Chrysler may not have been the first American car company to employ structural woodwork as a design feature, but they are indeed responsible for elevating timber into a glamorous status symbol. The earliest wooden car bodies were born of necessity, with essential form-after-function bodies sold as aftermarket accessories for the Model T and others. As wood station wagon bodies became factory offerings, style points began to shape the woodwork, and by the mid-1930s, most American manufacturers offered factory-built people movers with handsome wood coachwork. But Chrysler’s Town & Country of 1941 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. Chrysler contracted with (and later acquired) Pekin Wood Products of Helena, Arkansas, to build the wood sections, which were then shipped to Detroit for hand fitting and final assembly. The T&C was costly to produce, expensive to buy, and required specialized maintenance, but it was successful enough to encourage other manufacturers to jump on the luxury woody bandwagon. However, few could match Chrysler’s stature and the sheer sense of occasion when in the presence of one of these magnificent machines. The early post-war versions of the Town & Country are among the most desirable and collectible of this long-running series. They combine the high-end quality and luxury of the pre-war models with easy drivability and superb ride quality. They also enjoy official Full Classic® designation by the Classic Car Club of America, allowing entry into a wide range of tours and competitive concours events.
With a superb, highly detailed restoration, this 1947 Town & Country Convertible is one of the finest available today. It is one of an estimated 100 survivors from approximately 3,300 produced and is finished in its original, special-order color of Sumac Red with a black top. Photos from the restoration, completed in 2014, show the car was complete and well-preserved at the start of the project. The restorers removed the body from the chassis, replacing wood only where necessary and painstakingly rebuilding the car from a bare frame. Throughout the process, great attention was paid to authenticity and quality. The result is an award-winning car with a veritable trunk load of trophies and special awards from major concours events across the country.
Looking resplendent in Sumac Red, this Chrysler exudes class. The paint and body are finished to a very high standard, and the extensive chrome and brightwork are suberbly restored. Fittings and accessories include the correct full wheel covers, dual searchlights, and dual exterior mirrors. The woodwork is exquisite, with a deep gloss and finish quality akin to the finest wooden speed boats. Opulent cabin appointments include rich dark red leather, beige Bedford Cord inserts, wool carpeting, and plentiful chrome trim. This car also features a factory radio, heater, and power-operated canvas top.
These big Chryslers are renowned for their exceptional comfort and drivability; this example is no exception. The original 323.5 cubic-inch L-head inline-eight is torquey and refined, while the fluid-drive transmission delivers power with smooth, effortless action. The engine compartment is fully detailed to concours standards with period-correct labels, fittings, and finishes, including the underside of the hood – which is properly painted gray.
The most recent owners took great pride in showing this Town & Country at concours events around the US. They amassed an impressive number of trophies, including Best in Class at the 2015 Boca Raton Concours, 2016 Keels and Wheels Best in Class, 2016 Santa Fe Conours President’s Award, Winter Park Concours Chairman’s Award, 2017 Cincinnati Concours People’s Choice Award, among many others. Thanks to meticulous care, it remains a gorgeous car, ideal for concours display or wafting along to your country estate.
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Stock number 7438
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