1950 Chrysler Town & Country Hardtop - SOLD
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The steel components of the body are finished in the car’s original Indian Brown, which has a light metallic sheen that works rather well with the glowing ash framework.

Handsome older frame-on restoration. One-year-only hardtop body style, one of 698 built. Smooth 323 cubic inch straight-8 with Fluid-Drive semi-automatic transmission. Factory “disc brakes.” Runs and drives well, the last of Chrysler’s wooden land yachts.

If you wanted luxury with a natural bent, the Chrysler Town & Country was your best choice. Wood-bodied wagons were still fairly common but Chrysler continued their wooden luxury cars well after everyone else had given up. And we have to admit the allure of those natural timbers on this car make for a very appealing package. By 1950, the wood was more cosmetic than structural, although the rear half of the body is still framed in wood, including the trunk lid. This gives the one-year-only Town & Country hardtop a very upscale look and it’s impossible to resist touching the warm-looking bodywork. The steel components of the body are finished in the car’s original Indian Brown, which has a light metallic sheen that works rather well with the glowing ash framework. The car was treated to a frame-on restoration perhaps 15 or 20 years ago and remains in very good condition, although it is pure driver-grade, not a showpiece. However, there’s a certain appeal to the overall look—wood doesn’t age the same as paint and chrome and as a result it has the look of something comfortable and at ease with itself, which isn’t a bad image to project. And speaking of chrome, the trim on this car is quite nice with most of it being stainless that can be polished up at home to keep it in top form. And yes, all the wood is excellent with no rot and only one small piece at the base of the trunk lid that was replaced, done so well that the repair is almost invisible.

The upscale cloth and leather interior matches the early ‘50s sensibility of the exterior. Striped broadcloth adds a sporting flair but this is unquestionably a luxury car, not a sports car. For a car festooned with wood on the exterior, there’s exactly none inside—instead, they stuck with chrome and painted steel to give it a clean, uncluttered look that would define Chrysler design in the ‘50s and ‘60s. The big plastic steering wheel shows some cracks which are probably inevitable after all these years, but the rest is in fantastic shape. All the gauges work except the clock and even the radio powers up. You’ll quickly acclimate to the semi-automatic “Presto-Matic” transmission, which more difficult to describe than it is to use—there’s both a clutch (for shifting between Reverse, High, and Low ranges) and a torque converter so it requires no clutching in normal operation. We’ve found the big straight-8 is just fine in High range all the time. Accommodations are spacious front and rear and the trunk is simply massive, even with the full-sized spare tire taking up some space.

Chrysler’s familiar 323 cubic inch “Spitfire” straight-8 engine is a familiar sight and makes the kind of effortless low-end torque that makes luxury cars of this period so delightful to drive. Thanks to the torque converter transmission, you just step on the gas and a smooth hum of power gracefully accelerates the big coupe to modern highway speeds without ever seeming to work very hard. The engine bay clean but not detailed for show, and the engine wears correct corporate silver engine enamel as well as a proper air cleaner. A recent tune-up means it starts easily and runs beautifully, although it’s a little grumpy when it’s cold.

The aforementioned Presto-Matic transmission works properly, shifting between gears with an audible thunk (totally normal), and with 3.54 gears out back, it’s comfortable at highway speeds. The undercarriage has not been restored, so it’s dirty and there’s surface scale on some of the heavy metal parts, but the floors are uncompromised and the heavy wooden door sills are in excellent condition. 1950 Chryslers featured unusual “disc brakes” that are better described as horizontally-opposed drums, again a system more complicated to describe than to see in action. The brakes do need a proper warm-up and are perfectly adequate but they’re not a match for modern discs so please drive accordingly. The exhaust system has a quiet 8-cylinder hum and it sits on factory steel wheels, hubcaps, and 8.20-15 wide whitewall tires of unknown age.

Extras include a fairly large cache of spare parts, a woodgrain kit, and other interesting memorabilia.

Rare, elegant, and full of innovative features, this Town & Country represents a relatively inexpensive way to own what was, at the time, a top-shelf personal luxury car. Wood-bodied vehicles were only a few years from extinction and the one-year-only hardtop styling on this Newport is a definitely home run. Not a perfect car but a great driver that will stand out anywhere it goes. Call today!

Harwood Motors always recommends and welcomes personal or professional inspections of any vehicle in our inventory prior to purchase.

Vehicle: 1950 Chrysler Town & Country Hardtop
Price: SOLD
Stock Number: 118019
Odometer Reading: 90,671
VIN: 7411766
Engine: 323 cubic inch straight-8
Transmission: Prestomatic semi-automatic
Gear Ratio: 3.54
Wheelbase: 127.5 inches
Wheels: 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps
Tires: 8.20-15 wide whitewall tires
Exterior Color: Indian Brown
Interior Color: Tan and brown cloth and leather
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