1949 Chrysler Town & Country Convertible
Chassis no. 7410960
Engine no. C4627400
What did it mean to be affluent in Depression-era America? A weekend home a few hours away was not an uncommon blessing for the aristocratic. Station wagons in particular reflected a certain level of prestige for the select few, and the names of Buick's Estate Wagon and Chrysler's Town & Country reflected this lifestyle.
In Chrysler's case, the Town & Country was introduced in 1941 as a wagon in the Royal Six series. It used a steel top and body covered with white ash framing and mahogany veneer panels over metal doors. After the war effort, Chrysler promoted the 1946 Town & Country as a complete line of cars, eliminating the wagon but introducing a 4-door sedan, convertible, and 2-door sedan and hardtop variants (the latter two not going beyond prototype/pilot production). Only the convertible would survive Chrysler's first post-war redesign in 1949.
The 1949 Town & Country was quite possibly the sportiest car in the American auto industry at the time. Built on the C-46 series chassis the same as the 8-cyl. New Yorker and Saratoga the Town & Country continued to use ash trim but the body panels were now metal. However, woodies were falling out of favor in burgeoning post-war America, and the Town & Country's swan song would continue as a 2-door hardtop for 1950. The 1949 model, as offered here, ended up being the last wood-bodied convertible built in the U.S. and, with only 993 produced, a scarce one.
The Shaffner Collection's Town & Country is finished in Burma Tan with black hides and top. A very original car, the current odometer reading of 01,211 miles is likely from-new, but has once rolled over. While not currently running, the engine is reported to be free and the cylinders have all been properly oiled. A very complete vehicle, much of the wood is salvageable but some is likely beyond repair.
Among the rarest of the Town & Country Convertibles, the '49s were a small step toward all-steel construction that would become the norm, but still showing some natural bracing. Restored cars are growing in popularity, making this an excellent project to enjoy and complete.