Amelia Island

10-11 March 2017

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Lot 253

1947 Chrysler Town and Country Convertible

  • Chassis no. 7404990
  • Body no. 5877

Sold for $104,500


Model C-39. 135 bhp, 323.5 cu. in. L-head eight-cylinder engine, Fluid Drive with Prestomatic four-speed semi-automatic transmission, independent coil spring front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 127.5 in.

  • 44,000 original miles
  • Superb original wood
  • Reported to run and drive well


The first Chrysler Town and Country was a wood-bodied, barrel-back sedan in the 1941 six-cylinder Royal line. Neither sedan nor station wagon, it had a fastback profile with twin hinged “barn doors” at the rear.

In contrast to most wood-bodied utility vehicles, the new Town and Country Car, as the company initially called it, had lavishly varnished wood inside and quality upholstery.
Chrysler Corporation General Manager David Wallace believed that an upscale production-based automobile would attract wealthy buyers to Chrysler showrooms. He desired a sophisticated automobile, one elegant enough for city and chauffeur driving, yet sufficiently utilitarian for country living. Wallace envisioned a wood-bodied car with the same basic lines as contemporary Chrysler steel-bodied sedans, yet with greater refinement, quality, and panache. The cars were constructed in the manner of pre-war station wagons, using structural wood of white ash with contrasting panels of rich Honduran mahogany. The wooden parts were supplied by Pekin Wood Products of Helena, Arkansas, and were shipped to Chrysler’s Jefferson Street Plant in Detroit for final assembly. The roof, however, was solid steel. Nearly 2,000 were built, in 1941 and into the short 1942 model year.

The response was such that an expanded range of five body styles was planned for 1946, but in the end, only a conventional trunk-back sedan and an eight-cylinder convertible coupe were built. Just 100 long-wheelbase eight-cylinder sedans were made, the rest being six-cylinder cars on the shorter Windsor wheelbase.

Built on the New Yorker’s 127.5-inch wheelbase, the convertible was longer than the sedan. It also had all the New Yorker standard equipment: five-main-bearing 135 brake horsepower straight-eight engine, Prestomatic Fluid Drive transmission, and an electric clock.

Annual production totals were not recorded, but for the 1946 through 1948 model years, 8,368 New Yorker Town and Country convertibles were built.

The new-design second-series 1949 line dropped the Town and Country sedan, and for 1950 the model retreated to an eight-cylinder hardtop coupe with painted metal insert panels. Thereafter, the name “Town and Country” graced a long succession of Chrysler steel-bodied station wagons and minivans.

The car being offered was purchased from a fastidious collector in the Midwest. Although it has been repainted in correct Yellow Lustre and has benefited from re-plating some of the brightwork, it has entirely original wood. The body has never been apart, just meticulously maintained, yet it is difficult to discern from new.

In addition to the Prestomatic transmission and dashboard clock, it is equipped with a radio, heater-defroster, dual cowl-mounted side mirrors, driver’s side spotlight, exhaust extension, seatbelts, factory wheel covers, wide whitewall tires, and center bumper guard. It also has a power-operated top, the fabric of which is tan canvas. It comes with a top boot custom made for the current owner by well-known restorer Al Prueitt in Glen Rock, Pennsylvania.

The mileage shown is 44,000, believed correct. The car runs and drives superbly and will be a welcome addition to any collection.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more