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Old 07-27-2018, 03:44 PM   #1
DocJohn
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Default Pilot Woodie - long story

Here's the start of what might end up as quite an epic... In late 2013 I bought a very rare Ford Pilot V8 Woodie unseen from Holland through a well known auction website. The car had emerged from nearly 40 years of storage and was being sold by a dealer in military vehicles who had taken it in exchange. Pilot Woodies were rare and expensive cars in postwar Britain - King George VI had one in 1951 but unfortunately died in 1952. Apparently Queen Elizabeth likes it and it was used until the late 1960s. It is now kept at the Royal Collection at Sandringham Museum.
Anyway, from what we can uncover in the EFV8 Club there 10 Pilot Woodies left. Mine was a very late car and was registered in April 1954 by a Major in the British Army It was built on a commercial chassis and in 1954 these were for export so there are brackets for a left hand drive steering box and the floor has a plate screwed over the holes for the left hand drive pedals.
The car was sold on after two years and passed through four owners before being owned by Larry Peyto. Larry was an enthusiast and showed the car at events around Essex in the 1970s. I've been really lucky to see photos from this time - notice that the rear lights have changed between photos!
The Woodie was exported to Holland from the UK in 1977, by which time it was very shabby and started to be dismantled. The history becomes very unclear, but what is known is that it spent the next 35 years in a woodworker's shop in Holland where it was completely stripped of paint and varnish and largely dismantled. This is how I bought it... to be continued.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg PPX948 (1).jpg (87.1 KB, 151 views)
File Type: jpg Woodie 1975 rear CS.jpg (41.1 KB, 152 views)
File Type: jpg DSC_0298.jpg (64.2 KB, 146 views)
File Type: jpg DSC_0300.jpg (68.5 KB, 150 views)
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Old 07-27-2018, 04:13 PM   #2
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Default Re: Pilot Woodie - long story

Wow! Very cool! Congratulations on such a rare piece of history!
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Old 07-27-2018, 05:20 PM   #3
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Default Re: Pilot Woodie - long story

Never seen those louvres on the hood side panels before on a Pilot. Nor a Pilot woodie for that matter. Thanks for posting.
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Old 07-27-2018, 05:41 PM   #4
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Default Re: Pilot Woodie - long story

Looks like a cool and interesting project, have fun.
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Old 07-27-2018, 05:58 PM   #5
Graeme / New Zealand
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Default Re: Pilot Woodie - long story

Doc will look forward to seeing more on this. Yes those louvres are unusual as Brian says but I have seen them in other pictures of Shooting Brake Pilots. The Kenyan Police force apparently used "woodies"too.

Good that your grill is intact. The one I drove years ago had a homemade one with bars of steel rod. I believe they were originally diecast....they shook to death on some of the poor road back in the day....at least that's what I read in an Australian Ford publication


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Old 07-28-2018, 05:40 AM   #6
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Default Re: Pilot Woodie - long story

Thanks! The louvres are unusual and were only fitted to the commercial versions - pick ups and panel vans. Mine was supplied to the coachbuilders as a E71C so it came with the louvres, an extra leaf in the rear spring - a good thing as the body is 200lb heavier - and one or two other features.

It's done less than 50000 miles but has had some interesting modifications. The engine is a genuine Ford replacement unit and is really clean inside. After a quick check in the valve chest, a compression test and a refurb of the ancillaries and it fired up with plenty of oil pressure. I posted a video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZnr9Zt-6b0

The wood is pretty good, with some localised woodworm and some missing ply panels. The varnish has been sanded off and there's a piece missing around one of the rear doors.

The metalwork is pretty good for its age with rust in the usual places. The worst is in the door posts and lower part of the cowl. Fortunately no-one has attempted any repairs so at least I'm not undoing previous poor work!

As, you might expect for a car that has been dismantled for more than 30 years there are lots of bits missing, and it can be a bit of a puzzle to work out what goes where!

At some point in the past someone has replaced the front axle and wishbones with those from a '37 complete with cable brakes. This made an interesting combination with the rod operated rear brakes... Anyway, I'm close to finishing the conversion back to the proper Pilot axle, wishbones and juice brakes.

More to follow....
Attached Images
File Type: jpg OS cowl before.jpg (79.3 KB, 61 views)
File Type: jpg OS lower cowl repair piece.jpg (47.4 KB, 60 views)
File Type: jpg OS cowl in primer.jpg (18.8 KB, 63 views)
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Old 07-28-2018, 07:00 AM   #7
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Default Re: Pilot Woodie - long story

Just noticed the rear side doors.....glad it's being looked after properly, keep the updates regular I enjoy seeing projects progress.
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Old 07-28-2018, 09:19 AM   #8
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Default Re: Pilot Woodie - long story

Wow, never heard of a pilot. It has some remarkable similarities to the commercial woodie I am building. Most notably the rear panel truck doors. This is really cool. Thanks for posting!
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Old 07-28-2018, 03:03 PM   #9
Graeme / New Zealand
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Default Re: Pilot Woodie - long story

Doc that is beautiful metal work you are doing and that engine sounds sweet. We got Pilot cars in NZ of course and I had the opportunity to buy one for $2,500 back in the 80s'. It was all complete and relatively rust free. Unfortunately I passed on it because I was dong a 47 business coupe at the time and I was "poorer" in those days. Would have loved it too because I could have gone to both American Car day and British Car day which are only 2 weeks apart in my locality. Always looked to me like a 36 US v8 with a E493A Prefect grille on the front. A conversion for them was to juice brake them all around and put the more powerful C59A Ford/Mercury engine in.

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Old 07-29-2018, 12:04 PM   #10
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Default Re: Pilot Woodie - long story

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graeme / New Zealand View Post
Doc that is beautiful metal work you are doing and that engine sounds sweet. We got Pilot cars in NZ of course and I had the opportunity to buy one for $2,500 back in the 80s'. It was all complete and relatively rust free. Unfortunately I passed on it because I was dong a 47 business coupe at the time and I was "poorer" in those days. Would have loved it too because I could have gone to both American Car day and British Car day which are only 2 weeks apart in my locality. Always looked to me like a 36 US v8 with a E493A Prefect grille on the front. A conversion for them was to juice brake them all around and put the more powerful C59A Ford/Mercury engine in.

GB
Thanks Graeme, it's always uplifting when people appreciate your work! I'm not a professional so it takes me hours to make parts....

As I understand it, the Pilot was exactly as you describe - a '36 with a front end restyle to fit the rather staid British taste.

The grilles are a complete nightmare to restore - Chris Sanders over here has done a few and he reckons it takes him 50 hours. I'm in no rush to start that particular job!
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Old 07-29-2018, 06:49 PM   #11
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Default Re: Pilot Woodie - long story

Ohhh nice one !
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Old 07-29-2018, 10:56 PM   #12
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Default Re: Pilot Woodie - long story

'As I understand it, the Pilot was exactly as you describe - a '36 with a front end restyle to fit the rather staid British taste.'

Not really....I think they use the same body as the English pre-war 60 HP [The ones with the 37 style grill]. And they have a short wheelbase; shorter than the 112" of USA 36's
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Old 07-30-2018, 12:11 AM   #13
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Default Re: Pilot Woodie - long story

Nice metal forming to Doc ,used to be a lot here ,pilots ,don't see them much now Ted
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