Chrysler sold more non-wagon woodies than anyone in 1946-48, most being convertibles, with the most famous of its lineup the 1947 Town & Country. Granted, there wasn't much competition: just the Ford/Mercury Sportsman convertibles and Nash's surprising Suburban sedan. But Chrysler's ragtop Town & Country led the parade not only in sales but in combining sporty elegance with vault-like solidity, smooth-riding luxury, and loads of glitter.
The T&C was also sold as a four-door sedan through mid-1948. Most used the six-cylinder Windsor platform, whereas all convertibles rode the longer New Yorker chassis with its 135-horsepower 323-cubic-inch straight eight. Chrysler had planned a whole line of T&Cs, including a roadster and what could have been America's first hardtop coupe, but only a handful of these were built as prototypes. The four-door attracted 4050 buyers, making the T&C convertible, with production of 8380, one of the few cases in modern automotive history where an open model outsold its closed counterpart.
The 1947 Town & Country established Chrysler as the leader in "woody" style convertibles.
See more pictures of classic convertibles.
Chryslers hardly changed between 1946 and '48, all being distinguished by a dazzling "harmonica" grille and bulbous lines. Still, the droptop T&C was a real "looker" with its structural ash wood framing on bodysides and rear deck. Inserts were genuine mahogany through mid-'47, then realistic Di-Noc decals. Interiors were impressively furnished with wood paneling and leather/Bedford cord upholstery. Alas, the price for such opulence was high: $2743 in '46, $3420 by '48, figures that placed them squarely in Cadillac territory.
While nothing to write home about, the Chrysler Town & Country's
interior was stylish and comfortable.
The T&C convertible returned in Chrysler's all-new '49 lineup, but was far less special. After a 1950 hardtop, Town & Countrys were again strictly wagons. Since then the name has graced a steady stream of Chryslers -- many wearing elaborate pseudo-wood decoration -- but none match the majesty of the glorious 1946-48 originals.
The Town & Country convertible added much-needed glamour to a staid group of early postwar Chryslers. For impact and sales alike, it was king of Detroit's non-wagon woodies.
For more classic convertibles of the 1930s and 1940s, see:
For more information on all kinds of cars, try these:
- Classic Convertible Cars: See profiles on more than 70 classic convertibles.
- Muscle Cars: Get information on more than 100 tough-guy rides.
- Consumer Guide New Car Reviews: Looking for a new car? Get the Consumer Guide rating.
- Consumer Guide Used Car Reviews: Considering a used car purchase? You'll want to check the Consumer Guide used car rating.