“Wonders in Wood, on Land and by Sea,” the Audrain Automobile Museum’s exhibit opening on Saturday, March 18th, will showcase the finest examples of wooden-bodied cars created by American, Italian, and English manufacturers from the 1920s thru the ‘60s, along with examples of wooden boats built in New England. The exhibit is set to run from March 18th thru June 11th, 2023.
Wood was the material of choice in boat building and the carriage makers’ trade for hundreds of years. Early automobiles followed suit. The wooden-bodied station wagons created by American, Italian, and English manufacturers from the 1920s thru the 60s were vehicles that also served as a canvas for the craftsman’s art in an era when coachbuilding was fading from prominence.
Wooden boats and automobiles soon became fashionable luxury items in the early 20th Century. The “woody” created in many iterations evokes nostalgia for many.
On display in the museum’s intimate gallery will be 10 cars, seven boats, a horse-drawn coach with examples including a grand 1892 Brewster Park Drag Coach and 1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost boat tail skiff to the 1948 Chrysler Town & Country convertible.
The 1892 Brewster Park Drag Coach represents the highest form of transportation in the early 1890s. Built by Brewster, this four-horse-drawn coach was ordered by New York business executive Hamilton McKown Twombly, who married Florence Adele Vanderbilt after the two met in Newport. Constructed from wood, the coach was finished in the Vanderbilt family colors, “A dash of burgundy mixed with plum.”
The 1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost boat tail skiff wears one of the most impressive and attractive bodies. This Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Skiff exemplifies the high level of detail a coachbuilder would achieve to satisfy a customer’s request. A unique open sporting car of its day.
This Silver Ghost Skiff is said to have retained its original metalwork and Cuban Mahogany woodwork. While this Silver Ghost was restored in recent years, the restoration was carefully completed to preserve the original wood, and it has since received First in Class awards at both the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
“In the early 20th century, the wooden boat and automobile were among the most fashionable luxury item and display of wealth,” said Donald Osborne, Audrain’s CEO. “The word ‘woody’ even evokes nostalgia in its many iterations for many enthusiasts. The iconic cars and boats that we have chosen to showcase in the exhibit are truly marvels of the land and sea.”
More information regarding the Museum, including more details about this exhibit, can be found HERE.