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A Trip Down Memory Lane: The Buick Woody

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Woody 1

Newport has been in the grips of a stifling heat and humidity spell so credit this funny story to possible sunstroke…it’s so out of character for me…but I marshaled forward assuming that this short post would surely be welcome during these dog days of August.

Driving home the other evening, I just by chance I ended up behind a handsome 1953 Woody station wagon. I became more and more smitten as I followed it down Bellevue…and made the quick decision to keep following it right past my own house!

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Then I realized that they were going to the newportFILM showing at Rosecliff (next door to us) and the parking lot was full. Aha — I hatched a plan. As they turned into a side street (and tried to park next to a fire hydrant) I pulled up alongside them and coyly offered to the three — “you can park at my house if I can take a picture of your car.” Short of getting the car’s autograph, I photographed her from every angle and enjoyed my trip down memory lane, having always been a fan of Woodys.

But this one really tops them all, looking elegant with its sleek super Buick V-8 lines…less like a station wagon and more like an elongated sedan; love the “portholes” on the front left side.

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Woody 4

Don’t we wish that our current dashboards were as simple as this? I could actually operate that radio. The interior seats are half red leather and half channeled white leather.

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And the real wood seems to have been applied to every appropriate nook and cranny.

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The car has been in Bill Doyle’s family since he was in is early twenties. Detroit stopped making Woodys in 1953. What really inspired me is that it has not been over-restored; no high gloss factory paint job. It looks like the well-loved and well kept car that it is…and driven daily.

Woody 8

The guys? Well, they graciously pulled out their vintage martini shaker and glasses–perfect period-pairing–to help me with my documentation!

Woody 9

As a sports marketing group, all three had just returned from Rio, so we had lots to chat about. Of course there was a coincidence, as there always is…their offices in town are in an old fire house that a Los Angeles schoolmate and her husband had renovated (and sold to them) twenty-five years ago.

And then they were off to Rosecliff for the movie.

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Bettie Bearden Pardee

About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

6 thoughts on “A Trip Down Memory Lane: The Buick Woody

  1. We seem to be members of the same fan club! As the last born of seven children, I had the pleasure of always riding in the far back fold-up seats of the family wooden wagon with my twin sister Kathryn. These cars are truly a gracious nod to the combination of machine and natural wood. A delight to read this post!

  2. OH I loved this as ROSECLIFF was the first Home I toured last week.I remember looking into your yard from the second floor!Little did I know it was YOUR HOME!I had a WONDERFUL trip to NEWPORT and finished YOUR books before arriving there!Per Penelope’s suggestion I took one on the PLANE!I dined at a couple of the restaurants YOU suggested and overall had a MARVELOUS stay!The BEST was walking into DESIGN NEWPORT on Bellevue and being recognized from MY BLOG!Seems STELLA reads ME!!We both were SO excited about it that I invited her to dinner and NEVER got THAT beach walk DONE!So, the GOOD news is I MUST RETURN!
    The CAR is FABULOUS…………and I agree with YOU;I could work the RADIO!

  3. It looks right at home at your place, Betty. I think they need to leave it there as window dressing, don’t you? 😉 I always said that if I won the lottery I would buy a woody.

  4. Brings back a memory I had not thought of for a while. My Dad had a Chrysler wooden side car. It was really snappy looking, I recall!

  5. Kudos, Bettie for tracking down the owners! What a great story…wish my father had chosen THIS instead of the 1953 Buick sedan he bought in 1953! Xx

  6. What a delight to see this blog and how rare to see a “Woody” these days….and how clever of you, Bettie, to seize the day …such fun serendipity.


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