Shop Saves Garage-Dwelling 1947 Woodie
June 7, 2017
*See additional images in the photo gallery below
When Bernard Huizenga was young, his father had a ’47 Oldsmobile woodie wagon in 1949. The car was eventually traded in for a Plymouth sedan and later involved in a collision. Chasing nostalgia, Huizenga managed to locate one just like it in Virginia. He towed it home behind his 1973 GMC motorhome.
The life of the vehicle under Huizenga would ultimately prove the value of consumers working with speciality shops.
After Huizenga brought the car back home to Elm Grove, Wisconsin, his daughter asked him to use it in a high school homecoming parade. Immediately after that, he started taking the wooden body apart for restoration. He saw that the wood parts were held together by finger joints that had deteriorated. He tried various ways to reproduce them and decided he couldn’t do a good enough job of it.
Huizenga shipped the wood parts to a man in Minneapolis, who said he could fix them. A few weeks later, the man called to say the woodwork was done, but it wasn’t done properly. The man didn’t get the fingers completely seated before the glue dried. There was over 1/8-inch of space at the point of each finger. Discouraged, Huizenga set the project aside for decades.
During that time, Huizenga joined the National Woodie Club and had contacts with other owners of Oldsmobile woodies. In 2010, he got a call from Mark Norton, of Cedar, Michigan, who said he had two 1947 Oldsmobile woodies to build for people but had nothing to go by. Norton wanted to use Huizenga’s car to make patterns. Wheezing suggested that Norton take the car to his shop to do that and then built a body for it.
Norton was a fourth-generation woodworker who came from a family of patternmakers. When he was a small boy, his father made a set of boxes that he could stand on in order to reach the woodworking machines in the shop. By the time he was 16, Norton had become an accomplished patternmaker himself.
Norton went to college to study engineering. While he was away, his father developed a heart condition. Mark was called home to help run the business, but did not want to be a patternmaker, so the business was sold. He then went to work building houses, but got restless and decided to restore woodie cars.
In October 2010, Norton drove a trailer to Huizenga’s house to pick up the 1947 Olds. He brought the car back to Traverse City and worked on it in a shop owned by Mike Nichols, who had been repairing woodies for 30 years. Together, they started the shop now named Norton’s Woodies & Rods.
Norton inherited his father’s passion for design, fabrication, perfection and customer service as well as his mother’s artistic talent. He said that gave him an eye for things that look right. All projects are completed to a Norton standard of quality-”the Norton’s Woodies & Rods team works with the most up to date and tried and true methods and products in the industry.
Norton said he has learned the art of listening and working with clients.
“Each one becomes a member of the team,” he said.
With a unique combination of skills, and drive to build the finest hand-crafted automobiles, the Norton Woodies & Rods team can build dream cars like Bernard Huizenga’s 1947 Olds woodie.
ClassicCars.com has risen into the top 1,000 websites in the…READ MORE
Legislation (House Bill 31) that would ease the process for…READ MORE
The gas explosion that killed one person and injured 25…READ MORE
The PPG Foundation has invested approximately $135,000 to support science,…READ MORE
Mick's Paint is expanding in Pomona, California, to accommodate more…READ MORE
The Petersen Automotive Museum will host a parade on President's…READ MORE
Original Equipment Reproduction (OER) has expanded its product offering to…READ MORE
Des Moines, Iowa-based Karl Kustoms now offers Champion Racing Oils,…READ MORE
Garage 77 claims to be the world's first social classic…READ MORE
A new Facebook Watch series, Pick, Flip & Drive, follows…READ MORE
ClassicCars.com for the fourth consecutive year has appeared on the…READ MORE
Carlisle Chrysler Nationals is set for July 13-15 at the…READ MORE
Classic Industries has launched its new Mustang product line almost…READ MORE
Seven teams qualified at The Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine…READ MORE
ididit has announced that national sales manager Marty Waterstraut will…READ MORE
A senate bill has been introduced by the Wisconsin legislature…READ MORE
For the first time in more than 20 years, Goodguys…READ MORE
Rodder's Helping Houston is a fundraising campaign launched in California…READ MORE
Hagerty has acquired Classics&Exotics, a peer-to-peer online marketplace for classic…READ MORE
ididit said it has some exciting additions to its car…READ MORE
Kingpin University (KPU) will travel to the heartland of tech…READ MORE
3M Auto and United Way on June 24 will host…READ MORE
On September 30 and October 1, Motovicity Distribution will be…READ MORE
Classic Industries, a leader of automotive restoration and performance parts…READ MORE
Drake Automotive Group has announced the addition of three new…READ MORE
Classic Industries will be expanding its coverage of Classic GM…READ MORE
America's Car Museum (ACM) is kicking off its Summer Drive…READ MORE
The days of eyeballing the best replacement soft top convertible…READ MORE
Coker Tire will sponsor Russo & Steele's annual expert collector…READ MORE
Production of the steel 1966-1967 Chevy II Nova two-door hardtop…READ MORE
3M has entered into an agreement to sell the assets…READ MORE