Wavecrest 2017 – Major Wood in Encinitas
Wavecrest 2017 turned out to be another great weekend of wood in Encinitas!It’s the largest gathering of wooden cars you will ever see and has stoked the fires of Woodie enthusiasts for nearly 40 years.
The annual meet is held right where you’d want to hold a woodie gathering: at the beach in Southern California. Wavecrest celebrated its 38th anniversary recently with a four-day-long party organized by the San Diego Woodies in Encinitas, California—a city that not only opens its arms every year, but the event is even sponsored by the Downtown Encinitas Merchants Association. Referred to as “The largest gathering of vintage wood-bodied vehicles in the world,” Wavecrest starts with Rods & Woodies Nite in downtown Encinitas—a two-hour twilight cruise on city streets with woodies and the local hot rod crowd all enjoying their rides while live music provides the soundtrack.
The next evening the Wavecrest 2017 Party is held in the pool and cabana area of the host hotel and is a mixer for all the attendees. But the big day, of course, is Saturday, and it starts just after sunrise as nearly 300 woodies cruise to Moonlight Beach which features a parking area overlooking the Pacific Ocean. While nearby surfers enjoy sets of waves, the long procession of woodies file into the event site.
And though most folks think of ’20s to ’50s-era Fords when anyone says “woodie,” there were actually 33 different makes (including Rolls Royce) and nine different coachbuilders who used wood as a major component in their vehicle’s construction. Wavecrest 2017 had a good representation from those other companies. Buick, Dodge, Chevrolet, Plymouth, Mercury, Chrysler, and even a contingent of the British Morris Minor mini cars also showed up for the weekend. And woodies not only came in just family wagon configurations but as work vehicles, too, so large F-series truck chassis woodies were there as well as some of the specialty manufacturers such as Marmon-Harrington. The event is kept “vendor light” (just sponsor’s booths) and on-site entertainment came in the form of traditional Hawaiian music performed with a group of hula dancers.
After the car show, everyone drives back to the host hotel for a buffet dinner and a raffle/auction that features high-end woodie-related swag. Folks who stick around until Sunday morning can participate in a 30-mile cruise with 80 or so woodies down historic Pacific Coast Highway to the city of Oceanside and back, with a photo-op on the beach below the Oceanside Pier.
Though the 18-chapter National Woodie Club has been around for more than four decades (founded in 1974 by Will O’Neil), the group recently held its first-ever Nationals in historic Ford Town, with tours of the Henry Ford Museum and the River Rouge factory. It may just gather enough steam in coming years to rival the Encinitas event but until then, Wavecrest is king.
If you happen to own a surfboard and need to stick a woodie under it, or just have a-hankerin’ to own one of these rolling bits of forest, then the National Woodie Club should be your next stop.