The advent of structural woodwork as an automobile styling feature may not have originated with Chrysler, but in the early 1940s, the company’s 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-1930s, 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.
Charming and remarkably well-preserved, this 1948 Town & Country sedan is a lovely example of this uniquely American motorcar. It is one of just 4,049 T&C sedans produced in 1948, and it is finished in the attractive period-correct shade of Dove Gray over an oxblood leather and taupe Bedford cord interior. Little is known of the early history, though it wears Kentucky inspection stickers from the early 50s, providing some insight into its origins. It is offered here in highly original condition, having had a sympathetic cosmetic refurbishment and respray in the 1980s, and has been lovingly maintained in the time since, and now displays a light and pleasing patina. The bright exterior trim appears mostly original but in good order overall, with some light fading and minor pitting evident on close inspection. The woodwork is excellent all around, exhibiting good fitment of the doors and very good finish quality to the framework and contrasting mahogany panels. Accessories include dual searchlights, dual swan-neck mirrors, and a marvelous period-correct wood roof rack.
The richly textured oxblood leather trim is in wonderful condition, and it maintains an inviting character earned through many years of attentive care. Likewise, the tan Bedford cord seat inserts are tidy, though there are some areas where the stitching has come loose over time. Equipment includes a clock, pushbutton radio, and Comfort Master heater, and the instrument panel is beautifully adorned with lots of chrome and burgundy painted trim. The carpets have been freshened recently and are in excellent order, including the trunk that houses the correct jack and spare wheel.
Chrysler’s venerable L-head “Spitfire” inline-six provides ample, smooth power delivery through a fluid-drive semi-automatic gearbox. These engines are renowned for their durability, as well as their abundant torque. The engine compartment of this car is tidy and authentically detailed, appearing well-maintained with an honest patina from use. Original assembly markings and stickers are still intact on the firewall, showing the car has never been fully restored.
As a 1948 model, this Town & Country has the added benefit of being an approved Full Classic® with the Classic Car Club of America and is an ideal selection for use on their popular CARavan touring events. The iconic design and robust underpinnings make it an enduring collectible, and this excellent example brings abundant character in its honest, authentic presentation.
Offers welcome and trades considered