1947 Mercury Woody – Our Wood Pile
The 1947 Mercury Woody was the top of the line wagon in the auto manufacturer’s stable at the time. With a price tag of roughly two grand, they were the ticket for beach-going large families. With three rows of bench seating, slatted wooden roof liners and a healthy dose of maple on the outside, they were more than eye-pleasing. We’re not sure if they came from Mercury with whitewalls but crisp WSW tires make these wood wagons pop! Especially like this one coated in black.
This car was at least ten years in the making. Owners Richard and Rita Skillman of San Jose started on it more than a decade ago. About halfway through the restoration, the project was stalled. The Skillman’s then called on the Bay Area’s premier early Ford shop, Roy Brizio Street Rods, to finish it right. The Skillman’s were introduced to Roy via Jim Vickery – Brizio’s longtime employee and Santa Cruz Woodies club member.
Upon delivery to Roy’s place, the only thing there was the chassis, the cowl and a few pieces of wood. Not ideal! After some clean up and inventory, it was shipped to Southern California to Chris Messano Woodworks for the full treatment.
The black steelies, Coker wide whites and the stock hubcaps are spot on as is the stance courtesy of a Fatman Mustang II front clip.
The final product is not only stunning, it’s as if the vehicle was teleported from the dealership showroom some 71 years ago. Edsel Ford would most certainly give it his stamp of approval. The Skillman’s deserve all the credit in the world for their perseverance and their ability to add small touches of hot rod flair to the wagon.
The only thing left is a cruise to the world-famous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk for the annual Woodies on the Wharf in June where it will surely contend for Best in Show.
About our photo shoot.
Brizio Street Rods’ Dave Cattalini was good enough to let me hop into the Skillman’s masterpiece and drive over to Oyster Point Marina in South San Francisco where we shot the car near the Harbormaster’s office. It was a gorgeous and serene morning with gulls chirping (not pooping thankfully) high above. While we were shooting, Cattalini’s old friend and Marina resident Jim stopped by with his Jack Russell Terrier “Boatie.” Let me just say this – Boatie was the cutest, smartest and best-trained doggie I have ever met. Since he was raised on Jim’s live-aboard ship, the name just made sense.
Thanks go out to Harbormaster Jim Merlo for letting us have the run of the place!