Mar 07 2015

From the Hugh Nutting Collection: Insight into the Woodies of Huntington’s J.T. Cantrell and Company

Over 40 years ago, Hugh Nutting began researching J.T. Cantrell and Company for a Boulder Colorado newspaper and, subsequently, became the Cantrell adviser to the National Woodie Club. 

Hugh has agreed to share some of his insight and favorite  photos of this Long Island automobile bodybuilder which was based in Huntington and then Huntington Station.


Howard Kroplick


This is the first design for a Dodge Bros. It fits 1916 to 1923 models. I think it is the Cantrell home behind it. I have a copy of the original press photo used to this ad. The Cantrell's had built mostly Model T hacks before getting the Dodge business

Joe Cantrell really got his big break into the Suburban market using Dodge Brother's chassis. Dodge Brothers had a package deal for dealers that was basically a cab-chassis.The LI area dealers sold them and sent them to Cantrell for wooden bodies. He had lots of advertising in the Country Life magazine.

In 1970 I went to a company picnic west of Boulder CO. It was near the Sugarloaf Mine. The kids told me they often played on an old car near the mine shaft. It was the remains of a Dodge Bros commercial car.The property caretaker was also an employee of Dow Chemical. I think I saw some of the old Dodge in the shaft.I started researching the Cantrell company then. Working for the Boulder Camera newspaper, I contacted the Huntington paper. They ran an ad and sent some news clippings. We took the photo on the 1924 ad and blew it up to about 2 feet long to use to make scale drawings.

This was a photo of a 1925 Dodge-Cantrell Hack that I restored.

The Hack shortly after I sold it in New Jersey.

A recent photo of the Dodge-Cantrell Hack.

This is one of the best restored Cantrell Dodges. It still was based on the 1924 cowl and truck windshield.

Note the doors now have wooden window frames. Another Cantrell improvement over the 1925/26 body.

Dodge started the car company mid-year and their model changes and company accounting were from July1 to the end of June. The basic DB cars like this started as 1924 1/2 models.


This is a 1929 Cantrell Oldsmobile in Colorado Springs which I wrote up for the Woodie Times.

From 1928 to 1931, most body construction was like this, even the Franklin.


1930 Franklin-Cantrell when new.

The restored Franklin-Cantrell

Pierce Arrow Cantrells

1934 Pierce- Arrow Cantrell

1934 Pierce-Arrow Cantrell


This is one of last Cantrell Packards 1939. Packard started a new contract with Hercules in late 39. This car was found at Hershey in used condition. Joe Cantrell did all the body designs and tail-gate hardware engineering.

In about 1932, Cantrell switched to mahogany framing with maple or birch panels. and easy way to identify later Cantrell bodies. He did do a few 1940 Packards. This is an older photo with its original owner.

A 1939 Packard-Cantrell


A 1942 Hudson-Cantrell


By 1948, the lion's share of Cantrell's business was coming from Studebaker and Chevrolet using 1/2 and 3/4 ton truck chassis. Fisher Body division of GM had taken over most of the passenger car woodie production. Mitchell Bentley was still a suppler for Pontiac and Buick bodies. Seen here, a 1947 Stubaker-Cantrell.

1949 Studebaker-Cantrell

1950 Studebaker-Cantrell


Mar 07 2015 Roger Price 11:43 PM

It’s about time that Cantrell is given the recognition that it deserves.  Thanks for putting Cantrell into the antique auto spotlight.

Mar 08 2015 Hugh Nutting 9:14 AM

A note about Cantrell’s production. One of the reason for their survival rate is that all the wooden parts were dipped in a chemical something like ‘Woodlife’ before assembly. They bought it in 55 gal. drums, and could be smelled in the plant. Many of they woodies were the work of a single craftsman from start to finish.

Aug 19 2015 Arlo Boda 9:38 PM

Hugh Nutting,
I had a friend from back in the day with the name Hugh Nutting. I live in Longmont/Mead Colorado and he lived around Carter Lake. I’ve been trying to locate him and was wondering if you happened to be him or knew of him. if you have any information can you please shoot me an email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Oct 12 2016 Arlen L Bass 1:47 PM

I was thinking about Dad, Shailer L Bass, putting a silicone rubber roof on his St. John home with the help of Fritz Schulz, and wanted to interview Fritz about it, and Hugh Nutting about its destruction in a hurricane. I have a cousin living on the island who knows the present owners of the house.

Sep 02 2017 Jim Hughes 4:26 PM

Greetings all,

I really enjoyed the article on the Cantrell Brothers. I became aware of them when a friend showed me the header board from his 1924 Dodge Canape truck with their logo on it. Does anyone know where I could get a clear image of the logo to reproduce as a decal for his truck? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Jim Hughes
Coventry, Conn

May 06 2018 Arlen L Bass 7:40 PM

Hugh Nutting brought home a Honda sports car from his military service in Japan and let me drive it before he was courting my sister. I would like to hear from him, now.

Apr 01 2020 Jan Edick 7:11 PM

I found a reference to Hugh Nutting with regard to Martin Tanner’s Class H sports cars. Looking for Hugh led me here. Hugh and I were neighbors as children, and met again in the late 50s in Midland, MI, before he went to Boulder. Our interests apparently still coincide, and it would be rewarding to renew our acquaintance.

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