Ever wondered what would happen if you took a vintage woodie model and put it through a taffy puller? Or if FCA designers were allowed to use a semi truck platform as a canvas to reawaken the signature wood paneling that once defined older Grand Wagoneer models? A New Jersey based truck dealer might have the wild and outrageous answer to both of these questions.
What we’re referring to is a massive custom truck that fully embraces the nostalgic appeal generated by vintage woodie models, while also being a bold and distinctive beast when road tripping down some of the U.S.’s most iconic freeways. But before we get into the finer details of what makes this truck pop, we might as well give you a brief refresher course on what makes a woodie a unique automotive specimen. First appearing in the 1930s, the woodie body style was a throwback to the early years of automotive design, when coach builders would make the passenger compartment of a vehicle out of various hardwoods. The technique delivered a distinct look, and that helped them become very popular in the U.S. especially during the 1940s.
However, the bubble for these classics popped in the 1950s, with all steel construction eventually pushing formal wood paneling out of the production process. It also didn’t help much that woodie models from this period required extensive care regimens to not only keep the wood looking good, but to also prevent rot from setting in on the panels. Wood grain accents were still popular after production of formal woodies ended however, with many automakers replicating the wood accents with plastic or other materials until the early 1990s.
As for the custom rig here, it started life as a 2021 International Lonestar model, but other than that proven set of bones, it clearly goes in its own unique direction. Arguably the most striking feature of the 26 foot long truck is its massive slabs of maple wood paneling which is the real deal (no fake trees to be found here.) Nine coats of varnish was used on all the wood accents, and the interior even gets in on the woodie experience, with the maple walls featuring built in cupholders, as well as spaces for tablets and other mobile devices. Access through the rear is done through a built in folding set of stairs which help shorter occupants clamber their way into the luxurious interior.
Performance for this wood adorned 20,000 lb monster comes from a massive 15 liter Cummins diesel engine which makes 400 horsepower, and 1,650 lb-ft of torque. All of this muscle is harnessed through a 10-speed automatic transmission, and while the Lonestar will never be known for its lighting quick reflexes, the combination is sufficient enough to give the truck the muscle it needs to make long distance highway journeys.
Brown Truck Group CEO Tom Brown revealed to us that the rig was originally designed for his personal use, with the goal of something that he and his family could use for weekend vacations, as well as attending the occasional car show. However, that all abruptly changed once people began to express interest in the truck, with some even offering to buy it from Brown. That prompted the talented CEO to put it up for sale for the cool price of $375,000.
He also told us his inspiration for the concept, which resonates nicely with those that were fans of the west coast car scene back in the 1960s.
“The inspiration was the Lonestar’s throwback design. I immediately thought this would make a great hot rod. We thought about the 1933/34 woody wagons that were being used in the 1950 & 60s by the surfers on the west coast and decided to build one with that theme.” Perhaps in a way to further drive home the beach vibes, the concept comes with two roof mounted surfboards to help catch some waves once you arrive at your destination.
As for Brown, he revealed that he will be taking the truck out for a weekend family vacation, and we are confident that the truck will certainly be the talk of whatever destination it reaches during the ongoing labor day festivities.