Larry Crider of Sapulpa, Oklahoma, is a self-confessed Pontiac fanatic with countless builds and restorations under his belt. It was way back in 1979 when a tip from friends led him to an old barn where a very rare 1948 Pontiac Streamliner DeLuxe woodie wagon sat covered with years of dirt and cobwebs. For some reason the wagon didn't grab his attention and he passed.
A decade later, his good friend John Hinds revisited the barn, and after seeing the wagon was still there, bought it and dragged it home. With a bit of effort he got it running, added some custom wheels and an old long board out the back, and started cruising around town in it. Larry recalls even hitting a local car show with John where the car received the "Ugliest Car" pick. As time passed, the old wagon began to intrigue Larry, and in 1998 it was offered to him first when it went up for sale. Now that Larry knew its rarity—the model was the last true woodie wagon built by Pontiac—he sealed the deal and parked it in his garage to study it and make a decision on its fate. Even though the wagon's scarceness beckoned for a restoration, Larry couldn't help but imagine it with a wicked rake, vibrant pearl coating, and a healthy V-8 under the hood.
With the decision made to hot-rod it, he started the initial teardown in his garage, assisted by young neighbor Kelly McKenzie. In looking for a shop to undertake the build, a meeting with Bob Lander of Carefree Paint & Body in Tulsa, Oklahoma, proved that his team possessed both the creativity and finesse to bring his ideas to fruition. The wagon was hauled over to Carefree, and the team there completed the teardown and laid out a plan for its recreation.
To get started, the original chassis was blasted clean and provisions were made to route the exhaust through the chassis to allow for greater ground clearance. In order to set the rake, a GM 10-bolt rearend plucked from a '80 Pontiac Trans Am was suspended in place with matching leaf springs and tube shocks combined with a Chassis Engineering lowering kit. Despite the wagon's cruise-ship size, it has ultra-smooth handling and a lowdown stance, thanks to a Heidts Superide II IFS with 2-inch drop spindles and coilover shocks. To complete the chassis, an ECI dual master with booster moves fluid through stainless lines to 11-inch Wilwood front discs and GM 10-inch discs out back. The icing on the chassis was a set of dazzling Foose Design Legend series wheels capped with Falken rubber to complete the look.
When it came to deciding what mill to nail to the 'rails of the wagon, there was no question that it would be a Poncho. Larry located a classic '67 400ci V-8 and had Wilhite Pontiac Performance of Derby, Kansas, do the buildup with a focus on great performance. The team at Wilhite opened the block to 403 ci and filled it with a stock crank and rods linked to Keith Black 9:1 forged slugs complemented by a Lunati stick. Warmed-over Pontiac 6X heads topped with custom valve covers from Doug Lee Engineuity look great while a Barry Grant Six Shooter intake capped by Demon carbs move the fuel. With spark from MSD to light the fire, spent gases exit through custom headers and 2-1/4-inch stainless exhaust by Radical Creations of Owasso, Oklahoma. To move the power, a Pontiac 200-4R trans spins the gusto through a custom driveshaft by Driveline Specialties of Tulsa.
Seeing that the original wood body by the Ionia Furniture Company was beyond tired, Larry decided it was time for a fresh new look and selected a combination of ash and African mahogany to bring plenty of decadence to the mix. Cincinnati Wood Works of Cincinnati replaced the body's wood portions, bringing endless, newfound allure to its personality. With the wood completed, John Schueler of Reading, Ohio, took on the painstaking task of making sure all the new glass fit to perfection. To add an equal amount of excitement to the build, the team at Carefree continued on with Eddie Lander fanatically addressing every inch of sheetmetal till it was arrow straight. Meanwhile, Bob Lander worked his special voodoo fabricating a custom radiator filler panel and inner fenderwells. Once the dust settled, Jeff Lander filled his spray gun and laid down a custom blended House of Kolor Mango Coral vibe.
With the wagon in the final reassembly stage, plenty of freshly re-plated parts from AIH of Dubuque, Iowa, added loads of flash. The final icing came when Rick Pike and Duane Williams at American Auto Trim worked their magic to install a new padded cloth top as well as recovering the original interior with a combination of pecan Ultraleather accented by tan cut-pile carpeting. The factory dash was retained and filled with gauges from Auto Meter while Vintage Air keeps the cabin cool, and a Billet Specialties steering wheel brings it all home. The completed woodie is just plain bitchin and Larry tells us his finest moment so far was cruising into the Wavecrest show at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, California, which to us is just plain bitchin!
Yards of soft pecan Ultraleather was sculpted to bring the Pontiac's original interior bac
Sporting a killer stance thanks to a Heidts Superide II IFS with 2-inch drop spindles and
A killer 1967 Pontiac 403ci mill was assembled by Wilhite Pontiac Performance, featuring K