Big. Old. Wagon. 1970 Chrysler Town & Country

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Lots of us BF readers grew up during the time when big station wagons were everywhere. Big comfortable cars like this 1970 Chrysler Town & Country were aspirational for many families. At a time when a gallon of regular gas cost $0.36, it didn’t really matter if your family wagon could only manage 11 mpg (or less).

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It’s pretty easy to get romantic about the joys of the open road. When this car was new, most family vacations were taken in cars, not airplanes, so having a lot of space for kids and luggage made sense. And it was a pleasure for the entire family to go fast on the relatively new interstate road system, getting to our vacation destinations at high speed with the windows open, and the kids fighting or playing in the “way back” or the “far back” as some families called it, maybe with the family dog back there too.

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This big old Chrysler wagon is for sale on Craigslist in Wappingers Falls, New York (on the Hudson River near Poughkeepsie). It is said to be “all original” and really does look pretty solid, showing a believable 80,000 miles on the odometer. It looks like some trim is missing from the rear though, and the fake wood has faded over the years.

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It’s a nine passenger model, so there’s room for most large families.

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This Chrysler is part of an estate sale and appears to have been stored, though it appears to have some mildew showing on the dash, so a buyer might worry about how much work this car will take to clean up. The front seat is apparently in need of some repair as well.

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The engine compartment looks relatively clean, though the radiator may have had some issues in the past. The seller does not say much about its driveability or the condition of the car’s mechanical systems, but does say that its last New York State inspection was in 2014, so perhaps it’s been off the road only since then.

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This T&C is pretty well equipped with air conditioning and the rear window washer feature. The seller also says this car was special ordered with power windows, and perhaps more unusually, that its 383 cid engine comes with a four barrel carburetor and 440 heads. Someone more knowledgeable about these Chryslers will have to weigh in on this particular seller claim. Was it really possible to order 440 heads on the standard 383 engine? The 440 engine was an option, so is it possible this car is actually equipped with that engine?

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That’s a pretty cool hood ornament!

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Overall, the body looks amazingly solid for being 46 years old and driven in the northeast. Based on this photo, I am guessing that it’s had some body work in the past and any buyer will be wondering about the floors and frame. But maybe this old Chrysler is more solid than most – at least one can hope. The asking price is $5900, which is not unreasonable, if this car does not need too much body work. I found a listing for this car on Hemmings.com which indicates the seller is a dealer of some kind. He’s looking for reasonable offers. Anyone here interested in a top of the line family cruiser to remind you of the good old days?

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Comments

  1. Royal Ricci

    This car is literally fifteen minutes away from where I live. I have looked at it and it does have a lot of character but needs a ton of work. You should see all the other cars that are sitting in the parking lot with it, mostly old Cadillac’s.

    Willing to act as intermediary

  2. John H

    I spent a lot of time driving and working on land barges like this. My parents had a ’69 and I was working at a Dodge dealership in the early ’70s, so I saw my fair share.

    Never saw another one with a hood ornament like that, though!

    • Royal

      I believe this wagon to be out of Texas hence its decent shape and it’s hood ornament.

  3. Rocko

    Yes these behemoths were available with the 383 Magnum 335 hp 425 ft lbs. Top speed 121 mph . Asking a lot of money for a wagon without a trailer hitch.

  4. S Ryan

    A Hero car from my youth.
    Trust me with the 440 top speed was well north of 120mph. Took a county to get there and 2 to stop it , but what a Blast.

  5. RicK

    Back in ’79 I had a 72 T & C wagon w/ the 440, nice comfortable driver, anyhow got 8 mpg, this was when gas cost around $1.40 a gal (roughly $5/gal in today’s dollars), anyhow could not afford to drive it, ended up selling it for $100, that’s all it was worth, and it was a decent car..

  6. John

    All 383’s used the 440 heads, and one or two other 440 parts if I remember. I love these giant land yachts

    • M B

      Past the 1967 model year, the 383 used the same heads as the 440s, when they added the 1.74″ exhaust valves into the mix, from the earlier “normal” 1.60″ exhaust valves, AND the “open chamber” combustion chambers.

      The normal 383 4bbl was still 330 horsepower, but the Code “N” 383 was the 335 horsepower motor BUT with dual exhausts (which only ONE model year of this body series of wagon had (1969, I believe, with the 440 HO motor).

      Interesting that the woodgrain seems better in some areas than others! These were great wagons, period!

      • Steven S

        Yeah, I always laugh when I see “383 with 440 heads.” No one ever boasts that their 440 has 383 heads! But they do, after ’67.

  7. Bingo

    Brady bunch? Florence Henderson? Need I say more? RIP

    Like 1
    • Howard A Member

      Hi Bingo, close, I believe they had a Plymouth. I too was saddened to hear of Florence Henderson’s passing. My daughter used to live very close to where they filmed that show, in N. Hollywood, I think. http://pics.imcdb.org/5217/brady17a1474.jpg

  8. CapNemo

    I’ve got a soft spot for old wagons!

  9. Rich Truesdell

    I love when people say that gas was so cheap in the pre-OPEC Oil Embargo days. Thirty-six cents per gallon, adjusted for 46 years of inflation, would be $2.35 today. I just checked with the AAA national average and today the same gallon of gas would cost you $2.26 so a gallon of gasoline is cheaper today than it was in 1970.

    A loaf of bread in 1970 also cost thirty-six cents and unless you’re buying bread at the 99 Cent Only store, a load of bread today is between $2.50 and $3.00 a loaf.

    And that Chrysler Town and Country station wagon, it would have set my parents back about $6,000. It’s price today, adjusted for inflation? About $40,000. What would $40,000 buy you today in a new car?

    • Larry K

      True but my wages haven’t inflated much.

  10. ccrvtt

    All sorts of cars that go for $40K new can be had for $15K after a few years, that’s the beauty of used cars. Which is why I waste so much time on Cargurus and Autotrader. But back to the T & C at hand: Can’t go for the goofy chrome horns (way undersized), but the grab handles on the sides of the rear window are beyond cool. I’d forgotten how elegant cars from this era could be, especially Chryslers. Good find.

  11. Keith C.

    The seller says, “It has been clocked at 140 MPH on a 1/4 mile run!” Um, no. 140 MPH in the quarter is in the 9-second range, so I call BS on that. And EVERY ’66-up Chrysler I’ve seen with a dual-snorkel air cleaner has been a 440 TNT (AKA “440 Magnum” in a Dodge, and “440 Super Commando” in a Plymouth), which was a regular production option.

    • Jeffro

      This is the rare R/T, SE, GT, M.O.U.S.E. model. It pumped out like 1000hp. And the horns helped with the aerodynamics. So yes, this is a 9 second car. Oh, is anyone interested in buying a bridge?

  12. Coronet Kevin

    Back in 1976 my mother was driving a 1970 T&C wagon nearly identical to this (same color, even, but a 440) home one night and got t-boned by a drunk driver in a Ford LTD. The impact pushed the front passenger side door as far in as the middle of the car, which was of particular interest to me because I was a 4 year old sitting in the front seat. I ended up sitting on my mother’s lap with a cut over my upper lip where a piece of glass embedded itself. I had no other injuries, and my mother was fine other than a strained neck. The driver of the LTD was crushed by the steering wheel and dash, dead on the scene.
    Not surprisingly, the car was totaled, but my father bought it back from the insurance company and had it fixed at the Chrysler dealership where he was working at the time. I’m told that it took about a month to straighten the frame and make all the necessary repairs, but my dad always said that it was worth saving the car since it saved his wife and son. They kept it for another 9 years after that until my mother sold it without consulting my father, something she still hears about today.

    Like 2
  13. Howard A Member

    These were such nice cars. Family movers, cargo haulers, building contractors, painters you name it. Sadly, and we’re dancing around the obvious here, and I’m surprised this car hasn’t succumbed to this yet, but few people today are going to buy a car that gets 10 mpg, except for this activity. Since Imperials are outlawed, these are the cars of choice. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFyYEI1Lu8o
    WOOO-HOOO!!!

    • John

      I have a1970 t code 440ci.40680 org miles.beautiful wagon.im in Melbourne Australia.

      Like 1
  14. Jay E. Member

    Wow, this brings back memories of riding in the back headed up I-50 to Tahoe with a boat in tow. The big 440 Magnum opened up, pulling the load up the Sierra grades and exhaust music bellowing out the dual pipes. Man, that car could haul!!! But you couldn’t pass a gas station. A good reliable car and great representative of the 1970’s.

  15. Rich Truesdell

    Did you know that John Lennon and Yoko Ono once owned a very similar 1972 Chrysler Town and Country station wagon?

    Check out the 6×9 speakers that Lennon had installed, quite cutting edge for the 1970s.

    I photographed the car over my 2011 sojourn to NJ for the holidays before it sold for $5,500 at a no reserve estate auction. Could you have imagined what an auction house like Bonhams, Gooding or RM Sotheby’s would have done with this car?

    Being a big-time Beatles fan I’d rather have the Lennon Town and Country over this car in a heartbeat. Can you imagine the stories it could tell?

    http://automotivetraveler.com/magazine/viewer.php?path=2010/12/John_and_Yoko_1972_Chrysler_Wagon&page=1

  16. Krash

    Seller asking $5900….

    …..exactly what it will cost the new owner at the pump each month as a daily driver….

    • Larry K

      Double that in Canada.

  17. Bruce Best

    My parents had one like this in bright yellow with the wood grain on the side. What we did not know is that it was in effect a high performance Missouri Highway Patrol car that belongs to one of the senior captions and it was for his wife. The black interior and tinted windows worked perfectly on that car and that air spoiler/ scoop worked perfectly.

    I only got to drive it a couple of times but my god was it fast. I never knew what engine was in it but I am certain if it was not one of the fastest cars in my town it was up in the top ten. Even with the Highway patrol package it was very comfortable to drive but my mother has a lead food and my dad when thru 5 different throttle springs to keep her from getting a ticket. Even that failed twice.

    These are huge on the inside. If you have to live in your car live in one of these. You just about have room to sublet a space for another family. Power everything, smooth to drive, there really is nothing like them in todays market. This is one worth saving for the right family. It will always be in style and there is a certain elegance to the design if you look. These years where one of the high points of Chrysler design and so many of the baby boomers and their children don’t spend the time looking at these sedans and station wagons thinking they are not kool enough. I think they are wrong especially having driven the one I got to drive.

    Sadly a school bus, an icy parking lot and bad timing removed this car from the road forever. Sad. IF I had the funds right now that one work and all would be mine. Now where to get all the rest of the cop stuff to go underneath. He He He He He.

    • M B

      The “Heavy Duty Trailering Package” had much of the same mechanicals that the sedan police package had, other than the police-specific stuff like a certified speedometer and police wiring harnesses. All of the added oil coolers and such.

      The fuselage styling was great, but there were some issues with build quality and a/c case leaks (many times, unknown as they happened under the rh frt floor mat, usually rubber. Mold did happen. MUCH of the build quality issues could be taken care of in several hours with a wrench and socket set!

      Chrysler debuted the fuselage styling and greater interior room in 1969. Look at what GM did with their big cars in 1971! Those GM cars were the reason that 3M invented “alumalead” to fix the rear window rot on the GM cars’ back windows.

  18. jtnc

    My dad traded a ’65 Impala wagon for a ’69 T&C nearly identical to this, though his was a 440. I had been driving about 2 years at the time. The “fuselage design” was both elegant and futuristic — a gorgeous wagon. But the ownership experience didn’t live up to the looks. The 440 got, as he used to say, “9 gallons per mile” (of course, 9mpg, a little better on the highway). Not as powerful as you might expect, lots of torque but pulling lots of weight. The seats were neither especially luxurious nor comfortable for an expensive car. The build quality was terrible, cheap and poorly fitted interior trim and hardware in particular. It leaked in rain to the point where mushrooms would grow in the plush, moist carpets during rainy periods. It was traded for a “midsize” 73 Buick Century wagon which as not much better! I could not say the T&C was a great car, but I still have good memories of itt.

  19. charlie Member

    A “homeless” woman lived in one in the parking lot of my office (she drove in at night after most of us were gone) from May to Xmas in l980 when it finally got too cold and she went home to her aged parents. She had it outfitted pretty well, lots of quilts, used restaurant bathrooms, think she went to parents to shower, had a day job but didn’t make enough to rent an apartment. Was not causing us any grief so we ignored it. Almost as big as a tiny house!

  20. Eric

    Where I can find a store to buy body, interior and engine parts? I am refurbishing one T&C and I just can’t find them. If you could please help me!!!

    Regards;
    Eric

    Like 2

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