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'50 FORD WOODIE
1950 Woodie Surf’s Up Shoebox Ford - Rejuvenated by JBA Performance
By: D. Brian Smith
Photography: JBA Performance
Most woodie lovers have been to or at least heard of a woodie only event, held in Encinitas, California called Wavecrest. Appropriately, Encinitas is a quiet beach community just south of Carlsbad in Southern California. For goofy footed shortboarders or those masters of the longboards and hanging ten off the nose, Encinitas offers some most excellent surf year-round. Every third Saturday in September, there’s a magnificent collection of GM, Ford, Packard, etc. woodie wagons, Ford Sportsman convertibles and Chrysler Town and Country ragtops that all vie for the best spot in two big parking lots overlooking those gnarly dudes and dudettes catching the tastiest waves.
Given JBA Performance’s great reputation for customizing and restoring almost any kind of vehicle and the company’s close proximity to Encinitas, it’s not surprising how many woodies JBA Performance has renovated over the years. John Casey is one such happy customer. He currently owns a couple wood wagons as of this writing.
There must have been no surf on the morning that John drove his 1950 Ford woodie into JBA Performance’s speed shop and customization facility. He wanted JBA’s crew to remove the sweet old original Ford flathead V-8 mill and three-speed manual trans and swap in a ’90 Ford Mustang 5.0L EFI engine and Ford AOD trans from a donor car that John had recently acquired for the woodie’s rejuvenation.
When JBA Performance cherry picked the flatty and manual trans, they noticed some rust in the woodie’s floorboards. The JBA team made quick work of welding in new floorboards. They preserved the new floor with primer and paint, and then installed a Fatman Fabrications independent front suspension system. Fitting the 5.0 EFI V-8 and Ford AOD transmission was a piece of cake for the master mechanics at JBA Performance.
Bruce Tucker, JBA Performance General Manager, saw John and his ’50 Ford surfmobile at the 2008 Wavecrest. Bruce learned that the original flathead mill and trans are safely tucked away in John’s garage, and the woodie gets occasional cruising and show duty. Of course, those cruises only take place when there’s no surf. Otherwise, you’ll see John bombing down to the beach in the racy red wagon to catch the tastiest tube rides.
Seeing a woodie anywhere, you can almost smell the salt and hear the crash of the waves on the shore. That’s how tied to surfing and the beach scene these iconic station wagons have become, thanks to The Beach Boys and professional car builders like JBA Performance.
Installing the Ford Mustang 5.0 HO engine and Ford AOD trans in the woodie, gave the wagon more than twice the horsepower than the original Ford flathead V-8.
Thanks to precise planning by JBA Performance, there is just enough clearance from the Ford 5.0 engine to the firewall.