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Surfing classic auctioned in Melbourne


A unique 1946 Plymouth Woody wagon, once owned by Sydney surfing identity Dick Ash and driven by famous surfers Midget Farrelly, Nat Young and Bob McTavish, was auctioned by Shannons at its Spring Auction in Melbourne on Monday.

Originally bought by wealthy American families, the post-war Plymouth Special DeLuxe station wagons with their distinctive white ash framing and dark maple exterior wood paneling, became cult objects in the late 1950s and 1960s as a new generation of young surfers began using them as transport to the beach.

With innumerable references in popular culture of the day, the Woody was immortalised by the likes of the Beach Boys in their song “Lets Go Surfing”.
They have now become sought-after collectors’ items around the world.
The Woody, auctioned by Shannons and sold for $AU50,000, is thought to have been a consular vehicle in Indonesia before arriving in Australia, where it was extensively customised in Melbourne in the 1970s to create a unique
surfing wagon.

As well as restoring its trademark woodwork, the cusotmisers made several mechanical modifications to ensure that the vehicle could be enjoyed daily and
in heavy traffic.

The Plymouth’s original L-head 218 cubic inch inline six-cylinder engine and manual gearbox were replaced by a much punchier Chevrolet 327 V8 and Turbo 400 automatic transmission.

At the same time, a Jaguar front and rear suspension, brakes and differential, were slotted in ton replace the original components.
In Dick Ash’s hands in the 1980s, the Woody was used as a promotional vehicle for his Okanui brand.

In the 1990s, it was used as a promotional vehicle for the Peninsula Surf Centre of Mornington. The car was extensively refurbished around 2000.

Included in the sale were roof racks, a copy of the original Plymouth advertising material and Woody literature, along with a prized original 1960s Makaha Malibu-style surfboard (numbered 3706) with a timber lay-up fin to match the vehicle. 

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