Vintage Hemi’s: A Pair of 1953 Chrysler Wagons

Chrysler Town & Country

“Hemi.” The recent Chrysler ads play on the magic that word means to car enthusiasts. Other cars have had hemispherical combustion chambers, but “Hemi” only means Chrysler V-8s to most North Americans. There’s a pair of Hemi powered Chryslers, both 1953 Town & Country wagons, located in Albuquerque, New Mexico and listed here on eBay with a buy-it-now of $15,000 but lower offers welcome. One of these, I believe the brownish one, is a New Yorker complete with power windows, while the white one is a Windsor. One of the more interesting features on these cars is the semi-automatic transmission, said by some to offer the worst of a manual with the worst of an automatic. I’m not sure I agree with that, but you can explore it more here at allpar.com. The Windsor is said to run and drive well, while the New Yorker’s engine is free but no attempt has been made to start it. According to the seller, only 1,242 of these wagons were made, and despite some rust on both sets of floors, they look pretty solid. Would you keep them both, or sell one to help fund fixing up the other?

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Comments

  1. michael

    These are as rare as stated…and the production numbers are not for 1953, they are for the entire run of this body style!

    I also have a ’53 that is just about ready to be put back on the road after a complete drive train rebuild. I am going to keep the body as is and rock some 18″ rims with white walls and call it a day!

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Great car, Michael!

  2. randy

    I am sure glad someone likes these…………. cars!

  3. DENIS

    Rare, but seems like a lotta $. I would estimate them to be worth half that but beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I’m cynical because I’ve recently paid restoration bills and the body shop is now the killer…

  4. Howard A Member

    Hemi. Man, that’s a word today to conjure up images of smoking tires and flames out the exhaust, but truth be known, I knew a friend that had a couple of these (1 was a DeSoto) years ago with hemi’s and they were total slugs ( possibly because the car weighed 5,000 lbs) and leaked oil all over. ( mostly from the spark plug tubes). His must have been a ’54, because I don’t remember that “safety clutch”, and I believe was a regular 2 speed automatic. Maybe that’s why they were so slow.

  5. Ed P

    Between 1939 and 1953 Chrysler engineers created a multitude of variations on Fluid Drive transmissions. The later models had torque converters. Some shifted between two speeds and some did not. From what I’ve heard they were reliable but not very exciting to drive. As for these two cars, I would save the best and sell the other.

  6. Brad

    We’re restoring a ’54 using parts (including a perfect interior) from this rotted out ’53, which looks great here but was essentially held together by the lovely black paint.

    I have an ’05 5.7 Hemi from a RAM ready to drop in, and it’ll be fun tow car for our ’57 Airstream.

  7. Jason Houston

    Where I live in a small mountain community east of Bakersfield there’s still one of these running around in daily use since 1953.

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