CHASSIS NO: 1223550
• Originally built and owned by Hugh J. Chisholm of the Strathglass Estate
• Believed to have shuttled President Franklin D. Roosevelt and other dignitaries
• One-off custom; Solid oak body by the Olson Extensions Company
• Wonderfully original car including original woodwork
This lot is available for online bidding at Proxibid.com, LiveAuctioneers.com and Invaluable.com
239 cid flathead V-8 engine, 100 HP, three-speed manual transmission, 1934 Ford Commercial Chassis stretched 24”
Hugh Chisholm was a wealthy and visionary man, whose father came from humble roots in Strathglass Carries, Scotland. Chisholm created major East Coast businesses in the paper, railroad, power generation, and airline industries. He purchased land on a bend on the Potomac River for his estate named Strathglass. He commissioned one of the largest yachts on the Potomac and needed an estate vehicle to transport his guests. Mr. Chisholm purchased this chassis from Ford in 1934 and had a custom oak body constructed to shuttle his guests to his yacht. It survives today in very original condition, quite a testament to the craftsmanship of the day.
The commercial chassis was lengthened by 24” and sent to the Olson Extension Company near Detroit for fitment of a solid oak body. The wagon was used to transport guests to Mr. Chisholm’s 243’ yacht Aras - the backward spelling of his daughter's name, Sara. Very active both politically and socially, and fabulously wealthy, Mr. Chisholm loved entertaining and regularly invited the powerful men in the Washington, D.C. area to join him. One can imagine countless parties aboard Aras, with heads of state and royalty enjoying an evening cruise on the Potomac. American Presidents Roosevelt and Truman were known to have enjoyed the yacht, no doubt, transported from the Chisholm home to the dock by this actual woodie wagon. The stretched commercial chassis allowed seating for eight to ten passengers on the rear benches, along with two in the front seat, for a total capacity of 12, with room for luggage. There appears to be a custom tailgate ramp for a wheelchair, which is suspected to have been designed to accommodate President Roosevelt.
The chassis was originally shipped with a 75-horsepower flathead V-8 from 1934 and was later upgraded in period to a 1946 Ford 59AB V-8 pushing 100 horsepower. A beautiful plaque from Olson Extensions and Swedish Crucible Steel Companies still adorn the coachwork, along with an original Strathglass logo on the door. The original leather on the front seat is in good condition with a nice patina.
Upon his death, Mr. Chisholm willed the wagon to his longtime employee George Bowling, who stored the vehicle in Lewisburg, West Virginia. It was purchased and stored in 1954 by Marshall Musser of West Virginia, until the current consignor, a dedicated woodie enthusiast, pursued and finally purchased it in 1996. It is believed that the 50,427 miles indicated on the vehicle is correct. While that cannot be confirmed, the condition of the original leather seat and interior would certainly support that claim. The paint is largely original, with some touchups, and the original woodwork is all present and remarkably intact, having been beautifully restored by noted woodie authority, Nick Alexander.
The mechanicals are in fine condition, as the consignor loved driving it. The vehicle is well-known to the woodie faithful, having been profiled in an issue of the Woodie Times. It’s the kind of vehicle that always draws a crowd and is hard to forget.
The one-of-a-kind coachwork appeals to any Ford enthusiast, and the rarity of a coachbuilt, custom oak body on a stretched commercial chassis rings the bell for all the woodie fans. History buffs are hooked by the famous Washington, D.C. figures and presidents who attended parties on the Potomac’s biggest yacht, and the hundreds of guests brought to the dock in this vehicle. It’s a well-functioning piece of history and a period time capsule all in one. It will certainly give the winning bidder a prominent spot in many respected events nationwide.