Chrysler Town & Country (1941–1988)

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Chrysler Town & Country
1972 Chrysler Town & Country.jpg
1972 Chrysler Town & Country 4-door wagon
Overview
Manufacturer Chrysler
Production 1940-1941
1945–1988
Model years 1941-1942
1946-1988
Body and chassis
Class Full-size (1941-1942)
(1946–1977)
Mid-size (1978–1981)
Compact (1982–1988)
Chronology
Successor Chrysler Town & Country minivan (for 1990)

The Chrysler Town & Country was a wagon manufactured by Chrysler from 1940-1942 and from 1945-1988 (during World War II, a three-model-year hiatus, from 1943 to 1945, was starkly imposed upon by the United States Federal Government until the end of World War II during calendar year 1945). The Town & Country was also sold as a sedan, coupe and as a convertible from 1947-1950 and from 1983–1986. 1988 was the last model year for the Chrysler Town & Country wagon, after that and partly during one model year (1989), the Town & Country nameplate was off the market until the 1990 model year when Chrysler re-introduced the Town & Country nameplate as a rebadged variant Chrysler Town & Country minivan.

Chrysler's Town & Country wagon was distinguished by woodgrain paneling on the body sides and tailgate, a feature also associated with competitive wagons such as the AMC Ambassador, Buick Estate, Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser, Ford Country Squire, and the Mercury Colony Park.

Chrysler re-introduced the Town & Country nameplate as a luxury rebadged variant of the Dodge Grand Caravan/Plymouth Grand Voyager minivan for 1990 and continued to sell this incarnation of the Chrysler Town & Country until 2017, when Chrysler had reintroduced the Pacifica nameplate for their minivan.

A simulated woodgrain appearance reappeared on other Chrysler products, such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Chrysler PT Cruiser.

1941–1942[edit]

First Generation (pre-war)
1942 Chrysler Town & Country 'Barrel Back' Station Wagon p1.JPG
1942 Chrysler Town & Country 4-door 8-passenger wagon (pre-war)
Overview
Production 1940-1941 (pre-war)
Model years 1941-1942 (pre-war)
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door wagon (1941–1942)
Layout FR layout
Related Chrysler Imperial
Chrysler Windsor
DeSoto Custom

1941
During the 1941 model year, the 1941 Chrysler Town & Country 4-door 8-passenger wagon made its debut as the first true original woodie wagon with an all-steel roof. The roof used, was that of the concurrent Chrysler Imperial 4-door 8-passenger limousine, which led to a unique (and compromised) rear loading configuration with wooden double doors (also called 'Barrel Back' doors) that opened out from the center beneath the fixed backlight (rear window).

1942

1942 Chrysler Town & Country 4-door 8-passenger wagon (pre-war)

During the 1942 model year, after only a two-model-year production run and after only less than one-thousand units produced (since the 1941 model year), also with only a few improvements on the otherwise unchanged 1942 Chrysler Town & Country 4-door 8-passenger wagon, all production of the Chrysler Town & Country 4-door 8-passenger wagon abruptly ceased during the start of World War II and never again returned to production since that abrupt (and early) end to the 1942 model year as ordered by The United States Federal Government.

1946-1950[edit]

First Generation (post-war)
Chrysler Town Country Convertible 1948.jpg
1948 Chrysler Town & Country 2-door convertible (post-war)
Overview
Production 1945-1950 (post-war)
Model years 1946-1950 (post-war)
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door sedan (1946-1948)
2-door hardtop (1950 only)
2-door convertible (1946-1949)
Layout FR layout
Related Chrysler Imperial
Chrysler Windsor
DeSoto Custom

1946
After World War II, the Town & Country nameplate returned, though the 4-door 8-passenger wagon never did. Only the 1946 Chrysler Town & Country 4-door sedan and the 1946 Chrysler Town & Country 2-door convertible were just two of the Chrysler Town & Country offerings during the 1946 model year.

During three model years later (1949), General Motors would claim the distinction of total mass-production of the first pillarless 2-door hardtop offering; however, Chrysler built seven pre-production Town & Country cars of this body style during the 1946 model year, of which only one survives today. The last true original Chrysler Town & Country 2-door hardtop woodie offering, ever, would go into full production during four model years later (1950).

1947
During the 1947 model year, the 1947 Chrysler Town & Country 4-door sedan and the 1947 Chrysler Town & Country 2-door convertible each carried over with just a few improvements over the previous model year (1946).

1948
During the 1948 model year, while the 1948 Chrysler Town & Country 4-door sedan was in its last model year of production ever after only a three-model-year production run (since the 1946 model year), the 1948 Chrysler Town & Country 2-door convertible carried over with just very few improvements over the previous model year (1947).

1949
The 1949 Chrysler Town & Country 2-door convertible, which carried over with so very few improvements over the previous model year (1948), was in its last model year of production, which was the only Chrysler Town & Country offering during the 1949 model year after a four-model-year production run (since the 1946 model year), during the next model year (1950), Chrysler would produce the last true original woodie offering—ever—as the Town & Country 2-door hardtop.

1950
The 1950 Chrysler Town & Country 2-door hardtop was the last true original woodie offering, ever, during its one-model-year production run, especially since production on all true original Chrysler Town & Country woodie offerings all ceased during the end of the 1950 model year.

1950 Chrysler Town & Country 2-door hardtop (post-war)

The 1950 Crosley Hot Shot is often given credit for the first production disc brakes but the Chrysler Imperial Crown actually had them first as standard equipment at the start 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 1950–1959
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door station wagon
Layout FR layout
Related Chrysler Windsor
Chrysler Saratoga
Chrysler New Yorker
DeSoto Custom
DeSoto Powermaster
DeSoto Firesweep
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 for 1951 and rear-facing third row seats for 1957.

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 for 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 1959–1964
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door hardtop station wagon
Layout FR layout
Related Chrysler 300
Chrysler Newport
Chrysler New Yorker

For model years 1960 through 1962, 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.

For 1963, all Chrysler models including New Yorker standardized on the shorter Newport 122 inch wheelbase. Both New Yorker and Newport trim level Town and Country wagons continued as four-door hardtops through 1964, making Chrysler the last American station wagons offered in this short-lived configuration. Powertrains and standard equipment remained familiar. A 340 hp 4-BBL 413 cu.in. V8 with pushbutton Torqueflite AT, plus power steering and power brakes remained standard on the New Yorker T&C. The Newport T&C shared that model’s standard 265 hp 2-BBL 361 cu. in. V8 with 3-speed synchromesh transmission and floor shifter. Both continued to offer 6 and 9 passenger variants, plus a long list of optional equipment. The New Yorker remained unique among large American wagons, offering the option of bucket front seats with center cushion and folding armrest.

1965–1968[edit]

Fourth generation
1968 Chrysler Town & Country.jpg
Overview
Production 1964–1968
Model years 1965–1968
Assembly Detroit, Michigan
Body and chassis
Body style
Layout FR layout
Platform C-body
Related

All of Chrysler’s full sized cars, except the Imperial, received major makeovers for the 1965 model year. They were the work of Chief of Design, Elwood Engel, who was hired away from Ford Motor Company a few years earlier. The unitized body and chassis, with longitudinal front torsion bars and rear leaf springs carried over from the prior generation.

Automatic transmission equipped cars dropped the dashboard pushbutton shift control, and converted to the new industry standard PRNDL sequence shift lever, either column or floor mounted. Dodge and Chrysler models shared passenger compartment structures, thus interior dimensions were essentially identical. The Town and Country wagons shared the 121 in (3,073 mm) wheelbase and design with Plymouth and Dodge wagons, while other Chysler body styles rode on a 3 in (76 mm) longer wheelbase. However, the wagons had the same overall length as sedans, at just under 220 in (5,588 mm). All Chrysler brand models and body styles featured rear wheel opening skirts, including the Town & Country.

Thin pillars and tall glass shared with 4 door sedans made for generous space and outward visibility. Straight roof rails on the long roof rack had adjustable cross bars. All Newport models including wagons had a larger standard engine for 1965: The 3.375” stroke LB engine was bored to 4.25” yielding 383 cubic inches. With a 2BBL carburetor and single exhaust, the regular fuel 383 produced 270 HP. A premium fuel 383 engine with 4BBL and dual exhausts producing 305 HP was an available option. New Yorker wagons continued to feature the 413 cu. in. 4BBL V8, Torqueflite automatic transmission, plus power steering and power brakes as standard equipment. Both trim levels were available in 6 or 9 passenger versions. However, this was the last year that wagons would be available in either New Yorker or Newport trim levels.

For 1967, Town & Country would become a model designation for the one and only wagon in the Chrysler lineup. Torqueflite AT, power steering and power brakes were standard, as were exterior trim and vinyl bench seat interior shared with the Newport series. Individual buckets with center armrest and passenger recliner from the New Yorker option list remained available for one more model year. Chrysler’s 2BBL regular fuel 383 V8 became the standard engine, with the 4BBL, dual exhaust, premium fuel 383 V8 available as an option. New in all Chryslers for 1966, the 3.75” stroke RB engine was bored to 4.32” yielding 440 cubic inches. With a 10.0:1 compression ratio, premium fuel, a 4BBL carb and dual exhausts, the 440 cu. in. V8 produced 350 HP and was the top power option for Town & Country. Also available for the first time on all large Chryslers were front disc brakes, which required 15” wheels with unique wheel covers. With optional front discs, T&C wagons wore size 8.45x15 extra load range tires. With standard drum brakes, tire size was 9.00x14.

1968 Chrysler Town and Country convertible

In 1966, exterior sheetmetal for all large Chryslers was new, with concave side cove as a key design element. Interiors were updated with a new instrument panel, perfectly symmetrical in shape and featuring an inverted fan style speedometer. Chassis dimensions and the greenhouses for 4-door sedans and wagons carried over unchanged. A single Town & Country model in two or three seat versions was offered. The exterior and interior trim matched the Newport series, and featured a standard all vinyl notchback bench seat with folding center armrest. A new seating option was Chrysler’s 50/50 3-in-1 split bench seat, shared with the Newport Custom sedan. Standard and optional powertrains remained the same. Sales literature for 1967 showed front disc brakes as standard equipment on Town & Country, along with the requisite 15” wheels, 8.45x15 extra load tires, and restyled “disc brake” wheel covers. However, many ‘67 had 14” wheels and Newport wheel covers because they had drum brakes. These wagons wore size 8.85x14 tires.

For 1968, all new US cars were equipped with front and rear side marker lights. Chrysler bumpers, grille, hood, deck lid, rear fascia and lamps all changed significantly, although side sheet metal, wagon tailgate and rear lamps remained the same. Functionally, there were few changes. Better breathing cylinder heads boosted output of the standard 383 cu. in. 2BBL V8 to 290 HP. Front disc brakes returned to the options list, while front drum brakes and size 8.85x14 tires were standard. Inside, standard notchback and optional 50/50 front seats continued, sharing seat and door trim patterns with the Newport Custom series. The big change in Town & Country appearance came in the form of simulated walnut grain paneling, filling the coved portion of the body sides and surrounded by a stainless steel molding. The wood paneling was standard on all Town & Country wagons, with a delete option offered

The original Town & Country genuine wood was available on coupes and convertibles as well as wagons, the simulated wood panels were offered as an option on Newport 2-door hardtop and convertible for 1968 and 1969 model years.

1969–1973[edit]

fifth generation
1972 Chrysler Town & Country station wagon.jpg
1972 Chrysler Town & Country 4-door wagon
Overview
Production 1968–1973
Model years 1969–1973
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door wagon
Layout FR layout
Platform C-body
Related Imperial
Chrysler New Yorker
Chrysler Newport
Dodge Monaco
Dodge Polara
Plymouth Fury

For 1969, a major restyle brought a dramatic new look to all full sized Chrysler Corporation cars. Called "fuselage design", it featured a pronounced side curvature from the rocker panels all the way to the roof rails. Plymouth and Dodge models, excluding wagons, shared passenger compartment structures and greenhouses riding on 120” and 122” wheelbases respectively. Similarly, Chrysler and Imperial models, excluding T&C wagon, shared slightly longer passenger compartments and greenhouses, riding on 124” and 127” wheelbases respectively (all of the Imperial’s longer wheelbase was in the front clip). As in the prior generation, all Chrysler Corp. full sized wagons shared a common greenhouse on a unitized body and chassis with longitudinal front torsion bars, rear leaf springs and the Dodge’s 122” wheelbase. And, as before, the wagon’s shorter wheelbase was offset by additional rear overhang. 1969 Town and Country wagons were nearly identical to other Chrysler body styles in overall length at just under 225”.

Fuselage era Chryslers all featured a full width loop style chrome front bumper. Quad headlamps and grille were recessed inside the loop, with differing grille inserts for each series. Turn signal and parking lamps were recessed into the bumper below the head lamps. Body sides were simple and smooth with a subtle character line originating at the front bumper, descending slightly for the length of the car, and ending at the wrap-around rear bumper. On Town and Country wagons, this character line was also the location of the lower molding surrounding the standard wood grain side paneling, simulated cherry for 1969. The fuselage profile extended the length of a full sized “long roof” made for a rather striking looking wagon. At the trailing edge of the long roof, body sides, D pillars, and a unique roof top air foil formed one continuous arch over the tailgate opening. The airfoil directed airflow from the roof downward and over the tail gate window, intended to keep the glass clear of dirt accumulation.

Town and Country’s grille insert and wheel covers for this new generation were from the New Yorker, while front seating choices and interior trim were again drawn from the Newport Custom. The new instrument panel featured a symmetrical padded loop echoing the design theme of the front end. The inverted fan style speedometer from 1967 & 68 continued, balanced on the passenger side by a large glove box door. A unique Chrysler feature was floodlighting of the instruments and controls instead of more typical back lighting. The effect met with mixed reviews over several model years.

For 1969, ALL full sized Chrysler Corp vehicles returned to standard 15” wheels. This accommodated the growing share of cars equipped with front disc brakes, which were updated to a new simpler and less costly single piston sliding caliper design from the earlier 4-piston fixed caliper type. Once again, Chrysler sales literature listed power front disc brakes as standard equipment on Town and Country. But, once again, some left the factory with front drum brakes instead. Regardless of brake type, all T&Cs wore standard size 8.85x15 tires on 6.5”x15” heavy duty rims. Powertrain choices for Town and Country remained unchanged.

Chrysler played catch-up on some wagon specific features in 1969: The tailgate became a two-way door-gate, able to swing sideways or drop downward, a feature Ford had pioneered in 1965. And, the rear axle track was widened nearly 3 inches (76 mm) to 63.4”, enabling a full 48.5” wide load floor between the wheel wells, a feature GM had pioneered, also in 1965. Chrysler sought to leapfrog those competitors with a few wagon only features of its own, including passenger assist handles integrated into the rear opening trim molding, and a tailgate window washer, contained entirely inside the tailgate.

After so many changes in the prior year, it is no surprise that there were few changes for 1970. Most US makes including Chrysler adopted bias belted tires. They were a short-lived hybrid that combined familiar soft riding bias body plies with tread stabilizing belts used in European style radial tires. One well known brand name at the time was Goodyear’s Polyglas. All 1970 Chryslers featured standard bias belted tires, with Town & Country wagons wearing size J78-15. J identified the second largest size available in load capacity, 78 indicated a cross-section height-to-width, or aspect ratio of 78%, and 15 being the nominal rim diameter in inches, as before.

A minor styling change was the addition of a dogleg or kink in the lower body side character line on the rearward half of each rear door. It was not shared with other Chrysler 4-door body styles, nor with Plymouth or Dodge wagons. Why Chrysler incurred the expense of re-tooling unique rear door skins for the ’70 Town and Country remains a mystery. Dimensions, specifications, standard and optional equipment remained virtually unchanged. Except… you guessed it… Front disc brakes moved back to the option list one last time.

The late 1960s proved to be a financially challenging time for Chrysler Corporation, as tightening emissions standards and safely requirements spread resources thin. Consequently, the biennial mid-cycle face-lift originally intended to be the new model year 1971 corporate large car lineup was postponed one year. Thus, all 1971 Chryslers, including Town and Country, looked virtually unchanged from the prior year. One interior change planned that did make it into the 1971 cars was the instrument panel surround… Its upper bolster became a bit more massive, while the lower bolster was reduced in size eliminating the lower ledge. and the glove box door received a color keyed overlay. Standard tires for the wagons were enlarged to L84x15, a size shared with the Imperial, and unique to Chrysler Corp. Torsion Quiet Ride, comprising a set of tuned rubber isolators for the front suspension sub-frame and rear leaf-spring mounts, was added to wagons. It had been introduced as a new feature for all other Chrysler models and body styles in 1970. And finally, for the third time, front disc brakes appeared on the Town and Country standard equipment list… this time for good.

Additional unseen changes were related to Federal Emission Standards and the requirement that ALL 1971 cars run on unleaded regular grade gasoline. Compression ratios on all engines were reduced to ~8.5:1. For just this year, engine power and torque specifications were advertised using both the familiar SAE gross rating method (for the last time), and SAE net rating method, which remains the standard today. (Net ratings are more representative of engine output as-installed since they measure output when the engine is fully “dressed” with production intake and exhaust plumbing, cooling system, and accessory loads in place.) Revised ratings for Town and Country engines were: 383 cu. In. 2-BBL V8: 275 (190 net) hp with 375 (305 net) lb-ft; 383 cu. In. 4-BBL V8: 300 (240 net) hp with 410 (310 net) lb-ft; 440 cu. In. 4-BBL: 335 (220 net) hp with 460 (350 net) lb-ft. Dual exhaust systems were no longer used.

For 1972, the mid-cycle restyle originally intended for the prior year made its appearance. The overall design of Chrysler models remained very similar. The uni-body platform and all key dimensions remained unchanged. The fuselage theme evolved toward an even simpler body side, still with a subtle rearward sloping character line, but with a squared off shoulder at the window sill. The front bumper retained its loop form, adding a center divider splitting the grille into halves. Greenhouses for all 4 door models remained unchanged, while two-door coupe rooflines grew more formal, and convertibles were dropped. After many years of declining sales, the 300 series was eliminated, replaced by a New Yorker Brougham series with plusher interior choices and more standard equipment, slotted between the Imperial and New Yorker.

Town and Country for 1972 borrowed most of its exterior trim from the New Yorker. Die cast grille inserts were shared with New Yorker, and rear wheel openings once again wore fender skirts. Brushed bright metal moldings about two inches wide ran the length of the car from front bumper to rear, and served as the lower border for the standard simulated wood grain side panels. Standard wheel covers were shared with the Newport, and were identical to the 1969 wheel covers, then shared with the New Yorker. Inside, the front seating choices and door trim were again shared with the Newport Custom. Seatbacks for the standard notch-back front seat featured a high back design with integral head rests. And, Chrysler's two-way door-gate became a three-way, able to open as door with the glass up.

Unfortunately, as the Town and Country (and every other car in the ‘70s) grew heavier, available powertrain choices became fewer and weaker. Compression ratios were further reduced to 8.2:1. An increase in bore from 4.25” in the 383 to 4.34” produced a new LB series engine displacement of 400 cu. in. With a 2-BBL carburetor, it just matched the 190 net horsepower and 310 lb·ft (420 N·m) net torque ratings of the prior year 383s. The only remaining optional engine was the 440 cu. in. 4-BBL V8 producing 215 net horsepower and 345 lb·ft (468 N·m) net torque.

1973 was the 5th and final year of what had been planned as a four-year platform cycle. A federal mandate to equip MY 1973 cars with bumpers that could absorb up to 5 mph (8.0 km/h) impacts with no functional damage was a major challenge, since the large cars Chrysler Corp had designed to comply with this standard were delayed until MY 1974. The stopgap solution was to replace the fuselage era signature loop front bumpers with a generic looking grille and conventional looking bumpers wearing large black rubber impact absorbers, front and rear. The absorbers added more than five inches (127 mm) to the overall length of every car, and unfortunately, looked like the afterthought that they were. Apart from 5 mph (8.0 km/h) bumpers, other changes for the 1973 Town and Country were few: The 50/50 3 in 1 front seat had proven sufficiently popular that it became standard equipment, as did the higher torque 440 cu.in. V8 engine, which featured standard electronic ignition for the first time.

1974–1977[edit]

1975 Chrysler Town and Country
Sixth generation
1977 Chrysler Town & Country.jpg
Overview
Production 1973–1977
Model years 1974–1977
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door wagon
Layout FR layout
Platform C-body
Related Imperial
Chrysler New Yorker
Chrysler Newport
Plymouth Gran Fury
Plymouth Fury
Dodge Monaco
1975 Chrysler Town and Country

For model year 1974, Chrysler Corporation introduced its new large car lineup originally planned a year earlier. The timing could hardly have been worse… The Arab oil embargo of late 1973 had Americans waiting in line for gasoline coast to coast, sometimes for hours. Big cars quickly became a glut on the market, despite the fact that Chrysler’s new models were some of the best large cars Chrysler had produced in years. The new styling was a clear departure from the fuselage generation, and appeared to share the proportions and design cues of GM’s 1971 large car redesign. Body sides had a more pronounced tumble home. A-pillars were thin, and beltlines were noticeable lower, yielding significantly more glass area. Energy absorbing bumpers were nicely integrated into the designs, front and rear.

For this generation, full-sized Plymouths and Dodges, excluding wagons, shared more than just body shells. They also shared a common 122” wheelbase, instrument panels, and most exterior body stampings. Likewise, Chrysler and Imperial models shared slightly longer body shells on a common 124” wheelbase, plus instrument panels, and exterior body stampings. And, once again, Chrysler Corporation wagons would share a common greenhouse across divisions… although this time, all wagons would roll on the longer Chrysler 124” wheelbase. All remained large enough to swallow the ubiquitous 4x8 sheet of plywood flat on its floor with the three-way door-gate closed… no evidence of any attempt to follow GM’s clamshell style rear closure, fortunately. The roof was slightly elevated aft of the C-pillar, and a body colored air deflector at the trailing edge remained a standard feature, although it was no longer integrated into the body structure. Fully skirted rear wheel openings and simulated woodgrain side and doorgate panel appliqués remained standard equipment on all Town and Country wagons.

A significant safety improvement was achieved with relocation of the fuel tank from the left rear quarter where it had resided since the 1950s, to under the floor just behind the rear axle. Under floor storage space was reduced on 2-seat wagons, but revisions in the 3rd seat folding mechanism minimized any compromises in seating utility. The space freed up in the left rear quarter panel became a lockable storage compartment.

Although the overall size of 1974 Chryslers was barely larger than the fuselage generation that preceded it, weight continued to creep upward. Additional emission controls, safety features, and growing standard equipment lists were having the same effect on every automaker. The 3-seat T&C tipped the scales at just under 5,000 pounds, about 300 pounds heavier than ’72 fuselage generation T&C. With air conditioning, and a typical complement of power assists, the average ’74 T&C weighed about 5,200 pounds. Standard tires were size L78x15 bias belted on size 6.5x15 inch rims. Steel belted radials were optional.

For 1975, changes were few, and most were shared across the entire US industry, including Chrysler. Those lower rolling resistance radial-ply tires became standard equipment, in size LR78x15 for the Town and Country. Every Chrysler was equipped with an exhaust system catalytic converter for the first time, requiring no lead gasoline to run properly. The 400 cu.in. 2BBL V8 engine returned as an fuel economy alternative to the still standard 440 engine. And, as a minor appearance upgrade for all Chrysler models: Lower instrument panels, steering columns, and steering wheels became color coordinated… They had been black.

1975 was a year of product line consolidation for Chrysler. After 19 years of marketing Imperial as a separate marque, Chrysler reluctantly conceded what sales statistics had told them for years… A pair of highly trimmed Chryslers could not compete effectively with Cadillac, Lincoln, or the premium European brands capturing the attention of American luxury car shoppers. Chrysler pulled the plug on the Imperial brand, and recast most of the Imperial’s unique trim… waterfall grille, concealed headlamps, extended rear fenders, vertical tail lamps, and loose pillow seating… as the 1976 New Yorker Brougham. Similarly, what had been New Yorker interior and exterior trim became the 1976 Newport Custom. The Town and Country, unchanged inside and out, soldiered on. It remained as large, elegant, and well equipped as ever, but the market’s interest in giant luxury station wagons was waning.

1977 would be the last year of Chrysler Town and Country as a traditional American full-sized premium station wagon. Both GM and Ford would downsize and continue traditional big wagons, thru the 1980s for Ford, and into the 1990s for GM. But at Chrysler, the beloved Town and Country moniker would take on new roles in new market segments.

1978–1981[edit]

Seventh generation
1980 Chrysler LeBaron wagon.jpg
Overview
Production 1977–1981
Model years 1978–1981
Assembly Newark, Delaware
St. Louis, Missouri
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door wagon
Layout FR layout
Platform M-body
F-body
Related Chrysler New Yorker
Dodge Diplomat
Plymouth Caravelle
Dodge Aspen
Plymouth Volare
Powertrain
Engine 225 cu in (3.7 L) I6
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)

From 1978 through 1981, the Town & Country badge designated the simulated wood trimmed wagon model of the mid-sized Chrysler LeBaron series, built on the Chrysler M platform, which included Plymouth Gran Fury, Dodge Diplomat, and Chrysler LeBaron. Although trimmed more elegantly inside and out, there were not many substantial differences in the chassis and powertrain, between Chrysler's downsized intermediate line-up and its compact rear wheel drive Dodge Aspen/Plymouth Volare models introduced in 1976. Wheelbases, tread width and interior dimensions were identical, leaving only front/rear overhangs and overall length to differentiate mid-sized from compact.

1982–1988[edit]

Eighth generation
1986ChryslerLeBaronTownCountryStationWagon.jpg
Overview
Production 1981–1988
Model years 1982–1988
Assembly Newark, Delaware (wagon)
St. Louis, Missouri (convertibles)
Body and chassis
Body style 4-door wagon (1982-88)
2-door convertible (1983-86)
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)

For model years 1982 through 1988, the Town & Country name was used on the wagon version of the K-body based front wheel drive LeBaron, featuring simulated woodgrain exterior trim. A limited production convertible version was manufactured for model years 1983 to 1986 and also featured simulated woodgrain paneling and was meant to reflect the classic look of original 1940s and early 1950s convertibles. The convertibles came standard with Mark Cross leather interior.

Chrysler's K-body platform models, including the LeBaron-based Town & Countries, were eventually phased out by the late 1980s. The Town & County name would be briefly absent from the start of the 1989 model year, but returned for 1990 on a newly branded luxury Chrysler Town & Country minivan. Like most Town & Country models of the past, the new minivan also featured woodgrain exterior trim.

Town & Country wagon
Town & Country convertible

1990–2016[edit]

2011 Chrysler Town & Country

Initially planned for the 1989 model year, the Chrysler Town & Country returned in the spring of 1989 as an early 1990 model year introduction, only this time around, it became part of the new\Chrysler Town & Country luxury minivan line up, which was based on the Dodge Grand Caravan and Plymouth Grand Voyager minivan cousins, each of which, were added to Chrysler's corporate minivan line up during the start of the 1987 model year as long wheelbase/extended length versions of their standard wheelbase/standard length Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager minivan cousins, which had been introduced for the first time ever during the start of the 1984 model year line up. After its return early in the start of the 1990 model year line up, the Chrysler Town & Country minivan has been redesigned for each of the 1991, the 1996, the 2001 and the 2008 model year line ups, with each following generation adding new technology and with 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. 

External links[edit]