New guy, Old T&C

Discussion in 'The Welcome Wagon' started by bredlo, May 1, 2012.

  1. bredlo

    bredlo Active Member

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    Hey all,

    Picked up a 1953 Chrysler Town and Country wagon last week, (the Windsor with a straight 6). We found it on Craigslist in Rochester... rented a UHaul car trailer... and ran over from Chicago to bring it home.

    It fires right up every time, and drives beautifully. All lights and switches work. And because it was used for 30 years as a flower delivery vehicle for a funeral home, then stored for 10 in a garage... even with 3 subsequent owners it only has 70K on the odometer.

    Here's a couple "as is" shots, in which you can see how the suspension was lowered practically to the point of being undriveable. We hope to remedy that soon.

    The longterm plan is to mate it with our 1954 Airstream 22' trailer, so feel free to toss out suggestions on how you think I might be able to make this a more safe, reliable daily driver / tow vehicle. All options are currently on the table.
     

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  2. silverfox

    silverfox New Member

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    :Welcome:to the wagon train, bred. Oh, MAN! I love those wagons and that one you snagged is CHERRY! I would love to have that wagon....GREAT score!:thumbs2: IF you aren't concerned about it being a numbers matching original, I might consider a Hemi V8 in there since you want to use it for towing. If it were mine, however, I may just leave it alone. Seriously...that is an extraordinary representative of that car in that year!:bowdown:
     
  3. silverfox

    silverfox New Member

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    Bred....here's some specs on your engine in that beauty.....

    http://www.secondchancegarage.com/public/596.cfm

    Those 6 cylinders had a lot of torque right from low RPM so it's likely it will be a be a good puller! IIRC (and I'm old enough to remember :D) those 6 cylinders were doggie but had power when it came to torque. I'm not educated enough to know what to expect from that Fluid drive but I know people towed with those back in the day. If it was me, I would leave it alone and see how things work out.
    Again...I really, really love your wagon....it even still has the alligator leather! You are a lucky man.:thumbs2:
    I would love to take a drive to Chicago some day just to see and touch that car. It brings back many memories for me.:D
     
  4. dennis

    dennis Well-Known Member

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    wagon is to nice can you please send me an A/stream in the same condition to go behind pin bits please
     
  5. 1tireman

    1tireman Well-Known Member

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    That is a nice wagon! Welcome bredlo
     
  6. fannie

    fannie Well-Known Member

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    (y) very nice...great score!

    Could you please remove the pics before silver hurts himself. :D

    You must be very please? Congratulations.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2012
  7. MotoMike

    MotoMike Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the madness Bred! I've said it before, those cars are absolute automotive jewelry. :camera::camera::camera::camera::camera: for opening post pic rating. All those gauges and the radio work properly? :Welcome:
     
  8. Safari57

    Safari57 Well-Known Member

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    Glad you found your way over here Bredlo. I saw your post on Airforums as well. This is a great forums for wagon owners, and there are a lot of trailer haulers, including Airstream trailers, who hang out here as well.

    Beauty wagon. I've always loved the dashes and interiors in general of those years.

    It will make an outstanding TV.

    Although our Safari in its original configuration towed fine, in today's world it just wasn't up to snuff. It now has disc brakes up front (and soon for the rear - next winters project) a modern V8 and OD automatic. Decent stereo, and no A/C but might add it eventually, right now we still enjoy windows down travel, radio up, enjoying the sites. Our car came from the factory with PS/PB and PW and I have to say I'd of installed them if it had not already had them.

    It tows incredibly well, as you will find with yours. Our buddy with his '54 Ford wagon, avatar CS54, is also intending to tow his Airstream. Up to now he's been towing a 17' fiberglass trailer.

    Keep the pictures coming and the info as you upgrade the wagon.
     
  9. bredlo

    bredlo Active Member

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    Thanks so much, Silver. Thrilled to be here - and I appreciate the link to my current specs. Very helpful! You're more than welcome to come take a drive in this anytime… I have a soft spot for your Impala SS, being that I had a '94 Firebird LT1 in my early 20's back then.

    I'd love to, Dennis. In fact we almost sold our last one (a '62 Airstream GlobeTrotter) to an Aussie, but as you know shipping can be a bit pricey on these bigger toys. ; )

    Thanks, all! Wow, I started out with a good photo rating here… I'd better keep 'em comin. ;)

    The radio doesn't work, but all other gauges and switches do.. including the dashboard light which has its own separate on/off/dimmer. SO cool… there's a 12V radio in the glovebox, courtesy of a previous owner, but we'll eventually want something a bit more substantial… maybe a subwoofer under the seat, and an iPod dock in the glove compartment. Or maybe we can find a duplicate broken radio and rebuild it as a flip-down faceplate.

    Safari57, your photos have been some of my faves over at the Airforums - so I can honestly say you're partially responsible ( or is that to blame? ) for this purchase!

    I'll be keeping in close contact with you, if that's okay, to learn more about that modern motor swap. You have the most similar vehicle to ours and use it for the exact same purpose.

    Now, while ours looks good in photos and runs beautifully, in some of the usual spots (where the fenders meet the hood, for example) I suspect it's being held together by paint as much as steel. Oof. There are several spots where someone has covered rusty, bubbly areas with rattle can paint. So I'm not too concerned about altering a museum-worthy specimen… and will really focus on extreme reliability.

    That doesn't mean I intend to fix everything myself; modern fuel injection, for example, is one thing I learned I'd really like to have before striking out on long road trips. I had an old Wagoneer and just couldn't get used to fiddling with a carb. I'm just not genetically a tree-shade mechanic, and I think admitting that to myself - while also trying to learn - will keep me from both getting in over my head… or becoming a yuppie poser, which I don't want to be either. ;)

    I adore the interior and the exterior lines and original ride height of the stock car… so from keeping the 15" wheels (maybe going a touch wider if I can keep my hubcaps?) to simply revarnishing the wood trunk… I'll keep this ride looking stock until you peek under the hood.

    The other first impression I've had is that I'm eating the steering wheel - so along with the wish list of a faster windshield wiper motor, huge new brakes and perhaps even cruise control (am I nuts?) I may also play with the front bench's range of motion, especially anticipating some long road trips.
     
  10. CapriceEstate

    CapriceEstate Yacht Captain

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    Welcome! I do believe my world is a better place after seeing the pics of your beautiful car!
     
  11. bredlo

    bredlo Active Member

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    Thanks, Caprice. Awfully kind of you! Anytime you're south of the border, lemmie know and we'll take it out for a spin. (y)
     
  12. silverfox

    silverfox New Member

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    bred said....
    Thanks so much, Silver. Thrilled to be here - and I appreciate the link to my current specs. Very helpful! You're more than welcome to come take a drive in this anytime… I have a soft spot for your Impala SS, being that I had a '94 Firebird LT1 in my early 20's back then.

    I love that car and, much to your chagrin.....I may seriously take you up on that if I have the time!!:yup::bouncy: Are you in Chicago or the burbs closer to Wisconsin? PM me if you don't want your exact location known.:D

    One thing that always bothers me about old cars is that they didn't have tilt wheel. If the car were mine (if only) I would try to find a tilt set up that would go in there and look stock and be able to use the stock steering wheels and peripherals.(y)
     
  13. bredlo

    bredlo Active Member

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    You guys are so "drooly" so far, I'd better just PM you my town. :)

    Tilt would be a nice addition, but it's not on the short list at this point. In fact, my particular combination of height and arm length feels pretty nice, so far. Potentially I could add a period "suicide spinner" knob, too, but we'll have to see how longer rides feel... so far I've only driven the damn thing twice for 5 minutes apiece.

    The arm rest on the door is pretty righteous: tilts up toward the front, and is wide enough for my forearm to camp out on. It's these little ergonomic comforts that I don't normally expect to find in a 60 year old car, but are a nice surprise.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2012
  14. Dewey Satellite

    Dewey Satellite New Member

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    Welcome Bredlo!!! What an absolutely gorgeous wagon!! :Welcome:
     
  15. 1982caprice station wagon

    1982caprice station wagon Racecar Driver

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    welcome, to the forum! i think you'll find it fun here.......and a little crazy!:rofl2::Welcome::Welcome:
     

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