Rare Woodill Wildfire Wows Attendees at Muckenthaler Car Event

Many mid-’50s collectibles including a 1956 Continental Mark II made it to the Muckenthaler Concours d’Elegance on May 20 and a fun parade of vintage Ford Model Ts brightened the day for participants and spectators alike at the Fullerton, CA show.  A heavy dose of California “May Gray” dropped temperatures and some early drizzle on the area, but by the time winners were announced in the early afternoon skies had cleared and sunshine smiled on the show field.

Since 1994 the Muckenthaler Motor Car festival has been an annual event whose proceeds benefit children through the education and cultural programs sponsored by the Muckenthaler Foundation. This year hot rods and customs were displayed on Saturday and collector cars at the Sunday concours. A large number of Model Ts caravanned onto the show field early in the day and some ladies clad in period correct attire nearby added to the fun. A high school color guard stood at attention as the National Anthem was played following the parade. Live entertainment on the Cultural Center’s stage amused attendees.

Mid-1950s classics included the ’56 Mark II and a lineup of Oldsmobile, Cadillac, Buick, Chevy, Studebaker and DeSoto collector cars.  Corvettes of all eras were on hand as well as a small, but historic group of travel trailers. Two vintage Rolls Royces and an unusual 1938 open Bentley boattail roadster, Ferraris and Jaguars were featured. Early VWs, a tiny Fiat and an AMC Metropolitan were there.

Discretely positioned in a row of racy British sports cars was a rare American-made Woodill Wildfire 2-seat roadster. The adage that you can’t go home again was proven false by this classic which was fabricated in nearby Downey, CA nearly 70 years ago by a small team of car enthusiasts less than 30 minutes away from the Fullerton show field.

In 1952 it was the first of a small family of fiberglass-bodied cars that ultimately evolved into kits for sale and then faded into history a few years later. Owner Deanna Roth of Thousand Oaks said the Woodill is one of only two prototypes built in 1952 with a custom body by boat maker Bill Tritt and Willys body trim and running gear. She said when her husband acquired the car for restoration it was covered in numerous coats of different color paint despite the body’s no-rust durability.  Why? Because builder Blanchard “Woody” Woodill had built the prototype for marketing purposes and kept changing the colors to imply availability of numerous cars in photos when in reality only one existed. This car and its history were featured in a 2014 story in Motor Trend. Read all about it at www.motortrend.com.




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