Yesterday I saw an orange PT Cruiser with faux wood paneling. Today I learned that it has an enormous custom hood ornament and an absurdly cute matching mini-trailer. But this discovery hasn't stopped me from pondering the question that came into my head yesterday. When I was a kid, simulated wood was still an option on Ford and Mercury station wagons. It baffled me then and baffles me now. But I realized, in experiencing the revival of this bafflement, that my confusion really starts with the "real thing." Does anyone out there know why having wood panels on an automobile ever seemed logical? I mean, cars are obviously technological. They necessarily contain metal. Why pretend otherwise? Or is there some function to wood paneling that my post-60s brain simply can't grasp?