First Car and Custom Job
Woody's first car was a mildly customized 1941 Chevrolet Coupe with a partial dechroming, fender skirts, a two-tone black and red paint job, and a modified 6-cylinder engine1. He then owned a 1950 Chevrolet Convertible that was essentially stock.
Friendship with Ken Bausert
Ken Bausert, a neighbor of Woody's girlfriend, Carol, developed a strong interest in custom cars and hot rods around 1958. The same year he purchased his first Custom Cars Magazine, and he began noticing a distinctive '49 Mercury Coupe in his Richmond Hill neighborhood, which captivated him due to its evolving modifications. Bausert eventually met Paul, who worked on the vehicle during his leave from the Navy. The two became friends, and Woody assisted Bausert with his own projects after leaving the Navy and settling in the area with his wife, Carol.
The '49 Mercury that first intrigued Bausert underwent extensive modifications. The headlights were tunneled, the hood and deck were shaved, and the outside door handles were replaced with electric solenoids. Cruiser skirts were added, and the car was lowered. The coupe was transformed into a hardtop by removing the vertical posts on the doors and front of the rear side windows, with new glass cut to fit. Under the hood, the original flathead Mercury engine was replaced with a 1951 Cadillac engine and 4-speed automatic transmission.
Wood's subsequent project was a '53 Ford Convertible that featured tunneled headlights, moulded scoops in the rear quarter panels, added skirts, and a dechromed body. The rear fenders were extended to flank a Continental Kit in the back, a Carson-type padded top was installed, and louvers were punched into the hood. Notably, all these modifications were done in the street, as Woody didn't have a garage at that time. The hood was pancaked, and the front end was revamped with canted quad headlights flowing into a new grille cavity over a rolled front splash pan. A 1955 Buick engine was installed under the louvered hood.
After a period of lost contact, Bausert reconnected with Wood, who was still building cars in his shop in Farmingville, Long Island. One of his projects during this period was a 1965 Chevy G10 Van, into which he installed a late-model Chevy 350/350 engine and transmission. He made significant structural modifications to the van, including rolling front and rear pans, eliminating the rear doors, installing custom glass, reworking tail lights, and fabricating an L-shaped seating arrangement for the rear compartment. The body was also shortened by ten inches, and the front doors were reworked to fit. This vehicle served as Wood's daily commute from Farmingville to Jamaica, Queens.
Woody's collection of vehicles evolved over time, and a 1933 Ford Pick Up served as his daily driver for several years. In the late 1990s, Woody retired to Florida. Before he moved, he sold the truck and a 1932 Ford 3-Window Coupe that he had built. He brought a 1939 Ford custom along that he kept for a while before replacing it with a customized golf cart. Bausert, who back in the day created a photo album featuring pictures of his friends' cars from the 1950s, received several old photos from Wood to add to his collection. These images can now be found on Bausert's blog and on Kustomrama.
Paul Wood's Cars
Cars Restyled by Paul Wood
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