From 1939 to 1935, Americans had to pinch pennies and do without to help the war effort. After the war, Chrysler thought the hard working people of the United States needed some luxury. The Town & Country model was part of a sedan and convertible collection that Chrysler released after the war for that purpose. In 1948, Chrysler manufactured the two-door convertible for the last time, releasing 3,309 cars, of which slightly less than 200 remain today.
Town & Country Name
Today, Chrysler still uses the model name “Town & Country” for its popular series of minivans. Individuals might assume that this name comes from the fact that minivans often handle well on long trips as well as in the city. While it is a logical assumption, it is incorrect. The name Town & Country was actually conceived to describe the design of the 1940s-era convertibles (and their sister sedans). Featuring a front crafted from steel, a back made from rich mahogany panels, and a body frame crafted from white ash, “Town & Country” was so named for its combination of “town” (steel) and “country” (wood) materials.
The decision to incorporate these materials was not merely stylistic, however. WWII resulted in a materials shortage throughout the country, but Chrysler had to begin producing to take advantage of the public’s eagerness to buy. To make up for the shortage, they used wood to supplement what they had and created the unique name, design, and concept to accommodate their decision to use the ash and Mahogany. Chrysler ability to create and successfully market a desirable product and eventually collectable product despite material shortages is a stunning example of American innovation and ability. One of the reasons why the 1948 model Town & Country is so popular is because it was the last full-body “woody” the company produced.
In addition to the unique combination of materials used to make up the body, the 1948 Chrysler “Town & Country” convertible has the following specifications:
- It features a C-39 chassis.
- The wheelbase is 127.5 inches.
- The L-head engine is 323.5 cubic inches and eight cylinders, with a horsepower of 135.
Popularity and Sales
Originally, the Town & Country convertible model sold for a little under $4,000, expensive for 1948. Today, the 1948 Town & Country is still one of the most popular collectable cars. However, the contemporary sales price is much greater than what it was in the 1940s! 1948 model Town & Country convertibles have sold for almost $300,000, though many more sell for around $120,000-$140,000. The best (and most expensive) vehicles are those that feature wood that has been well carefully restored.
Jay Leno, famous for his car collecting, is reported to currently have a two-door, 1948 Chrysler convertible in his possession. In the 1940s, actor Leo Carrilo (Poncho in the Cisco Kid) had a customized version of the car created that was painted to match his pony and featured both a steer head and the letters “LC.”