Our readers rarely see wood-bodied commercial vehicles, known as Depot Hacks in their day, in this vintage truck publication. However, this unique woodie wagon was a big old Diamond T truck in a previous life-and is well worth making an exception to the rule.

Built by an extraordinary craftsman and his friends from Olympia, Washington, Ron Arant discovered the all-original '47 Diamond T 509 truck in a Sheldon, Washington, wrecking yard. Apparently, the big truck was operated (by the county) as a general-purpose maintenance truck in Tillamook, Oregon. As you can see from the photo of the original cab, it was at least a 5-ton truck.

But Ron's vision of what the Diamond T could be was something quite different. He had always admired the unique design features of the stout '47 grille and hood. And Ron was clever enough to think outside the box as he planned how he might use these design elements on his next custom-built vehicle.

Starting with an '88 Dodge Dakota pickup chassis, Ron shortened the wheelbase to 122 inches and designed a phantom two-door wagon. (Interestingly, Diamond T had pre-production designs of a prototype woodie wagon after the war, but none were manufactured.) As we discovered from Ron's album of build photos, there's plenty of sheetmetal fabrication (on the body sides) under the wood skin.

Another borrowed item was a roof panel from a '35 Pontiac sedan that included the rear deck and rear window. Ron attached the Pontiac roof panel to the Diamond T top, then filled the fabric insert opening with sheetmetal from the roof of a '84 Chevy Malibu wagon. The original Diamond T front fenders were raised 3 inches and the grille was leaned back 10 degrees. Ron had to construct new hood panels, so he created a three-piece hood with a tilt-forward top. Check closely the extended rear fenders; they're also Diamond T front fenders with portions of the inner panel removed and the wheel openings redesigned to complement modern 17-inch billet wheels with 50-series tires. Ron also fabricated new running boards between the fenders and enough other details to fill his piece-by-piece build photo album.

We hope our readers are as inspired by what they see here. All the clichs of making a silk purse from a sow's ear or lemonade from lemons apply to Ron's rejuvenated Diamond T woodie.

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