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Project Showcase — Past Winners

Reifer's Wooden Car

Ronald Reifer's 1937 Wood Car

This month we proudly honor Ronald Reifer, of Coopersville Michigan for his master craftsmanship and wood finishing technique. Thank you Ron, for sharing an unbelievable job of woodworking and an excellent piece of wood finishing.

Dear Minwax,

It all started with a wind storm. A couple of shingles blew off the barn and it leaked right on top of some old Popular Mechanics magazines. Sorting out the wet ones I came across a copy of one that had a wood car make on a Volkswagen chassis, (other than wood it doesn't look like mine because the engine was in the back). They did mention that if you built it you'd have to design your own.

I started with a front clip off a 78 Trans Am. Rebuilt the motor, found a 350 tubo transmission and then a positraction rear end from an 83 Trans Am. I used the solid frame from a Dodge D-50 pickup (mini truck) When that was completed I bolted two 2X6's on either side from the front to the rear. The passenger compartment is 1/2 inch Baltic birch plywood with 1/4 inch luan glued and fastened in place. The front, hood and the trunk are made like a model airplane structure using oak. The bumpers are solid oak fastened with steel braces to the frame. The surround of the grill is the end hand rail off an old shuffle board table (I made a fireplace surround out of the table) The back tail lights are from an old Thunderbird, so is the instrument cluster. The steering wheel is off my bass boat (I have another one).

The stain is Minwax® Wood Finish™ Golden Pecan. The top coat is Minwax® Helmsman® Spar Urethane gloss. If you look real close I do have a couple of sags on the side panels but no one even in the "Coopersville Days" (in memory of Del Shannon), the second largest car show in Michigan, noticed. Every one says what a beautiful finish. There is so much wood with that rich look it's like my grass if I miss a blade or two cutting no one sees it but me.