Photo of a woman and her 1948 Pontiac Streamliner woody wagon at Hardy Ridge, WA. in October 1949 via The Smithsonian Archives.
There are few more nostalgic symbols of Americana and adventure than the iconic woody wagon. From Ford to Pontiac to Chrysler to Oldsmobile to Mercury to Buick, it seems like every American carmaker was doing it. But when considering the timeline of the woody wagon, 1949 is the pivotal year for most automakers. '49 typically marks the last year that wood was used as a structural part of the car design; automakers in the 1950s and beyond instead opted for wood as a solely a cosmetic element, which then eventually led to vinyl ash framing or "wallpaper woodys". Cars are still manufactured with exterior wood design elements here and there (the Ford Flex aftermarket wood kit comes to mind), but I think the last great iteration of a wood paneled car was The Jeep Grand Wagoneer, which rolled out of Chrysler's Toledo, Ohio assembly plant for the last time on June 21, 1991. Cosmetic vinyl or not, that beast is a beauty.
Photo via Grand Wagoneer.
P.S. Maybe the second-to-last greatest wood-paneled car.