Frame Off Restored Fleetmaster Woodie 216 I6 3 Speed
- 216 cubic inch Stovebolt Six which features a date-correct casting number and a model-correct build stamp
- Era-correct 3-speed manual transmission
- 10 bolt rear end
- 16 inch painted steel wheels that are detailed with silver pin stripes and correct Chevrolet center caps
- Correct Live Oak Green exterior paint
- Correct Ash and Mahogany wood panels
- Correct tan imitation leather interior
- 1948 was last year for wood-bodied Chevrolets
- This wagon is one of roughly 10,000 produced
In 1948 a top-of-the-line Chevrolet station wagon was considered a symbol of success and prosperity. But thanks to a hefty $2,000 price tag, these cool and extremely useful cargo haulers were a rare sight even in their heyday. That low build rate, and the fact that Mother Nature is not a kind spirit, means most surviving Woodies spent time in a field losing their original parts almost as fast as they lost their integrity. But every once in a while we run across a restoration that's so complete and so well done it's almost hard to believe! This fully-detailed, investment grade Fleetmaster wraps correct Live Oak Green paint and correct Ash and Mahogany trim around a numbers correct drivetrain and a correctly restored tan interior. If you're in the market for a one-of-a-kind, paint shop fresh classic that'll simply blow people away, take a look at this world class Chevy!
Since only 10,000 of these coveted 1948 Chevrolet Fleetmaster wagons made their way off GM's assembly line, they've always been rare and highly desirable cars. And not surprisingly their tweaked sheetmetal and refined wood paneling, which dates all the way back to Chevy's popular 1942 pre-war series, catapulted them into iconic status LONG before the classic car boom even began. The frame-off restoration of this authentic Fleetmaster Woodie was completed in July of this year by well-known car buff Grant Miller and, judging by the quality of its presentation, is a combination of years of skilled bodywork and first-rate carpentry. The expert builders began by fitting the car with correct Ash frames and correct Mahogany panels that, given the nature of 40s manufacturing techniques, likely suit the vintage body much better than its originals. Once that gorgeous woodwork was cut, nailed and varnished, the car's streamlined sheetmetal was covered in a correct and appropriately named coat of GM code 370 Live Oak Green and sealed in a thick clearcoat shell. Today, not even a full month out of its complete nut and bolt tear down, this classic wagon is a high gloss piece of Americana which displays top notch build quality from its traditional chrome hood ornament all the way to its finger-jointed tailgate.
By the late 40s, sales of Chevrolet's Woodie were barely breaking five digits annually, so the brand decided the 1948 Fleetmaster would be its last 100% wood-bodied offering. Sadly, their decision signaled the end of an era in car design; and today, this wagon's angled and gridded body seems almost from a different dimension. At the front of the car, a domed and stretched hood hangs a chrome Chevrolet crest between a swept hood ornament and a prominently pointed grille. At the base of that grille, clear parking lights illuminate a traditional curved bumper which bends beneath optional chrome wings; and at the sides of that grille, bright halogen headlights ride inside body-matched trim rings which perfectly complement a body-matched hood divider. At the top of the car, a new Live Oak Green leatherette top caps like-new glass which aligns sliding side windows behind a divided windshield. At the edges of that windshield, pristine stainless trim adds both form and function; and at the base of that windshield bright stainless arms twist razor thin wiper blades around stylish stainless posts. At the sides of the car, hand-fitted Mahogany hangs correct chrome door handles and ornate lock cylinder covers over traditional, radiused fenders. At bottom of those fenders, dent-free rocker trim affords the profile a detailed and finished look; and at the top of those fenders, black inlayed “Fleetmaster” emblems balance a simple chrome fuel cap. At the back of the car, a tall wooden tailgate props a completely detailed, full-size spare tire next to a small, painted tail light. Above that tail light, a small wooden lift gate provides easy access to a small amount of cargo space; and at the bottom of that tail light, strategic chrome bumpers shield the corners of the cab's exposed wood structure.
Carefully lift this Fleetmaster's long, heavy hood and you'll find a 216 cubic inch Stovebolt Six that's branded with both a date-correct 3835253 casting number and a date-correct build stamp which translates to the 29,435th (29435) 1948 (F) passenger car (A) engine produced at GM's Flint, Michigan (A) manufacturing facility. At the top of that glossy gray mill, a rebuilt Rochester single throat downdraft carburetor bridges the gap between a vintage AC oil bath air cleaner, a traditional fuel bowl and new stainless fuel lines. At the base of that carburetor, a gloss gray intake manifold bolts between a traditional stamped steel valve cover and a fully restored exhaust manifold. And opposite those manifolds, a new coil jolts a tagged Delco-Remy points distributor and a fresh set of correct black plug wires. At the front of the engine, a correct radiator circulates water past a correct fan through reproduction hoses and old school screw clamps. On the left side of the engine, a freshly rebuilt Delco-Remy generator keeps the charge strong and the fires lit. And on the right side of the engine, a reproduction Delco yellow cap battery sits inside a cool Chevrolet casing. Nicely detailed, the sturdy engine looks great inside its huge big engine bay, which was originally designed to make service easy. And the car's soft satin black fenders and a body-matched firewall are equally impressive, displacing the typical high-gloss pigment that's so often found under the hoods of over-restored show queens.
Armed with the knowledge that Woodies require a lot of special structural support for their organic bodies, the restorers of this classic Chevy started with a solid, original frame and built in a ton of rugged drivability. Behind the date-correct motor you'll find an era-correct 3-speed manual transmission that's been fully rebuilt to provide effortless cruising and good fuel economy. That transmission feeds power to a restored 10 bolt rear end that's packed full of boulevard friendly gears. That fresh drivetrain rides on a correctly rebuilt double A-arm front and rear leaf suspension which makes great use of manual drum brakes. Go juice flows between a new stainless fuel tank and the aforementioned Rochester carburetor via a network of fresh stainless fuel lines; and spent gases slide through new aluminized pipe which utilizes a factory replacement muffler to turn the big engine's roar into a silent, stealthy whisper. Aesthetically, the bottom of this pristine wagon is ready for a lift or a full set of mirrors, with primer red floors and satin black chassis components that are dotted by new stainless brake lines and fresh stainless hardware. And one of the coolest elements of the running gear is a set of traditional body-matched wheels which spin new 6.00-16 BF Goodrich Silvertown white walls around hand-painted pin stripes and intricately detailed center caps.
Just because this eight passenger wagon was designed for utility doesn't mean its correct GM code 149 tan interior isn't handsome. While the days of work horses being outfitted as lavishly as luxury cars were still several decades away, Chevrolet certainly knew that style mattered; and this Woodie's clean cockpit is simple and charming. All three of the firm imitation leather seats are in excellent shape, and when combined with the new rubber floor mat and wood rear cargo deck, contrast nicely against the car's Mahogany door panels and glossy metal dash. Speaking of the dash, this wagon's interface is a combination of killer paint, bright silver trim and classy chrome accents which hangs rebuilt gauges and an authentic seven-day winder clock above a correct Chevrolet radio and matching accessory knobs. The aforementioned door panels are simple mahogany pieces which anchor small padded armrests and new chrome handles inside of bright Ash frames. Overhead, a fully restored wood and vinyl roof is every bit as stylish as it is functional. In front of the driver a brown steering column spins a wide diameter steering wheel, which is complete with a correct horn ring and an ornate Chevy crest, around a color-keyed shifter and a vintage foot starter. Behind the passengers, a small but useful cargo area provides enough room for a few fishing poles or a bag of beach accessories. And overall this wagon's interior is top notch, with everything from its Chevrolet sill plates to its stainless tailgate chains fully-sorted and ready to go.
If you're looking for a unique classic that mixes a high dollar, professional restoration with unmatched style and world class exclusivity, this investment grade Woodie deserves your full attention. Its exceptionally well-done, completely road ready and looks spectacular from every angle. I can't think of anything more unique, and chances are you're not going to find anything cooler for the money.
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What Customers Are Saying
After hearing good things about the people at RK Motors, I contacted them regarding consignment of my street rod. I found Tony Klein to be a pleasure to work with. He was very professional and forthcoming in our communications. He evaluated my vehicle and made suggestions of enhancements which would help ensure the desired result would be achieved in the marketing of the vehicle. We agreed on an acceptable sale price. Following the completion of the recommended items, I brought the vehicle to RK for consignment. After a thorough inspection and correction of some minor issues at what I considered a fair price, the vehicle was offered for sale. It sold quickly with me receiving the agreed value. I would have to repeat the recommendation that I received. RK Motors does what they say they will do, and obtains for the seller a fair and agreed value. What more could you ask for?Doug C.