Faded Glory: 1947 Chrysler Town and Country Sedan

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When I look at these photographs, it makes me a bit sad because I can imagine what this beauty looked like sparkling new. But the photos also intrigue me and creep me out a little bit as well. I’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of old cars left outside to the elements to slowly rust away, but never a rare steel-and-wood Chrysler Town and Country. This is when you wished that some of that rust, peeling bumper chrome, and in this case, rotting ash and mahogany wood, could actually talk. What’s the story behind this once-magnificent flagship Chrysler? And how in the world did it wind up here? Located in the Township of Brick, NJ, this rare – but too far gone – 1947 Chrysler Town and Country Sedan is being offered as a parts car here on Facebook Marketplace. The seller, Daniel, is “accepting offers.” A special thanks to Paul in MA for sending this tip our way.

The seller is very light on details in the “About This Vehicle” section, but states the Chrysler has been driven 50,000 miles, has an automatic transmission, and has the trim as well as the motor and transmission and a clean title. No photos of the interior or engine compartment are included. On the plus side, it hasn’t been stripped or had all the glass busted out with a baseball bat, and I imagine that green can of Raid bug spray on the front fender comes in the deal.

Originally painted in Catalina Tan (which really contrasted that gorgeous ash and mahogany wood when new), the Town and Country Sedan was a modified Windsor 4-door sedan with wooden doors and a clamshell-type tailgate in place of a traditional steel trunk lid. It was positioned as an “estate car” and was truly unique, but was also truly impractical. The amount of time and labor it took to build one of these steel-and-wood sculptures boggles the mind. I read where only 10 per day could roll off the assembly line. I also read where owners were encouraged to clean and varnish the exterior’s ash and mahogany every six months or bring it to a dealer’s service department who would perform the “wood preservation” task.

Town and Country’s were also unique in this aspect: the 4-door sedans are rarer than the 2-door convertibles. Total Chrysler production was about 120,000 units in 1947. 5,787 of those were Town & Country’s and of those, 2,651 were 4-door sedans and 3,136 were convertibles. If you have three minutes, watch the walk around of a restored 1947 Catalina Tan Chrysler Town and Country in the video below. The videographer does a great job of showing the unbelievable craftsmanship of the complex wood structure and even the interior, where the wood theme was carried onto the door panels and headliner. Hopefully, everyone reading this article will have the chance to see a ’46-’48 Town and Country at a show or meet. But set aside some time. You’ll need a while to walk around and fully appreciate the master craftsmen at Chrysler who created these wood-and-steel rolling pieces of art.

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  1. Fahrvergnugen FahrvergnugenMember

    Wow. A two-course meal here; one for the termites, and one for the tin worms.

    Like 12
  2. CadmanlsMember

    What a shame a once proud touring car has to ended up like this. Owner was probably going to restore it someday, that’s a common line. Really bet it looked sharp in its prime with some luggage strapped to that luggage rack up top and moving down the highway.

    Like 8
  3. Michelle RandStaff

    Hope someone takes it for parts so at least it can be a donor instead of going off to the crusher.

    Like 6
  4. Kenn

    I can’t believe a craftsman/craftswoman (God forbid I should be a male chauvinist) couldn’t bring this back. Expensive of course, but I’ll bet it would bring more than the cost when the time came to sell.

    Like 5
  5. Will Fox

    In the 40’s, my dad had it made. He owned not just a `46 T & C convertible, but a `47 as well. My grandfather had ‘connections’ just about everywhere in town back then, including a poker-playing buddy who owned a Chrysler dealership. My dad’s first T&C arrived with wooden planks instead of bumpers as they were not up to production speed yet after the war’s end. But dad told me he was among the first in town to get chrome bumpers when they became available, AND whitewall tires! New cars–especially fancy ones like his were in high demand in early post WWII years, and he ended up trading his `46 for another one in early `47, and he said he didn’t lose a dime!! That’s how anxious people were for new cars then. Oh, to have been a fly on the wall back then….

    Like 5
    • Ron Denny Ron DennyAuthor

      Great stories, Will. Especially your dad’s ’46 arriving with wooden planks instead of bumpers…

      Like 3
    • Al

      So where are the planks, they could be worth many $$$$$$$.

      Like 3
  6. Big C

    Yikes! Watch where you flic your Bic around this bad boy!

    Like 0
  7. Rodney - GSM

    I hope this is a gentle reminder that not all cars can be saved but all can be donor cars to save the lives of others. Be sure to sign your “Car Donor Card” and place it in your glovebox. Grandma may be dead, but her parts keep other grandchildren on the road…

    Like 5
  8. Gary

    A customer of mine had ten or twelve cars including a Town and Country convertible and a sedan. Both had light green sheetmetal, twins if you will. He scraped the wood down on both cars with a razor blade to refinish it and it took him a looooong time. All his cars were beautiful, but the two “Woodies” were exceptional.

    Like 2
  9. George Birth

    Some one left this one “Out to Dry” which is a shame, as it once was a beautiful car. He’ll probably have to pay some one to haul this one off. Not much value left in this one.

    Like 1
  10. ChingaTrailer

    Easy restoration – remove radiator cap, replace car underneath.

    Like 1
  11. KurtMember

    This car looks haunted!

    Like 2
  12. Troy

    Engine and transmission, some body work I can probably fix it all the wood work all I can do is admire the craftsman who built it. So we have gone from this to Tesla that’s nothing more than a giant disposable cell phone with wheels

    Like 10
  13. KurtMember

    Maybe a project for a high school wood shop/auto shop class? Darn shame to let it be destroyed or parted out.

    Like 5
  14. 19sixty5Member

    There were at least two of these (convertibles) in the village I grew up in just north of Chicago. I was always impressed by the absolute beauty and craftsmanship of them. Hopefully something good comes out of this!

    Like 0
  15. Patrick McKercher

    As a kid we had a 1954 T&C station wagon, and we wd occasionally get chased down on road trips by racing guys who wanted its hemi engine; this one might make a nice woody station wagon if you’re not a purist.

    Like 0
  16. Tbone

    I wonder how many times the owner turned down offers saying “I’m going to get around to working on it soon” while it deteriorated before his eyes.

    Like 3
  17. robbert smit

    Salvageable if your heart is in the right place and your pockets are bottom less pits. Magnificent automobile.

    Like 1
    • Al

      bet you could repurpose pallets for the wood.
      A lot of pallets are white oak, it does not rot as quickly.

      Like 1
  18. Claudio

    A quick look at the surroundings shows the same kind of upkeep for the property
    Reminds me of a neighbor that cant find the time to clean up his junk !
    It being such a rare car , it will certainly find a new owner

    Like 0
  19. chudacko CharlesMember

    The wood looks good enough to used as patterns for its replacement, still it would be a labor of love or deep pockets to bring it back.
    If I wasn’t over 60,! I would do it, as I helped a friend do one in the 1980’s.

    Like 1
    • KurtMember

      Charles are the larger pieces a type of plywood? They remind me of an old Chris Craft boat.

      Like 0
  20. tiger66

    Only the pre-war T&C car had the clamshell doors in back — the postwar sedan did not have them as is obvious in the photos. This was not an “estate car” like the prewar version.

    The ad may state “automatic” transmission but unless one was swapped in, it had a semi-automatic. Chrysler did not have an automatic in those days. Just Fluid Drive coupled to a semi-auto gearbox.

    As for the sedan being based on the Windsor, only if had the 6. The 8 cylinder T&Cs had the longer New Yorker wheelbase.

    Like 1
  21. George Birth

    I like ChingaTrailer’s idea, that would be least expensive restoration cost of all!!!!

    Like 0

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