When most people hear about a “woodie” car, they think of the “woodie” station wagons that became somewhat famous during the mid-1960 surfing craze made popular by the Beach Boys. However there are other “woodies” out there and the late 1940s Chrysler Town & Country cars are a very elegant examples of how attractive the non-station wagon “woodie” cars can be. With this post, I have focused on the 1948 Chrysler Town & Country sedan.
A 1948 Chrysler Town & Country 4-Door Sedan
As you can see, these are very impressive cars. At one time, I owned a 1978 Chrysler Town & Country wagon, which sported real plastic wood on the sides. That car was a long way from these real Town & Country “woodies”.
Chrysler Had Several “Woodie” Models: This 4-Door Sedan Plus a Convertible and a 2-Door Coupe
The 1948 Chrysler Town & Country models looked essentially identical to the 1947 Chrysler Town & Country models. Chrysler was in a holding pattern in 1948, while waiting to introduce a new design in 1949.
The woodwork on this car is fantastic, but it also requires substantial maintenance. Evidently Chrysler’s Owner’s Manual said that owning a car with wood was like owning a yacht and that the wood needed to be maintained just like one would maintain a wooden boat.
Also these cars were expensive to fix. For example in the late 1940s, a front door for a Chrysler Windsor cost $58.17, while a Town & Country front door was $304.78.
The Car Is As Much Like Furniture As It Is An Automobile
Building the Chrysler Town & Country cars involved a lot of hand work. I can’t imagine these cars on a production line. The pictures below from Richard M. Langworth’s 1976 book, “Chrysler & Imperial” provides some idea how these cars were built. These workers who built the Town & Country cars would be highly skilled carpenters and wood workers.
Workers Making the Town & Country Doors
Assembling The Wood Frame For The Chrysler Town & Country “Woodie”
The interior of the Chrysler Town & Country has an inviting look to it. It has the look of a cottage living room. As I stood by the car, I felt that I should be sitting in the car reading a Jack O’Connor column in Outdoor Life, with my Winchester pump shotgun, neatly tucked away in the trunk.
The Dash Looks Quite Impressive
This car is quite a package with the exterior wood, the dash, and the interior coloring. It is a very desirable car to go on an old-fashioned Sunday drive.
The Red Tartan Seats Provide An Interesting Look To The Interior
Chrysler had some non-typical car ads in 1948. These reminded me of the style of ads used by Remington Firearms, instead of an automobile company. The ad below tells consumers that Chrysler has a strong dealer network that can look after their products. I guess that this is similar to the way the mother bear looks after her cubs.
It Hard To Believe That This Is A Car Advertisement
The ad below also has an outdoor theme, emphasizing the engines that were available in the Chrysler cars. The outdoor theme of the ads matches the outdoor theme of the styling of the Town & Country cars.
This Ad Touts The Power Of the Chrysler Cars
The Chryslers of this era had two engines. While I did not see the engine in this particular Chrysler Town & Country sedan, I believe that all of the Town & Country sedans came with a 250 cubic inch straight side-valve 6-cylinder engine that produced 120 horsepower. The Town & Country convertibles came with a 323-cubic inch straight side-valve 8-cylinder engine that produced 140 horsepower. These were not fast cars, but probably were great touring cars. These are definitely cars that won’t be built again.
So remember that there are more than just “woodie” wagons out there.