• Chrysler’s famous “Spitfire” inline eight-cylinder engine
• Well-appointed with factory accessories
• Recently recognized as a Full Classic™ by the CCCA
• Very limited number of survivors
324 cid L-head inline eight-cylinder engine, 135 HP, Fluid Drive automatic transmission, front and rear coil springs with shock absorbers, hydraulic four-wheel drum brakes; wheelbase: 121.5"
Based on the success of the beautifully crafted “Barrel Back” Town & Country Station Wagon introduced in 1941 and carried over for the 1942 model year, Chrysler marketing had decided that an entire line of “station wagon” based cars should go into production for 1943. However, with civilian production halted due to the auto industry’s total devotion to the war effort, these plans were placed on the back burner. Other plans had included a rather extensive restyling of the exterior design, which would eventually find light at the end of hostilities in late 1945. During the war, there were restrictions against using resources for product development but, in off-duty hours, the future was being planned. At least five Town & Country models were on the drawing board, a roadster and sedan for the Windsor chassis, a sedan, “club coupe” hardtop and a handsome convertible for the New Yorker chassis. A handful of the New Yorker sedans were produced, a few more for the Windsor line, with the real star being the convertible. Each piece of white ash framing was elegantly hand crafted with the skills of master woodworkers and combined with rich mahogany “plymetal” panels that made these cars a standout on the showroom floor. Interiors used fine leathers with Bedford cloth inserts and lavish amounts of chrome throughout. The Official Pricing Administration placed price ceilings on new cars so, to get around these regulations and help build up their profits, dealers often installed a wide-range of extra-cost accessories, and Chrysler had a catalog full of such options from which to choose.
During its three-year run from 1946 to 1948, a total of just 8,368 Town & Country convertibles were produced. Due to the extra care needed to be taken by the owners, many of these beautiful cars deteriorated and were eventually scrapped. This example, which has had just three registered owners from new, was cherished and today has a rich and full history. It was treated to a no-expense-spared restoration performed over a three-year period by Matt Joseph, who handled the mechanicals, Vintage Woodworks’ Dennis Bickford, in charge of woodwork, paint, interior and replating, and Gene R. Wendt of Solid Gold Classics, who completed the car’s final assembly in 1991. Still looking fresh, it recently scored 987 points at the Glenmore Gathering and was recently exhibited at the 2014 Sunday in the Park Concours Invitational at Lime Rock Park and the 2015 Arthritis Foundation Classic Auto Show in Dublin, Ohio. Finished in Dove Gray, the seating surfaces have been covered in rich burgundy leather accompanied with tan Bedford cloth, a black folding top and a new set of Firestone Deluxe Champion whitewall tires, completing the picture. As was the practice of the day, a full assortment of extras were provided starting with the original dash-mounted AM radio, the heater/defroster, and a clock. Other extras include front and rear chrome bumper tips, fog lights, and dual cowl-mounted spotlights. With a simple push of the starter button that Spitfire-8 comes to life and purrs like a kitten, while the Fluid-Drive transmission slips through the gears with little effort and plenty of performance. This car also retains its original jack, books, manuals and parts catalogs. With the recent recognition of these custom-built vehicles by the Classic Car Club of America as a Full Classic, this example is not only a show stopper, but an excellent vehicle to tour and see the world with the top down.
1948 Chrysler Town & Country Convertible