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TOMMY SCALERA May 09, 2023 All Feature Vehicles

I go to a lot of car shows. It’s not just my pastime… as the founder of, a nationwide car show, and motorsport listing website, it’s my passion. From local Cars & Coffees in New Jersey to mega hot rod shows in California, to the Concours d’ Elegance in Greenwich, Connecticut, I go to as many auto events as possible.

But there are a few that really stand out, and Woodies on the Wharf is one of them.

Organized by the Santa Cruz Woodies Club, Woodies on the Wharf is an incredible annual car show attracting nearly 200 classic Woodies from all over the United States.

Held each June in Santa Cruz, CA, the event features gorgeous cars in an equally gorgeous setting on the largest wharf on the west coast.  With a wide array of styles, models, and colors, from spectacular 100-point restorations to well-weathered, barn-find survivors, this show provides a living history lesson on the wood-bodied automobile. Fords, Chevys, Buicks, Dodges, Plymouths, Chryslers, Mercurys, and Pontiacs are in abundance, but the event also attracts Packards, Studebakers, Volkswagens, and even a few Morris Minors. Yep, all Woodies.

And in the Woodie world, the owners can be just as colorful as their cars, putting their own whimsical spin on displaying their wooden wonders. With classic surfboards, beautifully-crafted canoes, vintage luggage sets on top, and old-school surfing and national park stickers on the windows, it would not be unusual to see a full set of vintage camping gear in the back, complete with antique coolers with period-correct beer cans on ice. If there’s one thing Woodie owners have, it’s a sense of humor! Even the license plates can be fun, with “IGTAWDY”, “PLYWUD”, and “WUZATRE”, among others.

With perfect weather, great restaurants, fun shops, wonderful people, and nearly 200 Woodies out on a wharf overlooking the ocean, this event could not have been more magical.

Check out for event listings and lots of great automotive resources.

This year the National Woodie Club joined in the festivities, combining their national event with the Santa Cruz event, helping to bring in Woodie board members, dignitaries, and aficionados from all across the country.

With perfect weather, great restaurants, fun shops, wonderful people, and nearly 200 Woodies out on a wharf overlooking the ocean, this event could not have been more magical. With such a diverse group of unique cars, there is plenty to see, plenty to do, and plenty to chat about. And in the afternoon, after the announcements, dedications, raffle drawings, and awards ceremony, the event commenced with a parade of Woodies driving in single file down the wharf led by a police escort, past a cheering crowd, providing the perfect photo ops.

Our adventure continued the next morning, with my wife and I riding with Santa Barbara Woodie Club members Rick and Eliane White in their red 1950 Ford Woodie, followed by 60 other Woodies. We traveled along Santa Cruz’s beautiful Westcliff Drive past the lighthouse and along the bluffs overlooking the Pacific, and back to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, all with waving and cheering fans along the route.

Woodies on the Wharf is an event not to be missed by Woodie enthusiasts and anyone who appreciates these unique and beautiful pieces of rolling art. And you can be sure we’ll be back on the wharf in Santa Cruz again next year.


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