The Auburn Auction

Lot 39
1948 Chrysler Town & Country Convertible

Selling on Saturday Evening

1948 Chrysler  Town & Country Convertible

CHASSIS NO: 7406977

• Excellent original wood
• CCCA Full Classic®
• Eight-cylinder engine, ideal for touring
• Iconic factory wood-bodied convertible

Model C-39. 323.5 cid L-head eight-cylinder engine, 135 HP, Fluid Drive semi-automatic transmission, independent coil spring front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes; wheelbase: 127.5”

The Town & Country name was first used by Chrysler in 1941. That car was a wood-bodied, barrel-back sedan in the six-cylinder Royal line. The barrel-back sedan had a fastback profile with twin hinged “clam-shell doors” at the rear. Chrysler marketed the Town & Country as a luxury car. The well-appointed Chrysler was quite different than most wood-bodied utility vehicles of the era. The new Town & Country Car, as the company initially called it, had lavishly varnished wood inside and quality upholstery. Chrysler Corporation General Manager David Wallace believed that an upscale production-based automobile would attract wealthy buyers to Chrysler showrooms. He desired a sophisticated automobile, one elegant enough for city and chauffeur driving, yet sufficiently utilitarian for country living. Wallace envisioned a wood-bodied car with the same basic lines as contemporary Chrysler steel-bodied sedans, yet with greater refinement, quality, and panache. The cars were constructed in the manner of pre-war station wagons, using structural wood of white ash with contrasting panels of rich Honduran mahogany. The wooden parts were supplied by Pekin Wood Products of Helena, Arkansas, and were shipped to Chrysler’s Jefferson Street Plant in Detroit for final assembly. The roof, however, was solid steel. Nearly 2,000 were built, in 1941 and into the short 1942 model year.

Public response was such that an expanded range of five body styles was planned for 1946, but in the end, only a conventional trunk-back sedan and an eight-cylinder convertible coupe were built. Just 100 long-wheelbase eight-cylinder sedans were made, the rest being six-cylinder cars on the shorter Windsor wheelbase. Built on the New Yorker’s 127.5-inch wheelbase, the convertible was longer than the sedan. It also had all the New Yorker standard equipment: five-main-bearing 135 brake horsepower straight-eight engine, Fluid Drive transmission, and an electric clock. Annual production totals were not recorded, but for the 1946 through 1948 model years, 8,368 New Yorker Town & Country convertibles were built. The new-design second-series 1949 line dropped the Town & Country sedan, and for 1950 the model retreated to an eight-cylinder hardtop coupe with painted metal insert panels. Thereafter, the name “Town & Country” adorned a long succession of Chrysler steel-bodied station wagons and minivans.

This classic Chrysler has been carefully maintained as part of a collection of fine cars for many years. Kept in excellent running order, it presents well. This Town & Country’s appearance is particularly old-world and charming because it retains all its original woodwork. The body has never been apart, just meticulously maintained through the years. In addition to the Fluid-Drive transmission and dashboard clock, it is equipped with a radio, heater-defroster, dual cowl-mounted side mirrors, dual side-mounted spotlights, factory wheel covers, wide whitewall tires, and center bumper guard. The elegant interior features correct and comfortable Bedford Cord and leather upholstery. It also has a recently recovered, tan canvas top power-operated convertible top and boot cover. Recognized by the Classic Car Club of America as a Full Classic®, this delightful wood-bodied convertible is ideally suited for touring and club events and would make a superb addition to any collection of wood bodied cars.

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