The Chrysler Town and Country is perhaps the best-known of all woodies. With a limited production run and a top-of-the-line reputation, their recent addition to the CCCA’s list of Full Classics has made them some of the most sought-after post-war convertibles. Only 8,368 were built between 1946 and 1948, making them quite rare, and the wood bodies have only served to further reduce their numbers, with some sources suggesting that fewer than 200 1948 models still exist.
This lovely 1948 Town and Country was restored to show-winning standards with a frame-off restoration in 2007 and 2008. Still presenting in outstanding condition throughout, with beautiful original wood, an unmarked interior and 100% of its equipment fully functional, it is a wonderful candidate for shows and touring.
Finished in Polo Green, it perfectly complements the white ash and mahogany wood panels. The solid wood has been restored with ten coats of varnish, and the panels fit perfectly, suggesting that it has been meticulously maintained to preserve the already-excellent, hand-built woodwork. Today there are few signs of age, and the joints remain tight, the doors and trunk fit beautifully and the varnish offers a gentle shine that looks exactly right.
Everything forward of the windshield is identical to a Chrysler New Yorker, and the long hood and fenders have been expertly refinished. Paint quality is excellent throughout with no damage or noteworthy scars, and of course there is no rust or filler anywhere on the car. All the chrome was restored to show standards, including the intricate egg crate grille up front, which is one of the more challenging pieces of any era. Correct Town & Country emblems have been fitted to the hood, and the Chrysler hood ornament still shows crisp details. Other items, such as the massive trunk hinges that look like they belong on a yacht, as well as the standard New Yorker taillights fitted to their own wooden pods, are superbly finished and dress the car up like jewelry.
The Town and Country was all about sophistication, and the combination matching green leather and Bedford Cord interior ideally suits the sporty woody. Showing only light wear, the interior is an inviting place to spend a week touring the countryside in 1940s luxury. Matching green carpets are bound by green leather, and the door panels are like new. That gorgeous green steering wheel is an unusual treat, since most cars of the period used a standard cream color.
All the gauges have been restored and work as they should, and the radio plays loud and clear. Other noteworthy details include dual heaters under the dash, courtesy lights (including the driver’s side that flashes to remind you to release the parking brake), and a windshield washer system. There are also twin spotlights, fog lamps and a working clock. Overhead, the green power top folds effortlessly into the well, where it is hidden by a matching green vinyl boot, and the fully finished trunk remains in excellent shape.
Chrysler’s dependable, smooth, and powerful Spitfire straight-eight engine powered all New Yorkers, including the Town and Country. Displacing 323 cubic inches, it makes a robust 135 horsepower, and its smooth flow of torque moves the sporty convertible with aplomb.
Fully detailed at the time of restoration, there is, of course, evidence that it has been driven, but it still presents well. It starts quickly, idles properly and drives as it should, with easy 70 mph cruising possible, thanks to the two-range Fluid Drive transmission and 3.54 gear set out back. With crisp shifts and a fluid coupling that eliminates the need for the clutch in routine driving, Fluid Drive was a reliable, durable system that served Chrysler well for many years and, once you’ve familiarized yourself with its operation, becomes second nature. Braking is firm, there are zero squeaks and rattles, and those lovely 8.25-15 wide whites are simply dazzling around the full hubcaps and wide trim rings.
Prices have risen on high-quality Town and Country convertibles following the CCCA announcement, and these cars rightly deserve their place on the Full Classic roster. With impressive power and performance and that timeless wooden body, they are exactly the kind of hand-crafted rolling works of art the CCCA was founded to celebrate.
This beauty is an ideal tour candidate that is fully serviced and ready to glide on to the show field once again. If you’ve been looking for a Town and Country, it would be a challenge to find one nicer than this. Don’t believe us? This lovely woodie was used as a poster model for the largest auto show in the world, the Hershey AACA National Fall Meet.