Chrysler Town & Country (1941–1988)

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Chrysler Town & Country
1972 Chrysler Town & Country.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Chrysler Corporation
Production 1941–1988
Body and chassis
Class Full-size (1941–1977)
Mid-size (1978–1981)
Compact (1982–1988)
Chronology
Successor Chrysler Town & Country minivan

The Chrysler Town & Country was a station wagon manufactured by Chrysler Corporation and sold under its flagship brand from 1941–1988. The model was also sold as a sedan, coupe, and convertible from 1947–1950 and as a convertible again from 1983–1986.

Chrysler re-introduced the Town & Country nameplate as a luxury rebadged variant of the Dodge Caravan minivan in 1990 and continues to sell this incarnation of the Town & Country to the present day.

1941–1950[edit]

1942 Chrysler Town and Country wagon
First generation
Chrysler Town Country Convertible 1948.jpg
Overview
Production 1941–1950
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door station wagon (1941–42)
4-door sedan (1946–48)
2-door convertible (1946–49)
2-door hardtop (1950)
Layout FR layout
1942 Chrysler Town and Country wagon
1950 Chrysler Newport Town and Country coupe

The Town & Country was a debut of the first woodie wagon with an all-steel roof; the roof used was that of the big Chrysler Imperial 8-passenger sedan and limousine, which led to a unique (and compromised) rear loading arrangement with wooden double doors that opened hutch-style beneath a fixed rear window. Production of the cars stopped during World War II. In 1941 and 1942, fewer than 1,000 were manufactured.

General Motors claims the distinction of mass-producing the first pillarless hardtop coupes in 1949; however Chrysler built seven Town and Country versions of this body style in 1946, of which only one survives today. The T&C hardtop finally went into production for the 1950 model year.

After the war the Town & Country nameplate returned, but the station wagon body did not. Town & Country sedans, coupes, and convertibles were also produced from 1946 to 1950 in much larger numbers than the prewar wagon. Production of the original, woodie Town & Country ended in 1950.

The 1950 Crosley Hot Shot is often given credit for the first production disc brakes but the Chrysler Crown Imperial actually had them first as standard equipment at the beginning of the 1949 model year.[1] The Chrysler 4-wheel disc brake system was built by Auto Specialties Manufacturing Company (Ausco) of St. Joseph, Michigan, under patents of inventor H.L. Lambert, and was first tested on a 1939 Plymouth.[1] Unlike the caliper disc, the Ausco-Lambert utilized twin expanding discs that rubbed against the inner surface of a cast iron brake drum, which doubled as the brake housing.[1]

The Ausco-Lambert disc brake was complex, and because of the expense, the brakes were only standard on the Chrysler Crown Imperial through 1954 and the Town and Country Newport in 1950.[1] They were optional, however, on other Chryslers, priced around $400, at a time when an entire Crosley Hot Shot retailed for $935.[1]

1951–1959[edit]

1956 Chrysler New Yorker Town & Country
Second generation
1952 Chrysler Windsor Town & Country.jpg
Overview
Production 1951–1960
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door station wagon
Layout FR layout
Related Chrysler Windsor
Chrysler Saratoga
Chrysler New Yorker
Powertrain
Engine 413 cu in (6.8 L) V8
1957 Chrysler Windsor Town and Country

After the woodies were discontinued, the Town & Country name was immediately transferred to a steel-bodied full-size rear wheel drive station wagon, coinciding with the debut of the company's first V8 engine (then called FireDome, but later dubbed HEMI). This wagon introduced several firsts, including roll-down rear windows for tailgates in 1951 and rear-facing third row seats in 1957, rear wipers in 1968, integral air deflectors in 1969 and ignition interlock to prevent children from opening the gate while the car was running in 1971.[2]

The 1951 Town & Country wagons were offered in the Windsor, Saratoga and New Yorker series. The New Yorker version disappeared for 1952, but reappeared for 1953 when the Saratoga series was dropped. The Windsor version lasted through 1960, then was moved to the new Newport series for 1961; the New Yorker edition continued through 1965. Then in 1969, the Town & Country became a series in its own right.

1960–1964[edit]

1961 Chrysler Newport Town and Country
Third generation
Chrysler Station Wagon.jpg
Overview
Production 1961–1964
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door station wagon
Layout FR layout
Related Chrysler 300
Chrysler Newport
Chrysler New Yorker

From 1960 to 1964, the New Yorker Town and Country remained on the 126 inch wheelbase, while first the Windsor then the Newport Town and Country models rode a wheelbase of 122 inches. These were the roomiest factory-bodied, automobile-based station wagons on the market at the time. Six roof pillar hardtop styling was available on these cars. These were the first large wagons, and among the largest automobiles ever built, with unibody construction.

1965–1968[edit]

1968 Chrysler Town and Country convertible
Fourth generation
1968 Chrysler Town & Country.jpg
Overview
Production 1965–1968
Assembly Detroit, Michigan
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door station wagon
Layout FR layout
Platform C-body
Related Chrysler New Yorker
Dodge Polara
Plymouth Fury
Dodge Monaco
Plymouth VIP
Chrysler 300
Chrysler Newport
Dodge Custom 880
Chrysler 300L
1968 Chrysler Town and Country convertible

1969–1973[edit]

Fifth generation
1972 Chrysler Town & Country station wagon.jpg
Overview
Production 1969–1973
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door station wagon
Layout FR layout
Platform C-body
Related Chrysler New Yorker
Dodge Polara
Plymouth Fury
Dodge Monaco
Plymouth VIP
Chrysler 300
Chrysler Newport
Plymouth Gran Fury

1974–1977[edit]

1975 Chrysler Town and Country
Sixth generation
1977 Chrysler Town & Country.jpg
Overview
Production 1974–1977
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door station wagon
Layout FR layout
Platform C-body
Related Chrysler New Yorker
Dodge Polara
Plymouth Fury
Dodge Monaco
Plymouth VIP
Chrysler 300
Chrysler Newport
Plymouth Gran Fury
1975 Chrysler Town and Country

1978–1981[edit]

Seventh generation
1980 Chrysler LeBaron wagon.jpg
Overview
Production 1978–1981
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door station wagon
Layout FR layout
Platform M-body
F-body
Related Chrysler New Yorker
Dodge Diplomat
Plymouth Caravelle
Dodge Aspen
Plymouth Volare
Powertrain
Engine 318 cu in (5.2 L) V8
360 cu in (5.9 L) V8
Dimensions
Wheelbase 112.7 in (2,863 mm)
Length 205.5 in (5,220 mm)
Width 74.2 in (1,885 mm)
Height 55.5 in (1,410 mm)

Starting in 1978, and ending in 1981, the Town & Country moved to the same bodytype or shell as the compact rear wheel drive Dodge Aspen/Plymouth Volare wagons. The more upmarkets were considered a separate series, designated the Chrysler M platform, which included the Chrysler LeBaron, Dodge Diplomat, and Plymouth Gran Fury as well as the Town & Country. There were, however, not many substantial differences in the chassis and powertrain, and only Town & Country had plastic woodgrain trim on the sides.

1982–1988[edit]

Eighth generation
1986ChryslerLeBaronTownCountryStationWagon.jpg
Overview
Production 1982–1988
Assembly Newark, Delaware
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door station wagon
2-door convertible
Layout FF layout
Platform K-body
Related Chrysler LeBaron
Dodge 400
Plymouth Reliant
Dodge Aries
Powertrain
Engine 2.2 L K I4
2.2 L Turbo I I4
2.5 L K I4
2.6 L Mitsubishi G54B I4
Transmission 3-speed automatic
Dimensions
Wheelbase 100.4 in (2,550 mm)
Length 179.0 in (4,547 mm)
Width 68.0 in (1,727 mm)
Height 53.2 in (1,351 mm)

From 1982 to 1988, the Town & Country name was used on a station wagon version of the K-based, front wheel drive LeBaron, featuring plastic woodgrain exterior trim. A convertible version was manufactured from 1983 to 1986 which featured plastic woodgrain paneling to bring up comparisons to the original 1940s convertibles.

1982–1988 Town & Country wagon
Town & Country convertible

1990–present[edit]

2011 Chrysler Town & Country

In 1990 the Town & Country name was applied to a the new Chrysler branded luxury minivan, based on the Dodge Grand Caravan and Plymouth Grand Voyager, which had both been introduced in 1984. The Town & Country has been redesigned in 1991, 1996, 2001, and 2008, with each generation adding new technology and numerous industry firsts.


References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Langworth, Richard M. (1994). Chrysler and Imperial: The Postwar Years. Motorbooks International. ISBN 0-87938-034-9. 
  2. ^ "The Chrysler Town & Country woodie wagons, station wagons, and cars". Allpar, LLC. Retrieved 2007-11-21. 

External links[edit]