Thursday Doors: Woodie Doors

Although the calendar tells us that fall began on September 22, here in coastal Southern California many of us feel that our summer has just begun. With the kids back in school, most of the tourists gone home, and the weather still sunny and warm, the locals come out to play.

One of my favorite events that signals this change in seasons is the Wavecrest Woodie Meet, which features the longest running and largest gathering of woodies in the world. Wavecrest is quintessentially Southern Californian with almost 200 woodies of every shape, size, and description on display at a beautiful location overlooking the ocean.

Woodie passenger wagons were produced from the 1910s through the early 1950s. Surfers loved them because they were relatively inexpensive to buy as used vehicles in the 1950s and 1960s. Even better, they could carry a longboard inside or on the roof. Now these beauties – especially when fully restored – are no longer cheap, so any surfboards on top are probably just for show.

As I wandered around the show this weekend, it was difficult to get the Beach Boys’ Surfin’ Safari earworm out of my head, especially the first verse:

Early in the morning we’ll be starting out

Some honeys will be coming along

We’re loading up our woodie

With our boards inside

And heading out singing our song

The woodies were buffed and polished to perfection and their doors beckoned me to get inside, start up the engine, and cruise the coastline with my honey.

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature hosted by Norm Frampton. Visit his blog to see this week’s collection, and maybe to add a few of your own.

Author: Janis @

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

86 thoughts on “Thursday Doors: Woodie Doors”

  1. I showed my car enthusiast husband your photos, “lovely” and “Screwed and Glued” with high maintenance. I certainly wouldn’t mind a drive.
    I certainly love areas when there are fewer tourists especially where we live.

      1. Yes, it is great that vintage car enthusiasts do show them off. We’ve been to a few. I couldn’t see the logic of having a car like that and not show it off.

        1. I know! I can remember the phone numbers of my best pals in grade school… I have no idea what their phone numbers are now (even though they are still friends and I call or text them regularly). Not sure if our brains or the fact that we don’t need to memorize those numbers anymore.

  2. What a fun show! I always love to see these antique car on the road. I had no idea “woodie” in the Beach Boys song referred to a car. Thanks for sharing your photos, Janis!

  3. I know that Song but never knew the woodie line…
    And enjoyed the doors and woodie cars car show – especially liked the steering wheel one –

  4. This is so cool! And hey wood doesn’t rust, right? And now I too will be humming Beach Boys for the rest of the evening…thanks for that 😉

  5. I’m jealous that it feels like summer is just beginning there! Although today (on VI) was relatively warm and sunny for this time of year (16C/61F), there is no denying Fall on the Island. I love the vehicles…and can totally picture you behind the wheel! Wonderful photos!

    1. Although I wish we had more of the traditional fall colors here, that usually also means much colder weather and snow, so I think I’ll stick with our climate. I would love to have one of those cars, but someone else would have to maintain it… and buy the gas.

  6. So cool Janis! I lived in Southern California as a child in the 60’s and remember these cars. I’ve not seen any restored to such perfection!!! I’m going to Coronado in February, so will have to keep an eye out! Tracey

    1. Wow, Tracey… do you think you will have some free time for a meet-up in February? We aren’t too far from Coronado. No worries if not, but I thought I’d put it out there. As far as cars are concerned, you might see more Teslas and Mercedes in Coronado than woodies 🙂

      1. Janis, Ha! I hear you, but my high school buddy is turning 60 and having her celebration there so that is where we are going. I definitely think we should try! We are coming in on Feb 27th and leaving March 2nd. I’ve never done a blog meet up before, so this would be great. What’s the best way to swap contact info?

  7. Having grown up in San Diego and attempted to be part of the beach scene, I didn’t see too many woodies in the 70s, Janis. We saw a few but since we hung out in Mission and Pacific Beaches, we mostly saw cheap cars 🙂 What a fun event to see and love all these pics. And now I have that song in MY head! Yes, summer is still very well intact in California (99 yesterday!), but fall is imminent!

  8. What a wonderful treat your photos were, Janis! The woodies are an iconic symbol of youth for many baby boomers, especially those of you on the west coast, and I loved learning that so many of them have been lovingly (and gorgeously) restored. Wow! If I lived a half dozen states closer, the 2020 Woodie Meet would be on my calendar.

  9. Outstanding! I’ve never heard of that term, but I got it immediately. Those are really cool cars, every one of them. And, yes, the tourists have begun to slow here also (well, having a near-hurricane didn’t hurt). Love the relatively empty beaches. – Marty

  10. What a cool event. You nailed those Woodie doors. I’d like to see that event pair up with a show of refurbished Chris Craft boats…or all classic wooden boats.

  11. What a fun event Janis – I’m surprised they never thought of it here … I’m sure Michigan is the king of all car cruising events due to its moniker of “The Motor City” … we have one cruise that runs right through my area at the end of my street, the last Saturday in June every year and in most venues from May to Labor Day. The granddaddy of them all is the Woodward Dream Cruise and many thousands drive in from other states to drive their classic cars down Woodward Avenue, site of the first named street in the U.S. … these look to be in perfect shape as well.

    1. Woodies cruising down Woodward Ave… sounds perfect! I wonder if woodies would hold up well in the Michigan winters? I imagine they were built there (it was back in the day when most all American cars came out of Detroit) but probably then shipped to warmer climates.

      1. Yes, they probably went right from the factory to those big vehicle haulers or by train and never rolled along the pavement here … the salt on the roads here tears up the lower bodies of the cars (not to mention the potholes and the damage they cause). I can’t say I’ve seen one except in pictures.

  12. Very cool! I love these cars, and always have. I seem to always notice more of them at the beach than other places, and I suppose they pair well with surfboards! Fun post!

  13. I can feel the “good vibrations” in your first photo, Janis. Just the word “woodies” makes me smile. I don’t know why.😊 I can see the care taken in restoring these woodies. I hope you and your honey continue to enjoy Fall! (I just returned from Long Beach camping with my “honey.”)

      1. A mixed bag of weather, Janis. Pouring rain and gorgeous sunshine and sunsets. No major storms. We have been there during storm watching season and exhilarating and interesting, especially when dressed for it. Just got back and I need to sift through all of my photos. You know what that is like, Janis😊Fun and daunting.

  14. Hey Janis! What a fun twist on a “door post!” And I’ve never heard about this event before. It sounds like something Thom and I would enjoy. And we’ve just returned from the beach and our weather here in the desert is awesome right now! Sounds like for both of us our season is just getting started! ~Kathy

  15. What classics, Janis! September and October are my favorite months of the year along the California coast. Looks like you’re enjoying them.

  16. Wow, these are beautiful vehicles, Janis. What a joy for the eyes. I’d never heard of woodies before (unless you blogged about them before, in which case I might have left the same comment back then). Funny how once cheap cars are now so expensive. Loved your spin on the Thursday Doors theme. Enjoy the gorgeous weather in San Diego. We will be missing it soon!

    1. Hi Liesbet! I don’t think I’ve ever written about them before, but I’ve loved these beautiful cars for as long as I can remember. And, yes, we are having lovely weather here right now… a perfect day to cruise the coast in a woodie!

  17. My mom, who still lives in Torrance, CA, where I grew up, has a neighbor who owns a woody. Makes me wonder if he’s ever taken his to this show.

  18. Vancouver Island hosts a number of huge classic car shows, but none that I know of that specifically feature woodies. I used to drive a classic VW bug (1968) but we sold it once we had kids.


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