1941 Chrysler Royal
Year of manufacture1941
James Diamond, Grosse Ile, Michigan (acquired circa 1991)
Jim Mangione, Newport Beach, California (acquired from the above in January 2008)
Current Owner (acquired from the above in April 2011)
Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance, Rochester, Michigan, July 1998 (Best of Class)
Walter P. Chrysler Club, Akron, Ohio, 1999 (Best of Show)
Concours d’Elegance of the Eastern US, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, June 1999 (Best Closed Car)
Glenmoor Gathering of Significant Automobiles, Canton, Ohio, September 1999 (Director’s Choice)
Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance, Rochester, Michigan, July 2000 (Dodge Memorial Trophy)
Wilstead Classic and Antique Car Show, Windsor, Canada, 2000 (Committee’s Choice, Best Featured Classic)
Eyes on Design, Grosse Pointe, Michigan, 2001 (General Motors Award,
Best Exterior in Show, Automotive Design of Exceptional Merit)
Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance, Rochester, Michigan, July 2001 (Best of Class)
Bay Harbor Concours d’Elegance, Bay Harbor, Michigan, June 2003 (People’s Choice, Best Woodie)
Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, Amelia Island, Florida, March 2006 (Best of Class)
In the late 1930s, Chrysler President David Wallace tasked his designers with creating a sensational new car that would generate consumer excitement. Wallace sought a car that would be equally at home at the most exclusive country club or on a family adventure down a picturesque country road. Arnott “Buzz” Grisinger, a talented designer who would go on to pen many great American automobiles, developed plans for the Town and Country. A dramatic departure from other manufacturers’ boxy woodies of the period, the Town and Country featured a sleek fastback-style roofline ending in a pair of beautifully sculpted convex clamshell doors. The car’s “Barrelback” nickname seemed, perhaps, inevitable.
Never before seen on a station wagon, the Town and Country’s design featured a stylish, sweeping roofline that was constructed entirely of steel, rather than the typical oil cloth over wood slats. With their wooden bodies constructed of white ash and Honduran mahogany, the exquisitely crafted Barrelbacks were hand-assembled in Detroit at Chrysler’s Jefferson Avenue Plant. The Town and Country’s fascinating modern lines, rich detail, luxurious leather interior, and availability in six- or nine-passenger versions reflected a brilliant-yet-versatile design achievement.
Of the 996 Chrysler Town and Country Barrelbacks produced in 1941, very few are known to have stood the test of time, and this outstanding Polo Green example is one of just 24 known to the National Woodie Club to survive. The car was the subject of an eight-year body-off restoration, in which Robert Anzalone of Manchester, Michigan, expertly handled much of the mechanical and cosmetic renewal. Dave Henderson of Morro Bay, California, was entrusted with precisely recreating the Barrelback’s distinctive woodwork, and its tan leather interior was upholstered by the renowned Jim Roll of New Philadelphia, Ohio. Beginning in 1998, the Chrysler was actively and enthusiastically campaigned by its proud owner, Jim Diamond, earning numerous prestigious awards, including Best of Class and Best of Show, at some of the country’s most highly regarded events, such as the Meadow Brook and Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. In 2011, this Barrelback joined the consignor’s significant collection of American classics and hot rods, and has been unseen in a public setting for many years.
Accompanied by a photo album that documents the extent of the eight-year restoration, this Barrelback is lavishly appointed with delightful Art Decoinspired detail, and desirably optioned with a proper roof-mounted luggage rack, radio, heater, clock, and factory-optional musical horns. Considered by many to be the most sought-after of all woodie wagons, the Chrysler Town and Country Barrelbacks of 1941 and 1942 represented a design triumph, and the few remaining examples are veritable showstoppers. With copious room for passengers, pets, luggage, and sporting goods, this Barrelback stands ready to carry its new owner on any number of thrilling exploits.