Tom Cotter’s 2015 “Woody Party” | Audio & Images

Tom Cotter with his 1939 Ford Woody Wagon at the 2015 Woody Party. (David Boraks photo)
Tom Cotter with his 1939 Ford Woody Wagon at the 2015 Woody Party. See a photo gallery below. (David Boraks photo)

In Davidson Saturday, hundreds of car owners and car lovers gathered for an annual party built around a special car – a 1939 Ford Woody.

  • Listen to an audio version of this report below.

Tom Cotter of Davidson, an automotive writer and former motorsports marketer, bought the car out of barn in Brentwood on Long Island, New York, when he was 15 years old. He and his dad worked on it for a few years, but didn’t have proper tools or a garage.

“So when I was 19, I sold this car to a guy in Puerto Rico, a collector. Twenty-six years later my wife found this car in Puerto Rico, and we were able to buy it back,” Cotter said.

That worth a celebration.

“I invited a few friends over for a party, for some beer and burgers and stuff, to celebrate Tom’s Woody, coming home after 26 years,” Cotter said. “That was 17 years ago, and since then, I’ve restored the Woody and this party has grown from a few friends, to a party I have to limit to 300 people.”

That’s how many car owners bring their babies by his home in east Davidson. They park on the lawn, on a nearby field, and on green space in the middle of a loop in the road.
In the garage, Tom serves barbecue and Blue Point beer (his brother built the Brooklyn brewery and sold it to Anheuser-Busch). This year, he hired an old time-jazz band, too.

There’s no formal program or competition, just cars and car people, who come from as far away as Florida, Michigan and California.

“It satisfies everybody’s car hunger, whether it’s sports cars, muscle cars, hot rods, barn finds, antique cars. You can find it all here on this piece of property,” he said.

Many people have been coming to the party for years, bringing antique Fords, modern Teslas, Porsches, Maserattis, Jaguars, MGs, Corvettes, Alfa Romeos, and Cobras – a car Ford made only 1,000 of in the 1960s.

Jim Maxwell drove his 1964 286 AC Shelby Cobra down from Greensboro. He said the party draws serious car people.

“You see really an eclectic group of cars and people, and these people are not into just to showing their cars, they love cars. … It’s my favorite car event of the year,” Maxwell said.

I asked Maxwell: What attracts people like him to collect cars?

“I think for a lot of us, it reminds us of our youth. My brother had one (a Cobra),” he said. “I’ll bet if you talk to the owners, you would find that the car they brought is a car of their youth, that they admired and couldn’t afford or maybe they had one.”

Cotter said the party has become more than a car show.

“Cars are actually a catalyst to bring people together. So this is a people function, not just a car function.”

There’s a charitable angle to the party as well. Cotter said every year guests donate as many as a thousand cases of canned food for Loaves & Fishes pantry at Davidson’s Ada Jenkins Center.

LISTEN (MP3, 2:43)


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