1948 Chrysler Town & Country Convertible

Update 11/7/20 – The seller of this cool woodie convertible has lowered their asking price by $5k. Find it here on eBay.

From 10/16/20 – Finding a classic car that has belonged to the same family since new is not that unusual. However, finding one where this has been the case for 72-years is something quite special. That is the case with this 1948 Chrysler Town and Country Convertible. It has been sitting unused for more than a decade, but it now runs and drives. It will need a little bit of work, but there are no significant problems to address. It is located in Manchester, New Hampshire, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. The BIN has been set at $65,000, although the option is available to make an offer.

It’s quite hard to know where to start with this Chrysler. It isn’t perfect, but it is an exceptionally honest vehicle. The Catalina Tan paint is almost all original, although there has been a touch-up on the passenger side front fender. It shines beautifully, with no signs of any immediate or significant repaint needs. The panels are straight, and the gaps look tight. Rust does not appear to be an issue. The Chrysler has led a sheltered life and has always been garage-kept. The seller states that it is rust-free. The car features a power top, and this fits tightly and works as it should. The trim and chrome have some pitting, but it all remains presentable. A meticulous buyer may choose to send some pieces off to the platers, but this is not something that would be essential if the “original survivor” status is to be maintained.

This photo gives us a closer look at the chrome and helps us gain insight into the timberwork condition. This is predominantly White Ash, and its overall condition is astounding. Some of the lacquer is beginning to craze, and I suspect that it might need to be refinished in the future. Before I did anything, I would be consulting a reputable specialist. It may be possible to seal the existing finish to protect the timber, but without the expense of stripping and refinishing it. That would help to maintain the Chrysler’s originality. Thankfully there are no signs of rot or discoloring, suggesting that the Convertible has been parked in a pretty favorable environment.

The dashboard in the Town and Country is an object of Art Deco beauty. I could sit and stare at that for hours because there is nothing there not to like. Its condition is flawless, while the same is true of the wheel and minor controls. The seats show some wear and stains, and new covers might be required at some point in the future. The remaining trim and the carpet are in excellent condition for a vehicle of this age and would seem to need nothing.

This is as close as we get to a look at the engine in this classic, which is a shame. What resides under the hood is a 323ci straight-eight engine, producing 135hp. These horses find their way to the rear wheels via a 4-speed Fluid Drive semi-automatic transmission. The drivetrain is all original, and, interestingly, the seller doesn’t make any outrageous low-mileage claims for the Convertible. He openly admits that it had clocked more than 200,000 miles before it was parked 14-years-ago. It has been given a full service, and the fuel system has been cleaned. With that work completed, the straight-eight happily coughed into life once again. The car runs and drives, but it isn’t roadworthy. The brakes work, but they do pull to one side. The tires are also old and will need to be replaced before any serious driving is considered. However, it sounds like returning the Town and Country to a roadworthy state isn’t going to be complicated or expensive.

The seller quotes a potential six-figure value for this Chrysler Town and Country, which isn’t far off the mark. Good ones can easily sell for prices above $110,000, although $150,000 or more is not unheard of. This one is a rust-free and unmolested survivor with a known history. When you consider the potential value locked up in this classic, it must be worth a serious look.

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Comments

  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    Would the reverse half-moons been original to this car? Either way, they look good. It’s hard to go wrong with reverse half-moons.

    Like 2
    • William Fox

      The factory moons have the Chrysler script .The trim rings part of the pkg.

      Like 4
    • Barry Duncan

      Enlarging the photo shows them to be original hub caps with Chrysler script.

      Like 1
  2. CCFisher

    Hagerty values a 1948 Town and Country at $71,200 in #3 condition, and $166,000 in #1 condition. This is a screaming deal!

    Like 8
  3. Tom c

    This car is almost a rolling piece of art, but I just have to wonder how many people are looking for something like this .

    Like 10
  4. stephen arnott Member

    Looks a good deal!

    Like 5
  5. Stan Marks

    You don’t drive a car, like this. You make love to it. The body, including the wood paneling, is exceptional. The dash reminds me of an old Wurlitzer juke box.
    Whatever the new owner does, PLEASE, replace the tires with wide WWs.

    Like 13
  6. Joe Haska

    Ray L, I agree having a car in our family for almost 60 years I am with you on all counts. Especially with, I wish I could afford it, not my favorite saying ” But it is only original once”.

    Like 4
  7. the car dude

    Well guys I read your comments.. and if you think it’s such a great deal.. “buy it”.. don’t talk about it.. I restore and have rebuilt woodies and I have owned TC’s.. a few.. they are very very heavy cars and also very big.. this one was “used” for 200k miles by the original owner (that is awesome).. he obviously loved his car (as I have loved mine).. the price in my mind is fair but not the deal of the century by any stretch of the imagination.. the wood looks all original as the whole car.. meaning that you either drive as is or start dumping piles of money into her.. cause that wood just does not need a resurface .. lots needs to be replaced and your not talking a few hundred or a few thousand.. your talking deep deep pockets.. once you pay 65 plus the 70-100k for restoration your gonna be buried.. buy it drive it as is.. and fix stuff as it goes wrong cause based on reading the ad they just got it running “not sorted out”.. your buying a big ole “grab bag”.. and for $65k.. lots of other cars you could buy.. just pointing out the reality not the dream

    Like 15
    • Stan Marks

      Car Dude, you hit the nail on the head.
      As I was reading your comments, I was thinking the same thing. Drive it and enjoy it. It’s definitely a weekend cruiser. Keep it garaged.

      Like 5
      • Stan Marks

        BTW…. keep it out of bad weather. Rain and especially snow.

        Like 1
      • Carnut

        Yes.. these are Beautiful pieces of Americana.. the metal with the Wood evokes a time and age that no longer exists in America. I have owned a Ford Sportsman and for the money I would suggest finding a Sportsman, as they drive better and are smaller (TC’s are huge).. For the dough find a 48 Chevy Country Club a Conv. if possible you can’t go wrong they are rare and so much easier to own then a all wood car (they just have wood fascia).. I have owned all of them and the Chevy’s are cheapest and grab just as much attention as the Concourse Sportsman. Deal of the day for the smart consumer.

    • Stan Marks

      Now that the price was lowered $5K, to $60K, will that make a difference?

  8. Maestro1 Member

    It’s absolutely a buy, something to drive infrequently and cherish, give it what it needs, and finally someone who is not irrational about price. if I had room I would jump on it even though I am across the country.

    Like 5
  9. Larry

    Is my vision failing on me or did they wait till almost dark to take these pics? A $65k car with pics taken with a $10 camera.

    Like 3
  10. John Member

    Are nice cars, the seat are your house couch height and very comfortable.
    A n’ Uncle had a New Yorker 4 dr, long huge hood, car rode like a dream.
    It hit 70,000 and the engine lost compression, needed a ring job (overhaul)
    but I think my Uncle was a drive and park guy, never washed it. But know they had it services, great vehicle.

    Like 3
  11. James A. Mogey

    I co-owned a dark blue one of these back in the early 60’s. A wonderful ride with a great radio! We got sandwiched once at low speed on the Denver Boulder turnpike and the cars in front and back err both quite damaged but those big bumper over riders saved us from any damage. They are expensive to own unless you have a climate controlled garage. If it sleeps outside, you have to strip all that wood down and refinish it every two years. Even the insert panels are molded wood panels. It’s quite a labor intensive job.

    Like 4
  12. C

    Apparently commenters have not been watching auction results lately! ALL Woodies including the T&Cs hVe dropped over 59%! A freshly restored convertible sold recently for $70k! With over 200,000 miles this roll need an engine rebuild likely $10k when everything us done.In the current market $65 is all the money
    That’s why it’s not sold yet!

    Like 2
    • Phlathead Phil

      Truth indeed. This car is undoubtably beautiful.

      However, being what it is, and the fact of guys who know how to work on it are dying off, where do you think the price will go next?

      Yep, lower IMHO.

      Few millennials want cars like this. Because it’s not electric, and it needs TONS of costly maintenance.

      My biggest fear is we’ll all be back to buying gas in 1 gallon cans at the local hardware store before this crazy electric idea is over.

      This is a sad reality of our hobby.

      Like 3
      • Phlathead Phil

        Well, looks like I was correct. The price went LOWER. Still a beautiful auto!!

  13. George

    Beautiful, just beyond words. These have electric wipers and dual fresh air heaters, that you can see in that interior picture. The air came in that pop up cowl air vent.

    I had many forties Plymouths and we would go to junkyards and get those Chrysler heaters and wiper motors to update ours.

    Mopar straight eights were rather rare where I grew up (Alberta), always waited to hear one with a split manifold….never did.

    Like 5
  14. Mountainwoodie

    Well, sorry to hear Woodies have dropped 59%. I guess I’ll have to be buried in mine then. Auctions………pfooie….fat guys with non working parts buying overpriced mechanical substitutes. ! 100 K 21 window VW Busses anyone?
    Okay, I feel better now. I’ve owned my ’47 Ford, somewhat pedestrian I know, for almost 30 years. It can be a pita to drive but when I go out and sit in the car and stare at the dash or the wood framing in the ceiling, all is right with the world. It’s a privilege to own it and maintain it. Its not perfect and unless I can take it with me, someone else some day will own it. But I did my part to maintain what I consider to be a work of art. A reminder of a time gone by. A connection to a different time altogether.

    Like 18
    • Stan Marks

      There are things you can’t put a $ amount on. That’s not important
      It’s part of your world, for you to enjoy. That’s all that counts.

      Like 4
    • Stan Marks

      Well, this car has dropped $5K. Will that make a difference?

  15. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Absolutely right, Stan Marks. Buying a bike, car, truck or whatever you appreciate can funnel your daily frustrations as you bring it back to life. Too, it’s a damn sight cheaper than paying a shrink-and imminently more satisfying in the long run since it’s a tangible point of focus.

    Like 4
  16. William

    Beautiful car, but the people who lusted after this when they were young are dead. Many of us want this, but how much are we willing to pay for it? Time to start lowering your expectations as a seller.

    Like 2
    • Stan Marks

      Wait a cotton pickin’ minute, Bill. I’m still alive. Of course, in ’48, I was 4 years old… LOL!

      Like 3
      • Franklin Shap

        Me too, 1944 vintage. My father had a dark blue 48 T&C Concertibe woodie, fond memories of Sunday drives, top down, at age 5. Still a car nut today!

        Like 1
      • Stan Marks

        Hey Franklin,

        Remember those Sunday drives, on 2 lane roads. when we were so small, we couldn’t see over the side window?
        I would look out & watch the top of power lines, dip from one pole to another.

        Like 1
  17. canadainmarkseh Member

    Very classy car the only thing that needs changing is the top from black to a medium brown. Awesome.

  18. RNR

    My wife’s aunt and uncle drove one of these to another family member’s junkyard in the 60’s – before something is old and valuable, it’s old and worthless…..

    This is a great car to enjoy just as it presents now.

    Like 1
  19. Kenn

    Why, the car dude, do you think the wood needs replacing? I see nothing to indicate that. And I’m not even sure why there is discussion on this site of stripping it to refinish. Our ’48 Ford Sportsman was simply sanded each spring and fall and a coat of varnish put on it. Looked as good when we finally sold it as the day we bought it.

    • Carnut

      just a ole mans opinion. I have built a few and the pic enlarged of the trunk sure looks bad but if you want buy it and put a sand on it every spring and fall and some varnish and enjoy. It’s all good

      • Stan Marks

        Hey Mr. Nut,

        After a much closer look, at this beauty, it appears what I see, is a reflection of the gray sky, on the deck lid.
        I can appreciate where you’re coming from. IMHO, this wood has lasted 72 years, in this condition. I figure this baby can last many more years, provided it’s kept in the garage & cruise during nice weather, on the weekends. That’s what I wood do.

    • Stan Marks

      Kenn, What’s the old saying, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

      • Carnut

        I will say this.. T/C is a beautiful car and I think they should be selling for more then old Ferrari’s… unfortunately they are not.. that is why I have two old Ferrari’s in my garage right now.. working on a TC or a Sportsman for that matter yields little or no profit.. but I agree they are “SPECTACULAR”…

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