In certain cultures, it is believed that wood is capable of absorbing and storing the essence of human contact, like some instant-on organic recorder. Perhaps it’s that mystical connection that makes old wood-bodied cars so attractive to car buffs… and makes the material so welcomed for use in a model.
Danbury Mint’s 1948 Chrysler Town & Country wears thin lumber on its sides, and another organic material – leather – on its seats. And while we can’t attest to any psychic emanations from the aging (circa 1994) model, we can say that the car is acquiring a mellow, soft-edged patina as the years go by.
It was a great release then, and it’s still a knockout. On display, the heavy sculpt wears a great deep “Regal” maroon, and the wood cladding is held in place by neatly tooled, cast, and painted “wooden” bracing made to look like the ash that the real T&C wore. A neat feature is the real pin hinges at the trunk – and the crisply cast, beautifully flashed chrome all around.
The opening doors, hood, and trunk all fit the shell on great shut lines, in spite of the added planking and decking. Under the hood, the “Spitfire” eight is only moderately wired and plumbed, but it wears authentic colors and a tampo’d-on instruction deco on its oil-bath air filter; follow the detail below and you’ll find a metal-intensive, nicely turned out chassis and drivetrain. Creak those deck hinges open for a look at the stowed spare affixed to the carpeted floor in the trunk.
The aforementioned leather in the interior is thin-sheet stuff – a good thing, as the material was stretched over the pleat-patterned seat forms to look (and feel) like one of the very few options offered on this top-of-the-line Chrysler. Above the carpeted floor there’s a great dash; below that is a pair of eye-scrunchingly complete heater blowers.
It’s long been retired, but not hard to find; new-in-box examples are still occasionally trading, and decently treated ones (like this auction-bought sample) going for a fraction of the original asking price of around $120.00, if minus the packaging or provenance. We’re considering adding another variant – Danbury’s 1942 Town & Country sedan, also with wood sides – to keep this one company. Call it, “once more, with feeling”.