1947 Mercury Woodie, Brizio Street Rods, Fuel Curve

1947 Mercury Woody – Our Wood Pile

The 1947 Mercury Woody was the top of the line wagon in the auto manufacturer’s stable at the time. With a price tag of roughly two grand, they were the ticket for beach-going large families. With three rows of bench seating, slatted wooden roof liners and a healthy dose of maple on the outside, they were more than eye-pleasing. We’re not sure if they came from Mercury with whitewalls but crisp WSW tires make these wood wagons pop! Especially like this one coated in black.

1947 Mercury Woody, Brizio Street Rods, Fuel Curve

This car was at least ten years in the making. Owners Richard and Rita Skillman of San Jose started on it more than a decade ago. About halfway through the restoration, the project was stalled. The Skillman’s then called on the Bay Area’s premier early Ford shop, Roy Brizio Street Rods, to finish it right. The Skillman’s were introduced to Roy via Jim Vickery – Brizio’s longtime employee and Santa Cruz Woodies club member.

1947 Mercury Woody, Brizio Street Rods, Fuel Curve

Upon delivery to Roy’s place, the only thing there was the chassis, the cowl and a few pieces of wood. Not ideal! After some clean up and inventory, it was shipped to Southern California to Chris Messano Woodworks for the full treatment.

1947 Mercury Woody, Brizio Street Rods, Fuel Curve1947 Mercury Woodie, Brizio Street Rods, Fuel Curve

When it came to Roy’s place, the only thing there was the chassis, the cowl and a few pieces of wood. Not ideal! After some clean up and inventory, it was shipped to Southern California to Chris Messano Woodworks for the full treatment. As you can see, Messano is really good at woodwork. When it came back North to San Francisco, not only did it have a masterful maple restoration, it had a Three Stromberg-fed, 284ci, 315hp Ardun OHV engine from the capable hands of Mike Herman from H & H Flatheads. Herman did this one right with Scat crank and rods, Ross pistons, Powermaster alternator and a custom cam grind.

1947 Mercury Woody, Brizio Street Rods, Fuel Curve

The interior was brought back to better-than-stock by Sid Chavers Upholstery while the liquid smooth black PPG paint is courtesy of Joe Compani of Compani Color in Hayward. The stock stainless trim was in good shape, but Sherm’s Plating gave it a fresh lease on life.

1947 Mercury Woody, Brizio Street Rods, Fuel Curve

1947 Mercury Woody, Brizio Street Rods, Fuel Curve


The black steelies, Coker wide whites and the stock hubcaps are spot on as is the stance courtesy of a Fatman Mustang II front clip.

1947 Mercury Woody, Brizio Street Rods, Fuel Curve

The final product is not only stunning, it’s as if the vehicle was teleported from the dealership showroom some 71 years ago. Edsel Ford would most certainly give it his stamp of approval. The Skillman’s deserve all the credit in the world for their perseverance and their ability to add small touches of hot rod flair to the wagon.

1947 Mercury Woody, Brizio Street Rods, Fuel Curve1947 Mercury Woodie, Brizio Street Rods, Fuel Curve

The only thing left is a cruise to the world-famous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk for the annual Woodies on the Wharf in June where it will surely contend for Best in Show.

About our photo shoot.

Brizio Street Rods’ Dave Cattalini was good enough to let me hop into the Skillman’s masterpiece and drive over to Oyster Point Marina in South San Francisco where we shot the car near the Harbormaster’s office. It was a gorgeous and serene morning with gulls chirping (not pooping thankfully) high above. While we were shooting, Cattalini’s old friend and Marina resident Jim stopped by with his Jack Russell Terrier “Boatie.” Let me just say this – Boatie was the cutest, smartest and best-trained doggie I have ever met. Since he was raised on Jim’s live-aboard ship, the name just made sense.

1947 Mercury Woody, Brizio Street Rods, Fuel Curve1947 Mercury Woody, Brizio Street Rods, Fuel Curve

Thanks go out to Harbormaster Jim Merlo for letting us have the run of the place!

Senior Editor, Digital Media

With three decades of automotive journalism under his belt, John Drummond serves as Senior Editor – Digital Media for Fuel Curve and Goodguys Rod & Custom Association where he has worked since 1990. Drummond got his start in motorsports reporting by making a fake press pass to gain starting line access. The ruse worked and he began covering auto races as far back as 1986 in Northern California, eventually getting his stories published worldwide. He has owned and driven everything from a 1957 Plymouth Belvedere to a ridiculously modded Subaru WRX as well as a string of Mercedes AMG’s, most of which had the warranties voided the day after leaving the dealership.

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