Recently, on a car club outing to Frankfort, I was reminded of the automotive contributions made by Hoosiers in more than 40 Indiana cities and towns. I viewed an excellent 1950 Plymouth Special Deluxe Woody. That prompted my memory that the U.S. Body & Forging Company in Frankfort produced Dodge and Plymouth wooden station wagon bodies from 1937 and 1950.
The company came to Frankfort in 1937 after a flood forced it to relocate production from its plant in Tell City, IN. In 1940, Plymouth’s wood station wagon was made part of its regular passenger car line through early 1942, when the USB&F plants converted to war work.
Following the war, USB&F resumed production on Plymouth’s station wagons, which were built through 1950. USB&F bodies featured wood framing in Ash with the panels in a choice of Ash, Maple, or Honduras Mahogany. Finished bodies were shipped completely assembled, five per semi-trailer, from Frankfort to respective Dodge and Plymouth plants for final assembly onto the chassis.
Plymouth’s final woody was the 1950 Special Deluxe. The introduction of Plymouth’s all-steel 1950 station wagon ended the firm’s association with Chrysler Corporation.
The next time you see a Dodge or Plymouth station wagon from this era you’ll know that the wooden body was made by Hoosier craftsmen in Frankfort, IN.
For more information on Indiana auto pioneers follow this link