us are pining for new ones, since it isn't enough to rest on our laurels.

          3. fodder650 Avatar

            I'm logging everything posted here. I don't mean to be sappy about all this actually. I like it when we branch off to do new things. Honestly I love the puns that get created here, sincerely hoping they stick around.

          4. Target29 Avatar

            The puns actually help me twig my memory or remind me of a car that I have been pining for.

          5. needthatcar Avatar

            I'm stumped.

          6. danleym Avatar

            I feel like I've been running rings around the internet trying to find the answer, but I must be going against the grain because I haven't gotten anywhere.

      2. Van_Sarockin Avatar

        I've heard quite enough from these little splinter elements.

        1. Vavon Avatar

          I'm sorry, but this is not oak-ay, you were the one who opened Pandora's trunk!

  5. Target29 Avatar

    Hispano Suiza is all I could come up with if the car is indeed RHD.
    <img src="; width="600">

    1. scroggzilla Avatar

      Is it me, or does that look like a latch mechanism for suicide doors?

    2. sporty88au Avatar

      Can't be one like this one, the upper hinges are too low on the doors.

  6. OA5599 Avatar

    The vent visor things over the windows seem too modern for something built during the woodie era. The windows they are over likely both retract, even though only one of those two is likely a door.
    The hardware at the top looks like a hinge–either the rear door is suicide or there is a limo-type body extension and the rear door is on the left side of the picture. The positioning of the hinge makes the first scenario more likely.
    The picture has probably been flipped. A RHD car wouldn't have the shifter on the left side of the column.
    Googling pictures of Woodies brought this up:
    <img src=""&gt;

    1. danleym Avatar

      Yep, it looks like an early limo or some sort- the front window we're seeing has to actually be the middle window, and we're not seeing any of the front door.

      1. dukeisduke Avatar

        Or some kind of ambulance.

    2. sporty88au Avatar

      Those visors were a pretty common option in the late 40's and early 50's (I don't think they were used earlier but I could be wrong), when most US manufacturers were making the transition from wood-bodied to steel-bodied wagons. This may also explain the appearance of wind-down windows, since a lot of the woodies in this period had a steel inner structure in the sides with the wood screwed onto it. The problem with this is that most US manufacturers were using conventional doors on their wagons by then.
      Also, a factory RHD car with a column shift will normally have the shifter on the left of the column, at least those that I have driven (Ford XA Falcon, Chrysler AP5 and VC Valiants, various Holdens) have all been this way – so we can't assume that the image has been flipped, although it is still possible.
      I've been trying to identify it based on the steering wheel and the shape of the dashboard (the T shape made by the steering wheel spokes, the shape and position of the radio controls, and the change in curvature over the instruments look to be the best clues to work with. Other than that, I've got nothing.

  7. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    <img src="; width="600">
    Go figure, it's the first hit for R8 wood.

  8. Alff Avatar

    Heavy hinge suggests that the driver's "door" is fixed and only the rear opens, but I can't find a woody cab or limo. The "T" shaped steering wheel is indicative of a Sunbeam, if this image is not flipped L:R. The metal trim around the wood panels screams limited production.
    I haven't a clue.

  9. Mr. Roadrage Avatar
    Mr. Roadrage

    It's an SAlfa Romeo 1900

  10. Mr. Roadrage Avatar
    Mr. Roadrage

    Sorry, make that an Alfa Romeo 1900 from 1952.

  11. sporty88au Avatar

    1952 Lancia Aurelia B53 Giardinetta, body by Carrozzeria Viotti of Turin, engine 2-litre Lancia V6.
    <img src="; width="600">

    1. Robert Emslie Avatar
      Robert Emslie

      Well done! That was a tough one.

    2. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
      mr. mzs zsm msz esq

      YES! Whoohoo! Thanks!

    3. Rover1 Avatar

      Well done!