The Chrysler automobile company was introduced in January of 1924, just a few years prior to Ford’s introduction of the first production station wagon. Chrysler was founded by Walter P. Chrysler, a man with wealth and past leadership experience in other auto companies. By 1928 Chrysler acquired the Dodge Brothers company, and also created the Plymouth brand name.
station wagons of the time were basic people movers.
Often called Depot Hacks they were used for moving travelers and
luggage to and from hotels, railroad stations, beaches and more. They were usually wood bodied on a
production chassis. These vehicles
either had home built bodies, or bodies constructed by one of the many
market companies around in the twenties and thirties. (in that
time a customer could purchase just a barebones driveable chassis on
which to build their own vehicle.)
original Town and Country series included wood bodied sedans,
station wagons. These were produced
(except during wartime) up through 1950. Chrysler
retired the Town and Country name as station wagons became all
grew in size and options through the 1950’s.
The Town and Country name was polished up and reintroduced in 1964 for the Newport based station wagon. By 1965 Chrysler retooled and brought out the new C body. 1965 Chrysler sales improved 55% over the previous year.
Chrysler Town and Country continued the 1965 styling with little change. In 1967 the Town and Country was available at
for the six passenger model, and $4,390 for the nine passenger. Total production of the six passenger model
was 7,183 and 7,520 of the nine passenger models were produced.
Very few of either car are seen on the road
today; and unfortunately little information is available on them.
In the Chrysler standard catalog the 1960's Town and Country is only
found buried in the Newport sections. Looking online the only
Town and Country's mentioned are the ones of the forties, eighties and
the minivans. The Town and Country models of the 1960's appear
not only to have been lost to the scrap heap, but forgotten as well.
Our Chrysler joined the family January 27th, 1968. My grandfather paid $3,476.00 for the car along with a 1960 Rambler in trade. My grandfather told me that he first saw a 1967 Town and Country when traveling in Canada, and decided then that he wanted one. Until 1968 the family had driven a mid 1950's Chrysler station wagon which apparently was even larger than the 1967. The station wagons served as the road trip vehicles for our family. My father remembers a trip west in the old blue Chrysler just before he went to college.
new Chrysler served the same purpose
as the old one. My grandparents were fond of camping and the '67
went on many camping trips. One time my father drove his VW
Karmann Ghia up to Canada to meet his parents. After meeting they
rode together in the Chrysler towing the Ghia behind. I am sure
something the size of the Chrysler never even noticed that little
Volkswagen holding on for dear life in its wake. (The wheelbarrow
photo is of my grandfather, the Chrysler, and myself aged two years.)
Eventually my grandparents bought a Prowler camper
and towed this behind the Chrysler. They also had a motorboat
which was towed by the '67. When I was ten years old they
took me on a camping trip. Sure enough the trusty Chrysler was
our mode of transportation. Through the 1980's my grandparents
continued to use the car on forays
from New Hampshire. They would drive the '67 to Holidays at our
house in Massachusetts, I remember my mother's comment as she saw it
pulling in one Thanksgiving," here comes the hearse!" They also
took the car on trips to Nova Scotia where some of my grandmother's
family still lives.
In 1987 my grandparents bought a new and much
smaller Chrysler Town and Country, but they kept the '67 clean and dry
their large garage. They still took it out for towing and very
long trips. Throughout the 1990's as they had various health
problems it was driven less and less. When my grandparents had to
move into a home I went up to New Hampshire to check on the cars and
look in on the property. I drove the car for the first time in
2001. I took it into Kingston town center and had an ice
cream cone. The car drove like a dream, with the windows down and
tailgate window open I felt like I was in a wind tunnel. The car
felt just like the advertising said," unless you look back you forget
you're riding in a wagon."
After 2001 the car ended up sitting for a few more
years. December 27th, 2005 my grandfather's Chrysler saw
daylight and received its first wash since 2001 (the photo to the right
father washing it.). We named the car "Shistolpots" in honor of
grandfather's steadfast refusal to swear when working on a
car. He always substituted Shistolpots for a curseword. The
interior retains its original plastic seat
coverings. The odometer reads around 72,000 miles. With a
minor effort and a new battery my father and I got the car
running. After about 15
minutes it purred like a big V-8 should.
My grandfather's attorney transferred Shistolpots
to me in January of 2006. The car was shipped south that same
month. (A note on shipping, make sure that you hire a company
that owns its trucks and does not conrtract jobs out to various
truckers. Companies like Horseless Carriage are a good
choice. If you try and save money you will probably receive
damaged property way after the projected delivery date.)
The odyssey of trying to register the car began in
April 2006. After a couple visits to the Maryland Vechicle
Adminsitration where they showed an obvious lack of understanding of
the term "power of attorney" I finally registered the car.
(The MVA required a death certificate for my grandmother, and almost
refused the paperwork the second time around because the attorney had
signed for my grandfather. The nitwits also had the power of
attorney paperwork right in front of them but apparently it was too
confusing.) I hope after a visit to a good mechanic for a once
over and new brake master cylinder that Shistolpots will begin visiting
car shows by July 2006.