WOOD & STEEL

1947 Chrysler Wind­sor When you can’t find a Woody, build one

Top Gear (Philippines) - - The Garage - WORDS BY MATTHEW GALANG

Some say that im­i­ta­tion is the high­est form of flat­tery, but the fu­sion of wood and metal that you see on these pages was crafted by Al­fred Perez, owner of Al­fred Mo­tor Works, with a dif­fer­ent in­ten­tion in mind. Pur­vey­ors of classic Amer­i­can full-size cars will be able to tell that the wood pan­els and the roof rack on this 1947 Chrysler Wind­sor weren’t stan­dard on the model; instead, they were found on the Town and Country (not to be con­fused with Chrysler’s more re­cent mini­van of the same name), which shared a chas­sis with the Wind­sor.

The wood pan­el­ing was af­fixed to add some va­ri­ety to Al­fred’s fleet of bridal cars, all pre­vi­ously plain white. His Wind­sor’s con­ver­sion to a Town and Country was rel­a­tively sim­ple and ac­cu­rate, given that the only difference the two cars had was the wood pan­els and the roof rack. Al­fred and his crew sim­ply at­tached the wood trim on top of the ex­ist­ing body pan­els, which may have added some heft, but with a car like this, weight re­duc­tion is the least of your con­cerns. The car does lose some points for his­tor­i­cal ac­cu­racy however, when you con­sider that the wood used wasn’t of Amer­i­can ori­gin. Instead, the pan­els were cut from lo­cally sourced wood and fab­ri­cated by local crafts­men, win­ning the car points for sup­port­ing Filipino in­dus­tries and for the seam­less marriage of Amer­i­cana and Filip­ini­ana.

Aside from be­ing white, Al­fred’s the cars in the bridal fleet have an­other thing in com­mon: lots of space. This is eas­ily seen in the Wind­sor: Its in­te­rior is big enough to pass for a small liv­ing room, and there’s a ridicu­lously soft sofa serv­ing as the back­seat. We imag­ine that fam­ily road trips back in the day must have been quite a bit more stylish and com­fort­able than the ones we have to day—which are typ­i­cally plagued by end­less queries of “Are we there yet?” and a com­plete dis­re­gard for valu­able per­sonal space.

The in­te­rior ac­cou­trements don’t stop

there, ei­ther. The car also has jump seats that un­fold for when you feel the need to throw a small party in the back, then tuck away and out of sight when not in use. There’s a re­tractable window in be­tween the front and rear sec­tions of the cabin, in case you’re in need of some pri­vacy from your chauf­feur. There are even leather straps you can hold on to when ex­it­ing through the sui­cide doors. Yes, this car has sui- cide doors, which open to­ward the back instead of the front. The air-con­di­tion­ing is ex­cep­tion­ally fresh for a ve­hi­cle that is 70 years old, and all those shiny in­stru­ments on the dash­board still work.

The ex­te­rior, too, is as fresh as can be, with chrome hub­caps, white side­walls, high-qual­ity var­nished wood, and a trunk that al­most looks like a trea­sure chest thanks to the wood pan­el­ing. As you may have noticed, the front wind­shield is made up of two flat pan­els of glass, instead of the sin­gle curved piece found on to­day’s ve­hi­cles. This is be­cause the car was man­u­fac­tured back be­fore the tech­nol­ogy to make curved glass wind­shields was com­mon­place. Neat fact, huh?

This beau­ti­ful lovechild of the Wind­sor and the Town and Country con­tin­ues to with­stand the test of time. It’s an­other one of Al­fred’s gifts to the car-lov­ing world—a dashing Amer­i­can classic given new life by Filipino skill and cre­ativ­ity.

‘It has seats that un­fold for when you want to party at the back’

PHo­ToG­rA­PHY BY JAMA RAMOS

A solid name that con­tin­ues to live on in mod­ern times

As is the norm with this shop’s work, all is func­tion­ing

We are scared to ask how much this beauty even weighs!

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