8 March 2014
1941 Chrysler Town and Country Nine-Passenger "Barrelback" Station Wagon
- Chassis no. 7700759
$275,000 - $350,000
To be auctioned on
- One of the finest original, unrestored Barrelbacks in existence
- Owned for decades by Glenn Gould, of the Wells Auto Museum
- Recent mechanical sorting by Steve Babinsky
- Only 56,000 actual miles
The Chrysler Town and Country of 1941 and 1942 holds a special place among wood-bodied automobiles. It was a deluxe, expensive automobile that was built on the Windsor chassis, and it was beautifully trimmed in leather and hand-finished to the highest of standards. Rather than being a car for the servants to take on grocery trips, it was considered a palatial “limousine for the country,” and it had a place of honor in the carriage houses of grand estates up and down the Eastern Seaboard. As a result, these models, known as “Barrelbacks,” for their curved, cabinet-like rear decks, are treasured by “woodie” enthusiasts.
This particular Town and Country, a nine-passenger model with jump seats, was owned for over 50 years by Glenn Gould, an early enthusiast from Wells, Maine. Mr. Gould built a fine collection of Brass Era and Classic automobiles, which was housed for many years in the “hidden treasure” collection of the Wells Auto Museum. The Town and Country, however, was not always a collectible. It was kept at the Gould family’s summer home in Vermont, and for most of its time with the family, it was driven during their visits there. In 1972, the last year that it was registered in Vermont, it was removed and sent to Wells, where it remained in the family’s museum until recently.
This vehicle is an amazing survivor, as it has been preserved indoors for so many years. The original leather interior, beautifully worn by age but not use, is soft, shiny, and without splits. The chrome still shines, and most impressively, the original wood is solid, intact, and delightfully honest, without the heavily varnished, glistening sheen of so many re-wooded cars. There is no rot or rust to be found anywhere in the body, which is not surprising, as this car has probably never spent a night outdoors in its entire life.
In its current ownership, the Town and Country was fully sorted mechanically by renowned restorer Steve Babinsky, who is well known for his sympathetic work of preserving and maintaining unrestored cars. With the hydraulic brakes now looked after, the consignor reports that the Chrysler runs and drives as good as new. It handles well, starts instantly, and behaves as only a well-maintained original car can. It will be welcomed into the Preservation Class of most concours, and it would make an ideal car for the AACA’s Historic Preservation of Original Features display. As it is now a CCCA Full Classic, it is also eligible for showing at Grand Classics all over the country.
That this Town and Country became a collector’s item is kismet. It was owned and treasured for decades by one of the beloved pioneers of the hobby, who preserved it very much as it was built. Today, it is presented as an honest, beautifully preserved, and wonderfully original car. It is destined to be as appreciated by its new owner as it was by Glenn Gould and his family for half a century, whether in town or country.
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