1941 marked the introduction of Chrysler's distinctive 'Town and Country Car', a new concept in estate vehicles. The name was coined by Paul Hafer of the Boyerton Body Works, who observed that the front looked 'Town' while the rear appeared 'Country.'
Built on March 14, 1941, and originally owned by Warner Bros. Studio, the car has appeared in several 'Our Gang' and Charlie Chaplin movies. It carried an original price tag of $1475, FOB Detroit. Over the years, this handsome station wagon has been awarded First in Class at Pebble Beach and received the annual preservation award of the Walter P. Chrysler Club.
Serial number 7699598 (Body number 1170) has a 121.5 inch wheelbase, 112-Horsepower six-cylinder 'Spitfire' engine (with Fluid Drive 'Vacumatic' transmission) and carried a $1475 price tag, F.O.B. Detroit.
It was built 14 March 1941 and delivered to Alhambra, California. Original owned by Warner Brothers Studios, it appears in several Our Gang and Charlie Chan movies.
The Town & Country 'station wagon' was manufactured for 1941 and 1942 only; after World War II, convertibles, sedans and hardtops were manufactured instead. Of the 797 nine-passenger station wagons built in 1941, barely a handful or two survive.
The current owner spent seven years acquiring parts and employed many skilled craftsmen to return the car to its original splendor. It has been displayed in the United States, Germany and England.
The name 'Town & Country' was used because the front looked like 'Town' and the rear looked like 'Country.' It was built on the standard Chrysler Windsor chassis and its wooden body was topped by the longer steel roof used for a limousine. The framing is white ash, and Honduras mahogany veneer was used for the contrasting panels. Briggs Manufacturing Company supplied all the sheet metal and the cars were assembled at the Jefferson Avenue Plant in Detroit.
Just 797 nine-passenger models were built in 1941 and only a handful are known to remain today. 'Town & Country' was coined by Paul Hafter, of the Boyertown Body Works in Pennsylvania, who observed the front looked 'Town' and the rear looked 'Country.' The standard Chrysler Windsor chassis and its wooden body were surmounted by the longer steel roof used for a limousine. Early examples produced from March to April 1941 were painted only Regal Maroon which was though to best complement the highly glossed finish of the natural wood. It was built on a 121.5 inch chassis with identical front and rear bumpers and powered by the 'Spitfire' L-head six-cylinder engine with a 241.5 cubic-inch displacement and the new 'Fluid Drive' Vacumatic transmission. The most dramatic feature is the luggage compartment located behind two side-hinged doors meeting and secured at the center behind the rear number plate. The clamshell doors were also dubbed 'barrel-back' doors. The unusual interior of this car consists of matching red Bakelite plastic dashboard, radio and instrument surround, window wills and steering wheel.
Sold for $170,500 at 2007 RM Auctions. Sold for $192,500 at 2009 Gooding & Company. This 1941 Chrysler Town & Country Barrel-Back Woodie Wagon was offered for sale at the 2007 RM Auctions held in Amelia Island, Florida. It was estimated to sell for $175,000 - $225,000. It is powered by a 250 cubic-inch Spitfire six-cylinder engine capable of producing 114 horsepower. There is a semi-automatic gearbox and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes.
The Town & Country Estate Wagon was first introduced in 1939. It was elegant and luxurious and intended for both the city and country driving - thus the name. The wood body design was intended to have the same basic lines as the steel-bodied sedans. The bodies were created from two types of woods, including the structural wood of white ash with contrasting panels in a Honduran mahogany.
Production continued until the early 1940s when the onset of World War II brought civilian production to a close. For 1941, production totaled 997 examples of these hand-built vehicles. 797 were nine-passenger cars and 200 were six-passenger cars.
This car has been treated to a complete restoration. The wood was replaced with correct white ash and Honduran mahogany. It is finished in maroon exterior color and trimmed in red leather. In 1996, the car was invited to the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance where it was awarded a winner in the Wood Estate Wagon class.
At auction, the car was sold for $170,500.
In 2009, the car returned to auction, this time at Gooding & Company's auction held at Pebble Beach, CA. It was expected to sell for $175,000 - $250,000. The lot was sold for the sum of $192,500, inclusive of buyer's premium. By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2010
The Town & Country came standard with a 241.3 cubic-inch straight-six engine offering 108 horsepower. There was an optional 323.5 cubic-inch eight-cylinder unit that offered 135 horsepower. The sixes were given a 121.5 inch platform and the wood body work was built by Chrysler with white ash by Pekin Wood Products in Arkansas. The station sedan sold for $1,395 and 996 were sold in 1941.
This Town & Country was purchased new by the owner's grandfather and remained in the family until the early 1970s. The owner undertook a three year search to find the car and purchased it in the early 1990s.
Produced only from 1941 through 1950, the first woodie wagon with an all-steel roof was designated the Town & Country. This 4-door sedan luxury vehicle was built for either city or estate transportation, and was available for 6 or 9 passenger versions.
Due to World War II, production of the Town & Country was halted in December, 1941. A mere 1,000 models were produced during 1941 and 1942. In 1942 the sheet metal was updated, and the design of woodie remained similar to its previous look.
Following the war, the new wave of Town & Country woodies were produced in much larger numbers as coupes, convertibles, sedans. The first production hardtops ever produced by any manufacture, seven 2-door hardtops were also manufactured by Chrysler. The final Town & Country woodie models were produced only as 2-door hardtops only for the last year.
In the last year of its production, a box type woodie station wagon was offered by both Chrysler and Desoto. Plymouth and Dodge also released box type woodie wagon throughout the 1930's and 1940's. In 1950, production of the original Town & Country was ended.By Jessica Donaldson
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