Throwin’ it back to cars with wood paneling

I really want to highlight station wagons with wood paneling. This was the family car when I was just a little nugget. Actually, it was the family travel wagon (mostly for trips to Buffalo, NY to visit the grandparents) and it looked pretty darn close to this:

1986 Chrysler
1986 Chrysler


Now, before sweet, little, innocent Jennifer (little sister) came long, this car was perfect! Just me and Chris (big brother) in the back seat and then Mom and Dad in front. Chris and I would always play games or joke around together in the back. My dad’s favorite story was when Chris and I thought it would be fun to pretend like we were throwing up (car sickness). I think we liked to do this because it got my dad all riled up. Eventually we weren’t playing around anymore. Chris actually started throwing up and then I did too. Man, my dad was soooooo mad at us after that. We never joked about fake puking again.

But eventually Jenny (now Jenn) came into the picture and this pushed Chris to the back. Importantly, this wasn’t a wagon with the back seat facing backwards. He would basically just sit in the trunk. My parents would carve him a little spot between our suitcases and Jenny and I always got jealous, mostly because he was able to lay down, completely, and we still had to sit with seat belts on.

I digress. This post is about wood paneling.

So in the 80’s, wood paneling on cars was totally in. Now? It’s totally out but some cars are trying to bring it back, unsuccessfully.

There’s the Hummer H3 with faux wood paneling. Very hot.


There’s the PT Cruiser. Hideous.


It still cracks me up when I see any car with wood paneling. I saw one today which gave me the idea for today’s Throw Back Friday. So, there you have it. If you see one out on the road today honk or wave at the driver. Thank them for keeping the 80’s alive.

2 thoughts on “Throwin’ it back to cars with wood paneling

  1. That is hysterical! – I don’t think wood paneling should come back. It’s was good in it day and that where it needs to stay.

  2. Thanks for writing this! I grew up in the 1990’s, when wood paneling on cars was, for the time being at least, coming to an end. My family never owned a car with wood on it, but we were friends with a couple by the last name of Rausch, and they owned more than six 1980’s or early 1990’s GM full-size station wagons with fake wood all over them. I absolutely loved those cars, and they gave me some fine memories. I respectfully disagree with the disdain you at least somewhat seemed to have for newer cars with wood paneling- I personally am always cheered up a bit by seeing any car, newer or not, with wood paneling on the exterior. Although, I got to say, it has to be done carefully and with good taste. Wood doesn’t look very nice on some cars. Still, I will follow your suggestion and take any opportunity to show my support to owners of wood-paneled cars. Anybody who maintains such a vehicle, or goes out of their way to get wood placed on it, is helping to keep a grand old tradition alive.

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