Saint Louis, MO
The idea of turning the structural aspect of wood as a styling feature may not have originated with Chrysler but it can be argued that they certainly perfected it. The earliest woodies were born of necessity with basic utilitarian bodies that were sold in the aftermarket to adapt cars like the Model T for commercial duty. Eventually the structural and functional wood became a point of style and by the mid-1930 s most American manufacturers began to offer well-equipped station wagons with stylish wood bodies. It was Chryslers 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 windshield 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 own versions of the luxury woody. However few could match Chrysler s commercial success or the sheer sense of occasion when in the presence of one of these magnificent machines.This 1948 Town & Country convertible has been in the care of just three families since new. It was originally purchased in Sacramento California by Charles L. and Betty Miller delivered new in Catalina Tan (Code 9 on the trim tag); a very rare and attractive springtime promotional color that was reserved only for California dealers. Mr. Miller drove the car very little yet took meticulous care of it. In the late-1950s the couple moved to Arlington Virginia and in April of 1957 they hired someone to drive the Chrysler from California for them. The original emergency transit permit (a temporary registration of sorts) still accompanies the car. Once in Arlington the car saw even less use as the elderly man was not allowed to drive it on the road. He still cared for it meticulously never left the car out overnight and only pulled it out of his garage on occasion to carefully wipe it down with a damp chamois never using a hose and bucket to wash the car as he was afraid of damaging the wood.The second owner grew up in Arlington and was alerted by a friend who had spotted the Chrysler in the Miller s driveway. Word soon came from a family member that Mr. Miller would sell the car if it went to a good home. The 2nd owner s father purchased the car in or around 1960 and it remained in their family until 2015. For all those years it was treated the same way Mr. Miller cared for it never washing it with a hose always carefully wiping it down and never leaving it out overnight. In fact we are told it only spent one full night outside in all the time the second family had it when it was used for a family trip to the Indy 500.Today the Town & Country presents in very good unrestored condition. It remains exceptionally original save for one repaint in the correct color a replacement Haartz canvas top and some light detailing. It is otherwise an incredibly well-preserved straight and honest example with outstanding wood and a clean tidy underbody. The respray is of average quality and some sanding marks are visible in the bodywork; however the paint has an appropriate luster that is in keeping with the car s unrestored nature. The chrome is a mix of original pieces and some average-quality replated pieces again appearing consistent with what is a largely unrestored car. Importantly the wood is excellent and appears to be original. The doors and trunk fit well and the varnish is even and appears very well-maintained. The Town & Country was a top-line luxury car and Chrysler used the finest leather and Bedford cord upholstery. This car s deep maroon leather/taupe Bedford Cord trim presents very well with an appropriate patina from regular use. There is a tear in the front seat though it remains serviceable and would best be treated with some careful preservation work. Otherwise the upholstery on the rear seat and door cards is in fine original condition. Similarly the convertible top is sound and in good condition though there is some staining visible in the canvas. As this was a range-topping car it is well equipped with a factory clock radio heater and spot lamp. The original spare wheel jack and a reproduction workshop manual will be included.Chrysler fitted the T&C Convertibles with their legendary 323 cubic-inch Spitfire 8-cylinder. This flathead engine was magnificently smooth particularly when mated to the fluid-drive transmission giving these big cars outstanding cruising ability. This example runs very well with the typical effortless nature that defines a well-sorted T&C. The engine compartment shows signs of regular maintenance and appears tidy mostly correct and very well-presented. It is wonderfully original and has not been restored because it has never needed it. Similarly the undercarriage is exceptionally clean revealing the 70 years of care this car has enjoyed.The 1941-1948 Town & Country enjoys CCCA Full Classic status making it eligible for their outstanding CARavan tours and events. This beautiful original car would also be well suited for AACA events or simply for casual cruising around town. With a wonderful history in the hands of only three careful owners this unrestored Town & Country will surely reward its next keeper.