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Woodies at the Beach Revs Up Vintage Car Crowd and Fans of Panel Discussion

SBCC hosts scores of classic station wagons as 14th annual show raises money for local charities

The Santa Barbara Woodie Club celebrated “woodies,” retro cars with partially wooden bodies, at its 14th Annual Woodies at the Beach car show Saturday at Santa Barbara City College. The event drew scores of local enthusiasts who brought cars dating back as far as the 1920s.

The Santa Barbara Woodie Club celebrated “woodies,” retro cars with partially wooden bodies, at its 14th Annual Woodies at the Beach car show Saturday at Santa Barbara City College. The event drew scores of local enthusiasts who brought cars dating back as far as the 1920s.  (Shaun Kahmann / Noozhawk photo)

By Shaun Kahmann, Noozhawk Intern | @NoozhawkNews |

The Santa Barbara Woodie Club pulled into the west campus of Santa Barbara City College on Saturday to show off retro wood-panel station wagons while raffling off prizes to raise money for charity.

The 14th annual Woodies at the Beach event gathered local vintage car enthusiasts from around Santa Barbara to celebrate the fearsome, partially woodworked sports cars of the past. West campus was lined with roughly 90 vintage station wagons with club members and visitors pooling around car owners for model information.

“Woodies” are cars with real bodywork made from wood, usually with visible wooden exteriors or paneling.

Santa Barbara chapter president Bill Sampson said he got into woodies when he and his wife bought a 1948 Mercury in 2002. Sampson has since developed a love for the cars and has served as president three times since 2009.

“Fun,” he told Noozhawk. “That’s all you need to know about woodies.”

“The members of this community become like family to you. Ultimately, if we do make money, we donate all of it to local charities.”

Saturday’s event benefited several local nonprofit organizations, including Unity Shoppe, which supports at-risk families with the help of 300 county affiliates. Tom Reed, executive director of Unity Shoppe, praised the Woodie Club as one of its most gracious donors.

“The people of the Woodie Club have great hearts,” he said. “Not only do they put on wonderful shows, but they contribute to the great effort of helping the community.”

Among the cars on display was a 1950 Mercury Woody outfitted as a police squad car and a 1924 Dodge Brothers C-Cab.

One car in particular, a 1948 Ford Woody, belonged to Michael Gabriel and his wife, Chris. With a stock V8 engine and six-volt system, it was one of the few unrestored vehicles at the show.

“We drive ours around, so it’s a bit more ratty than the other cars,” Gabriel said with a laugh. “Some of these other cars have all new parts, but this one is totally original — as it was when it rolled off the assembly line.”

The public also participated in silent raffles for prizes that included a surfboard, artwork, jewelry and automotive apparel. In addition to Unity Shoppe, proceeds benefited World Dance for Humanity, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, and a $1,000 automotive technology scholarship for SBCC.

The National Woodie Club has 18 affiliates nationwide, including Santa Barbara. Click here for more information.

Noozhawk intern Shaun Kahmann can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.




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