From Wood to Steel

Most people in the collision repair industry today know that car bodies were originally made of wood, not unlike their predecessors, the horse-drawn wagon.  But when did they start changing to steel?

Hupmobile, at the Detroit Auto Show in 1913, introduced the first stamped steel auto body.  Much of the coachwork on cars of that era was wood.  Hupmobile was not alone.  A few months later, Dodge Brothers started producing all-steel car bodies.  In the latter part of the 1920’s, wooden car bodies were fast disappearing from the market, much to the dismay of those in the wood-producing business.  The National Lumber Manufacturers Association charged steel makers with “disseminating propaganda against the use of wooden automobile bodies” when the steel makers placed an ad in an automotive trade magazine promoting the use of steel automobile bodies and stating that steel would soon completely replace wood as “…the automobile industry heeds the trend of progress.”

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