How Much to Restore? 1949 Chrysler Town & Country

As functional and as nice as the Chrysler Town & Country minivans were, it would seem to give shivers to the owners of a car like this 1949 Chrysler Town & Country convertible to have them use the same name. This soon-to-be-gorgeous car can be found here on eBay with a current bid price of just over $1,000 and a buy it now price of $17,500. It’s located in Mentor, Ohio so you can figure out your shipping costs.

A lot of us have become somewhat jaded by tv reality shows where a crew of hooligans spend more time goofing around than working on a car and producers seem to spend more time bleeping out fake dialog than anything else. I still love those shows, but just show me how to restore a car and cut out the 4th-grade antics. I know, it’s funny to weld someone’s lunch box to the bench.. ha ha ha.. zzzzzz.. Show us how to work on cars and lose the fake acting! Sorry, back to this beautiful Town & Country. My point was starting out to be that this car looks quite doable for a home restoration with maybe a few things farmed out to specialty shops, like the convertible top, woodwork, and the interior.

What a car, though! The Town & Country convertible was made for the 1946-1949 model years. This would have been the last year for the Town & Country in its classic convertible form. We all remember Uncle Lido’s version in the form of the 1983-1986 Chrysler LeBaron Town & Country convertible complete with 3M-like woodgrain and plastic “wood” framing trim on the sides, which by the way melts when it’s on fire. I can’t say too many bad things about the LeBaron convertible as I had a Mark Cross LeBaron convertible of the same era and I absolutely loved it. But, it wasn’t a six-figure classic like this ’49 Chrysler will be once it’s done.

Speaking of six-figures, Hagerty is very bullish on these cars, even as people seem to be moving away from cars from the first half of the 1900s and into later eras. But, a low-production classic like this will always be a collectible, in my opinion. They’re valuing a #3 good condition 1949 Chrysler Town & Country convertible as being – are you ready? – $95,500. It sure seems like this car could be restored for $80,000, doesn’t it? I’m very surprised at the low bids on this gem. It needs literally tens of thousands of dollars worth of restoration, but a #2 excellent car is valued at $115,000. The seller got this car in Phoenix and apparently, there isn’t much rust work to do, a lot of the work has already been done as you can see from the eBay link photos. Will it be cheap to restore? No, but it sure looks like it could be done for under $100,000, not that I have intimate knowledge of doing six-figure restorations. Some of you do, what do you think?

The engine is obviously incomplete, so add engine work to the list and who knows the state of the rest of the mechanicals. Ok, so maybe we’re approaching a hundred-grand for a restoration. This should be Chrysler’s 323.5 cubic-inch inline-eight with 135 hp. Unfortunately, there are a few parts and pieces missing from the engine and engine bay but hopefully they can be found so this car makes it back on the road again. Given the values for this car, what is this one worth in its current condition and how much would it take to restore this beauty back to its former glory?

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Comments

  1. Fred W

    To me, this car doesn’t look that bad. I think someone was well on their way into a restoration and either lost interest or got too old. The engine looks like a rebuilt block ready to hang accessories on.

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  2. Capt RD

    I have been sailing antique wooden boats for most of my life. A few years ago I saw one of these in a wooden boat workshop being restored during the winter lull in boat work. The experienced shipwrights were excited about the car and remarked on the quality of the original construction.

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  3. canadainmarkseh Member

    The seller mentions that he does not know the condition of the engine. That tells me that it is just a paint job. Why you’d go to the trouble of painting and install an unrebuilt engine is beyond me. At the very least he should have pulled the oil pan and the head to check out the condition of the cylinders, valves, and bearings. It’s a nice car but your going to need to bring all your skill to the table on this one.

    2
    • JP

      The engine is the least of the problems with this car, but, that said, I think this is a realistic project, especially given it’s a convertible. Wood kits are available for $7-10k, fitting and installing another $5-10k, etc. So for an additional $50k (on top of purchase price) you have a six figure car. Not a huge profit, but still worth the effort…

      4
      • TC Oztralia

        JP, I’m with you and Will on this one, not being familiar with these cars, none of the woodwork appears to be structural, it seems to be fitted in place on the steel frame so most of the work would be finishing off the timber supplied in any kit that was available, provided it was already cut to shape and size. With the current value of these cars I think it would be well worth the effort and expense. The experts on these are welcome to prove me wrong and we could all learn from them.

        1
  4. Will Fox

    This will take a very particular buyer; one who speaks T & C, and knows what it takes to restore these. There are a couple restorers back east that specialize in these, thankfully. No one said it would be cheap; plan on at least $120K to make this a concours restoration, but worth every dime. There weren’t many built in `49, and fewer have survived.

    7
  5. Del

    Another non runner for Monster Money

    😁

    4
    • Peter S.R. Member

      No pain…
      No gain…

      3
    • JP

      Running or not isn’t the issue with a car like this…

      4
  6. Gaspumpchas

    OT, sorry, but Scotty is right about these tv shows- I don’t watch any of them, especially America @sspickers. Ruined the collectibles market. I would like to see some of the technical stuff, but most of the time its idiocy. PASS.

    Cheers

    GPC

    4
    • JP

      That’s why Edd China quit “Wheeler Dealers.” Show hasn’t been the same without him.

      4
    • volksdude56

      How did a tv show ruin the collectibles market?

      • BuickLover

        By helping drive up prices just like “Antiques Roadshow”. These people don’t realize what they have and these guys will pay top dollar. Fun to watch, but sad to see.

        1
      • Gaspumpchas

        Go to a flea market or swap meet and look at the rusty signs, and ask the seller how he arrived at the inflated price. This is a well known fact among the memorabilia circles.

  7. John E. Ropelewski

    I agree completely about your views on those juvenile car programs. There are a few good ones like those two English guys that actually show you what needs to be done and how to do it. I even like Wayne Carini as he demonstrates a true love and knowledge of the autos that he pursues and not just the horsepower factor. They must remember that not all of us have a complete machine shop, lift , industrial sewing machine , paint booth, or chrome plating vats at our disposal.

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  8. David

    I wish someone would have already put up a photo of their finished 1949 town and country convertible here in the comments. What a magnificent car. I’d love the time and budget to restore this one.

    2
  9. Keruth

    Oh boy, really close to me too! Always wanted one after dad took me over a friends shop with one of these and a ’30’s Horsh (Audi) cabriolet.
    ‘The TC was done, he was leading in the fenders on the cabrie.
    Counting shekels and hunting for a New Yorker for parts.
    Tough fitting in the barn though, these are quite large.
    I know I’m dreaming and typing in my sleep, still,,,!
    There was a show on Power Nation that did a nice job at showing the process of restorations, and honest time needed(and bodies working) to finish something nice, not on any more.

    1

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