Amelia Island | Lot 203
1941 Chrysler Town and Country ‘Barrel-Back’ Nine-Passenger Station Wagon
$275,000 - $325,000 USD
| Amelia Island, Florida
22 May 2021
- One of just 997 produced for 1941, including 797 nine-passenger versions
- Appealing and distinctive “Barrel-Back” styling
- Equipped with optional fog lights, roof rack, and pushbutton radio
- Beautiful mahogany and ash wood interior and exterior
- An older restoration that still presents beautifully
In 1939, the Boyertown Body Works of Boyertown, Pennsylvania was commissioned by the Chrysler Corporation to build a few station wagon bodies using Dodge chassis. One of the designs was called the Town and Country—allegedly it was said, because the front of the car looked “town,” and the rear “country.” The name stuck in the mind of Chrysler Division President David A. Wallace, who secretly commissioned the engineering department at Chrysler’s Highland Park plant to build his vision of what the car should be. Once completed, the car was shown to top brass; it was immediately ordered into production and introduced in March 1941 as a mid-year model.
Dubbed a “barrel-back” due to its unique design, it was essentially a station wagon available in six- and nine-passenger models. Rather than a conventional trunk or tailgate, the luggage compartment was accessed via two doors hinged at the sides like two halves of a barrel. All Town and Country examples were powered by Chrysler’s 112-horsepower L-head six-cylinder engine and standard equipment included Fluid-Drive transmission, electric clock, turn signals, leather upholstery and safety glass throughout. The six-passenger model sold for $1,412, while the nine-passenger model, with its auxiliary bench seat, sold for $1,492. In total, 997 units were produced for 1941, of which 797 were nine-passenger versions.
The Town and Country’s unique wooden parts came from Pekin Wood Products in Helena, Arkansas. From there, they were shipped to Chrysler’s Jefferson Avenue plant in Detroit for assembly. The wood framing was assembled prior to being fitted to the body, which required extensive hand-formed contouring of the compound curved frames so they mated to the metal body parts correctly. Bodies included white ash framing over mahogany panels.
Finished in a factory-correct maroon over red leather, this stunning nine-passenger Town and Country exemplifies the model’s exemplary style and craftsmanship. An older restoration, it presents beautifully inside as well as out. Underneath, the car is very tidy, and the wood components present minimal cracking and even gaps. It is equipped with options including fog lights, Firestone wide-whitewall tires, auxiliary roof rack, and pushbutton radio.
The darling of the country club set when new, early Town and Country Barrel-Backs such as this remain desirable to collectors today due to their low production and classic, stunning good looks.