When it comes to automobile staples of yesteryear, few images evoke the kind of nostalgia as a woody. An interpolation of the all-wood horse-drawn shooting brake wagons, woodgrain-trimmed cars first popped up in the 1930s and were a popular variant through the ‘60s, until they eventually gave way to simulated woodgrain vinyl paneling that offered better cost efficiency and durability. Models from the Ford Pinto to the Chevy El Camino to Pontiac’s Sunbird all sported the sheet vinyl applique with a woody aesthetic, but by 1993, spotting a new woody in the wild would be tough unless it was a Jeep Wagoneer or Buick Roadmaster Estate.
For two decades, Jeep’s Wagoneer SUV became one of the era’s icons when it came to the woodgrain look. The SJ-bodied editions went caput after 1991, and the new top-of-the-line Grand Cherokee, introduced for 1993, was the last time we saw factory wood paneling on a Jeep. The trend was dying elsewhere as well. The Grand Cherokee had its run through 1998, and it would be nearly 25 years before the Wagoneer would triumphantly return for a fourth generation in 2022. However, the wood paneling, thought by many to have died off industry-wide with the PT Cruiser revival in the early ‘00s, was nowhere to be seen.
Enter Wagonmaster, a company that has sought to preserve the legacy of the Wagoneer woody for the past 25 years. It offers authentic paneling and restoration for those looking to keep the bodywork of their old Jeeps in pristine condition despite the wear and tear of the road. Now, the Texas-based brand is filling a void that came with the recent reintroduction of the Wagoneer (and Grand Wagoneer) by offering woodgrain molding trim for the new 2022 models. The kit is equipped with full-side woodgrain vinyl panels for the driver and passenger sides, as well as a rear license plate surround and luggage rack strip. And the experts have made sure that it all looks identical to the paneling from back in the day.
Amazingly, Wagonmaster is offering this nostalgic upgrade for just $1,900. For a taste of the vintage aesthetic for your brand-new ride, head over to the company’s website now.