Woody Soft-Top: 1949 Chrysler Town & Country Convertible

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The owner of this 1949 Chrysler Town & Country Convertible is relisting it due to a misunderstanding by a winning bidder. That individual believed that he had purchased a show-quality classic. While the photos show this to be a tidy vehicle, it is apparent that it will require some work before its presentation is pristine. If you believe that you have what it would take to achieve this goal, you will find the Chrysler located in Palatine, Illinois, and listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set the auction to open at $15,000, and while twelve people are watching the listing, no bids have been submitted. The owner also offers a BIN option at $37,000. Barn Finder Larry D has once again demonstrated his ability to locate some interesting and rare classics. Thank you for referring this one to us, Larry.

The owner claims that this car is one of the final five examples of the ’49 Town & Country Convertible to roll out of Chrysler’s factory. It is a complete car, and as a restoration project, there is plenty of potential locked away inside this vehicle. It is worth noting that it would be in the buyer’s best interest to perform any restoration work to the highest standard. The reasons are two-fold. First, this is a long way from being a cheap project. Handing over $37,000 is a major commitment, and the best way to get a decent return on that investment would be to ensure that the Convertible presents perfectly when the work is complete. The second reason revolves around its potential value. A perfect restoration could see that figure climb into six-figure territory. I don’t know about you, but that thought would be enough for me to triple-check every detail along the way. Having said that, it looks like the buyer will be working from a solid foundation. The green paint is starting to deteriorate, but the panels look straight and true. There is no evidence of rot in any of the timbers, and the owner confirms this in the listing. I can’t see any rust in the panels, and while the owner supports this, he doesn’t provide any details about the floors and frame. It seems that he is very approachable, so he should be willing to answer questions and allay fears. The soft-top looks respectable, but I’m not sure if it’s perfect. The same would appear to be true of the trim and chrome, but the glass seems to be flawless.

If potential buyers view this classic as an original survivor, it is fair to say that the interior will need nothing. The car could be driven and shown as it stands, and the next owner could do this without any feelings of shame. However, if the intention is to return the Town & Country to as-new condition, there are some items that they may need to address. The carpet looks like it may present well with a deep clean, while the plated trim pieces appear to be okay. The dash padding and door caps are wrinkled and discolored, and given the relative rarity of these classics, it may fall to an upholsterer to whip these into shape. There may be some wear on the front seat under where the driver’s left thigh would rest, but it is hard to be sure due to the photo quality. If I were seriously considering letting this classic into my life, I would be keen to perform an in-person inspection. The seller appears very welcoming to this idea, and it could be worth the effort if any aspects of the car raise doubts in the back of your mind.

While the rest of the car appears to be clear-cut, the same may not be true for its drivetrain. Powering the Chrysler is a 323.5ci straight-eight flathead engine that produced 135hp in its prime. Chrysler bolted a three-speed automatic to that giant of a motor, and this combination was capable of launching the Convertible through the ¼ mile in 23.9 seconds. The vehicle retains its six-volt electrical system, but there’s a single phrase in the listing that could have a dramatic impact on this car’s value. The owner uses the expression “period correct straight 8” to describe the engine, suggesting it may not be the original unit. This will bear further investigation because, while the Chrysler would still be worth a large bundle of cash, that figure drops if the car isn’t 100% original.

The 1949 model year marked the end of the line for the Town & Country “woodie” Convertible, and while it was never a high-volume seller, Chrysler managed to find 993 buyers willing to park one of these in their driveway. This is one of those vehicles, and if fully restored to its factory color and specifications, there’s no reason why it couldn’t command a value a fair distance beyond the $100,000 mark. Is this a classic project that you would consider tackling, or is the price of admission too steep for you?

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  1. BlondeUXBMember

    Chrysler produced 698 units in 1950.
    ‘49 wasn’t the last year for the Town & County. Not certain about the convertible production however…

    Like 0
    • tiger66

      No convertible T&Cs for ’50. They were all hardtop coupes.

      Like 1
  2. Capt RD

    Does the data proving body and engine #s for any Chrysler cars from1949 even exist anywhere?

    Like 2
    • wizzy

      “The Serial Number Book for U.S. Cars 1900-1975 (Grace Bingham, Motorbooks International, 1979) shows Serial Numbers 7,410,001 through 7,411,001 (exactly 1000 reported made). Engine Numbers for this car: 7,408,110 and up.

      Like 0
  3. Richard Wilber

    If its a three speed automatic why does it have three pedals?

    Like 0
  4. SMOKEYMember

    I have been a huge fan of the Chrysler T &. C’s but only the years 1946 to 1948. These later models just don’t warm the cockles of my heart as much as the older “Real” T&C’s do. Just not enough of that beautiful wood I guess. Jay Leno has a beaut of a ’48 I think loaded with a Viper V10. That thing really MOVES OUT. With the original six or eight cylinder motors coupled with the slush bucket fluid drive, these very heavy cars can hardly get out of their own way from a green right.

    Like 3
  5. Pete Phillips

    No, Chrysler did NOT bolt a 3-speed automatic transmission to this car! It’s a Fluid Drive transmission with low and high range, and a reverse. There’s a clutch to change between or into any of those ranges.

    Like 0
  6. Russ Ashley

    Pretty poor excuse by the first buyer to not go through with the purchase. Thought he was buying a “show quality classic”? Makes me wonder if he just found something else he wanted more, or his wife told him he couldn’t have it. I guess he didn’t look at the pictures or read the description. It’s a nice driver but not a show winner by any means.

    Like 9
  7. Carnut

    Having restored dozens of Woodies over the years I can attest these are not easy or cheap to restore.. the old woodie wood workers are dying off.. RIP Doug Carr.. the art like the great men who restored these beauties are dying off and trust me no one is following .. why?.. cause it’s a zero sum game.. if you have a skill set restoring woodies is not a “money game”.. it’s a loosing game.. They are beautiful cars and i love them but the money is not being spent on woodies so why restore them?.. it is part of our evolution of the car hobby the old goes out of style..

    Like 4
  8. David KelmMember

    Fluid drive a 2 speed semi auto with 2 speed and reverse manual transmission. Ultimate slow away from stop, but OK on highway with kickdown passing.

    Like 2
  9. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    This car isn’t an automatic, a clutch pedal is clearly seen, but it probably is the infamous fluid drive. This one is the exact same color as my dads 48 Dodge that he drove in the early 50’s. Good luck to all.
    God bless America

    Like 2
  10. hank

    IIRC the 48 had more wood on it.
    In 08 George Foreman bought a 48 online @ Barrett Jackson for 60K—Deal of the whole show. It WAS ready to show. Probably worth 130K or more now.

    Like 0
  11. Bob Mck

    I don’t follow this market but wonder what the value of this car is. Is 37 high, low or fair?

    Like 0
  12. timothy fairchild

    Appears to be a classic with some wear, although minor for its age. Shame some folks get overly picky on old used automobiles. If you don’t think car is worth it just pass and remember you did see it. Engines of a correct period running will pass any mustard.

    Like 2
    • David KelmMember

      It’s pass muster. Probably original engine. About last year for straight 8 of that type ( 1934 – 1950 ) Earlier 8 was bigger and considerably heavier with about same bhp.

      Like 0
      • SMOKEYMember

        I would think that a 1948 Ford Sportsman woody in full Show condition would bring just as much as a 1948 T&C I show condition. They are much more rare than a T&C.

        Like 1
  13. Kenn

    Would be worth the ask to simply own, drive and enjoy without attempting to flip for a big profit. My mother had a 1948 Ford Sportsman convert. which we enjoyed for a number of years. Last chance I had to buy one was in the mid seventies for $20K. Wonder what it’s worth today?

    Like 0
  14. Sam61

    Get a corporate sponsor, like Terminix, to help with restoration cost in exchange for parades and events.

    Like 2
  15. David KelmMember

    Fluid drive transmission had a clutch, hydraulic coupling, 2 speed and reverse manual transmission , followed by a overdrive like 2 speed vacuum operated transmission. This gives 4 speeds forward. Normal mode is high gear. Upon eventually reaching a cruising speed, you lift up on the accelerator and wait for a clunk. Works in low gear too. If you start in low you can shift manually into high and kick down into passing gear. Still very sluggish. Even advent of hemi in 1951 did not help much.

    Like 0

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