The use of structural woodwork as a styling feature may not have originated with Chrysler, but in the early 1940s, their designers managed to transform this utilitarian feature into a status symbol. The earliest woodies were born of necessity, with essential form-after-function aftermarket bodies adapted to vehicles like the Model T for commercial duty. Eventually, style points began to shape the woodwork, and by the mid-1930’s most American manufacturers offered factory-built station wagons with wood bodies. But it was Chrysler’s Town & Country of 1941 that gave the traditional utilitarian wood structure a luxurious, elegant makeover. The inspired Town & Country was a top-of-the-line luxury car that combined the best of the New Yorker from the windscreen forward with an opulent “country home” feel from the cowl back. The T&C was expensive to build, costly to buy, and required specialized maintenance, but it proved a success, and soon other manufacturers were jumping on the bandwagon with their versions of the luxury woody. However, few could match Chrysler’s stature and the sheer sense of occasion when in the presence of one of these magnificent machines.
Chrysler excelled at the upscale wood-bodied car, and few of their rivals came close to the Town & Country’s quality and luxury. This 1948 Town & Country Convertible is a prime example, finished in Polo Green and well-equipped with all the luxury fittings a buyer from the late-40s would desire. This car is presented in good condition with excellent woodwork and an appealing patina to its older restoration. The Polo Green paint suits the car’s “country home” character particularly well, and while there is some fading to the finish, it is consistent and attractive, with an appealing and honest character. The woodwork appears sound and in good condition, showing signs of re-varnishing through the years. There are some imperfections in the finish, but the overall character makes it an excellent choice for touring and driving enjoyment. The exterior brightwork all presents in very good order, and the car wears proper chrome wheel covers and rides on period-correct wide whitewall Firestones.
The interior has been authentically restored using dark green mottled leather and beige Bedford cord inserts. The soft trim is restored to factory specs, finished to a high standard, and blends nicely with the well-preserved original brightwork and other interior fittings. Options include a Deluxe Comfort Master heater, factory radio, clock, Guide searchlight, and Fluid Drive transmission. It also features an attractive green/gray ‘salt & pepper’ canvas top piped in green leather that’s in excellent condition.
Beneath the long hood sits Chrysler’s Spitfire straight-eight engine. The L-head design was a holdout from the pre-war era, but its torque, refinement, and near bulletproof reliability made the T&C one of the finest driving luxury cars of the period. This car’s engine bay is tidy with authentic fittings like the oil bath air cleaner, Spitfire spark plug cover, and period-style hardware. While there’s room for further detailing effort, it is otherwise perfectly presentable for a tour and event car that’s going to be driven.
And driving is what the Town & Country does best. These cars are well built, comfortable, and effortless to drive for long distances. This example is in the ideal condition for entry into a wide range of tours and driving events, and since it is designated a Full Classic, that includes the popular CCCA CARavan tours. Desirably equipped and brimming with character, this is an appealing example of Chrysler’s iconic, genre-defining Town & Country woody.
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