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1934 Dodge KCL Westchester Suburban by Cantrell

RM | Sotheby's - AMELIA ISLAND 5 - 6 MARCH 2021


Serial No.
Engine No.
Body No.
8047674
15-20634
B-2-0-LR 1048
  • Offered from over a decade of ownership
  • Handsome coachwork by one of the great names in American ‘woodies’
  • Very highly appointed, including all wind-up windows
  • Handsome presentation with beautiful older woodwork and vinyl upholstery

In 1933 Dodge introduced its first production wood-bodied station wagon, the Westchester Suburban. For this season and the next, each Westchester Suburban was hand-built to individual customer order on a passenger car chassis by the U.S. Body and Forging Company’s factory in Tell City, Indiana. Survivors of these semi-custom ‘woodies’ are quite rare today.

The example offered here is unusual for having been built on the KCL light-duty truck chassis, with this Suburban bodywork by J.T. Cantrell & Company of Huntington Station, New York. Unlike the more utilitarian U.S. Body and Forging, Cantrell was a highly respected coachbuilder known for the superb quality and craftsmanship of their finishes; they had earlier experience in producing custom bodies on Dodge Brothers chassis in the late Teens and early 1920s. The body they built on this vehicle is of a unique design, with a completely different and distinctively Cantrell wood pattern than the factory Westchester Suburban. It does, however, share that model’s innovative use of roll-up windows throughout – including the rear quarter windows, which remained side curtains on many competitors’ wagons. Cantrell advertising of the period referred to the option of full articulated glass windows as the ‘sedan’ model.

This special Dodge was cosmetically restored in the late 1980s, retaining the original Cantrell logo above the driver’s head. It was then acquired by a family that maintained it at their summer property at Bar Harbor, Maine, for many years before the current owners acquired it in 2009. It is noted that the car remains a very well-presented older restoration, with a solid refinish to what is believed to be the original wood, and original-type vinyl upholstery in good condition. The current owners’ staff have performed only the necessary basic maintenance to keep it in good order, and have also installed correct headlights.

Offered with reprints of the maintenance manual and parts list for its Dodge chassis, as well as a reproduction of its now aged original Cantrell decal, this is a handsome and beautifully constructed wagon, offered from one superb home to another.

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