Last T&C

Totally 80's

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LST TNC (Last Town & Country) is the plate my father chose for it in 1977. It wasn’t “LAST TNC” because California only allowed 6 letters/numbers at the time.
 

Totally 80's

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It took six months to get the Brite Dip trim finished, but it was well worth the wait! One small piece of trim will be delivered tomorrow and then it’ll be done, except for the little issues that have come up. The thermostat seems to be stuck, there are some rattles I’d like to track down, seams on the front seat have split, the trailer hitch still needs to go on, the rear air suspension isn’t working properly, and the power antenna is stuck in the extended position. The list is getting shorter and the car just gets better every day.

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kmccabe56

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When I toured Belvidere to watch my ‘96 Neon being built, it was clear the the build date was set before the car went through the paint shop... because the data tags were painted with the body. A car painted on the afternoon of 7-6-77 would be finished on the 7th. The 7-7-77 date is hand written in several places on top of the paint... so I have no question when it was finished.

As for the emissions... I saw esa with cat and figured it was ca emissions. I know the car was delivered in Detroit. California emissions of the time were awful and made the cars run terribly so, knowing my dad, he had it built as a 49 state car. I remember it always wearing those CA plates... but the car was three months old and had 5,000 miles on it by the time it got here. In other words, a used, out of state car. There were a lot of ways to skirt the California emissions regulations back then. My dad was the type who would have done that.

Aaton
As I recall, your Dad told me that the car as ordered was not California Emissions legal in '77. So if memory serves, he first had it registered in Arizona??
 

Totally 80's

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Hi Kevin!

You have a good memory! Dad kept the car out of California for several months on a temporary Michigan title and then registered it in Nevada. He brought it into California as a used car. Lots of shenanigans!
 

saforwardlook

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The problem with driveability regarding California emissions was not the California emission standards, it was the lame engineers at Chrysler in 1975 and subsequent that had no idea how to calibrate a fuel system to run well when equipped with a catalyst. Chrysler listened to a guy in the fuel systems lab at the time who was an ivory tower expert on "lean burn" who told the chief engineer at the time that by running very lean mixtures, they could pass the CA emission standards without a catalyst and therefore could save big bucks $$$, which in turn would result in the chief engineer's promotion!.

Both the Holley and Carter reps stationed in the fuel systems lab warned that with non fuel injection systems and reliance only on carburetors, such tolerances that were specified could not be achieved in production. The "expert" (his name was Gorden Fen -I will never be able to forget his name) was only silenced and humbled when not only did such cars run terribly, some ended up being recalled by the Air Resources Board for "unsafe driveability" due to passouts and such during warmup especially and when monitoring Chrysler's vehicles for emission compliance, they could not complete the standard CVS test to determine tailpipe emissions. So Chrysler ended up with both catalysts and intolerable driveability and both helped the company going bankrupt circa 1980. Dealerships had no way to placate customers who refused to keep their vehicles.

Ford was only a little better.

GM, however, helped develop the catalytic converter so when they were essentially needed to pass CA standards in 1975, their cars drove very normally and really had excellent driveability and performance compared to either Chrysler or Ford in the later 1970s.
 

azblackhemi

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The problem with driveability regarding California emissions was not the California emission standards, it was the lame engineers at Chrysler in 1975 and subsequent that had no idea how to calibrate a fuel system to run well when equipped with a catalyst. Chrysler listened to a guy in the fuel systems lab at the time who was an ivory tower expert on "lean burn" who told the chief engineer at the time that by running very lean mixtures, they could pass the CA emission standards without a catalyst and therefore could save big bucks $$$, which in turn would result in the chief engineer's promotion!.

Both the Holley and Carter reps stationed in the fuel systems lab warned that with non fuel injection systems and reliance only on carburetors, such tolerances that were specified could not be achieved in production. The "expert" (his name was Gorden Fen -I will never be able to forget his name) was only silenced and humbled when not only did such cars run terribly, some ended up being recalled by the Air Resources Board for "unsafe driveability" due to passouts and such during warmup especially and when monitoring Chrysler's vehicles for emission compliance, they could not complete the standard CVS test to determine tailpipe emissions. So Chrysler ended up with both catalysts and intolerable driveability and both helped the company going bankrupt circa 1980. Dealerships had no way to placate customers who refused to keep their vehicles.

Ford was only a little better.

GM, however, helped develop the catalytic converter so when they were essentially needed to pass CA standards in 1975, their cars drove very normally and really had excellent driveability and performance compared to either Chrysler or Ford in the later 1970s.
Thanks for the straight scoop Steve!
 

Totally 80's

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My wife and younger son joined me on the T&C’s maiden voyage to our local Bob’s Big Boy cruise night. It was an uneventful journey. The car acted like a car… which is as much a compliment as it is an insult. All old cars were new at one point in time. Some were quirky and a lot to deal with when new, and still are today. I’ve always preferred those loud, clunky, fire breathing attention-getters. The Town & Country wasn’t designed to be a handful. It was a car designed to take trips to the supermarket, run through regular car washes, haul kids to hockey practice, run school carpools, pick up a thousand boxes of Girl Scout Cookies for the Brownie troop, and take family road trips in a manner as unobtrusive as possible. The trip to Bob’s tonight was like that. Dare I say boring? The car received its fair amount of attention because… when do you ever see one of these things out in the wild? But it was subtle… in every possible way. It had a little ruffle of wind noise. That was all I heard. I didn’t feel much either. It seems to float on a cloud. The steering is typical of 70’s Chryslers — one finger is all you need. Subtle.

There are a couple of issues, like a light chattering from the limited slip rear differential when going around turns and the alignment is not as good as I’d like, but none of it is an in-your-face issue. Just... “Meh. Fix it when you feel like it…or not.”

I like the car, don’t misunderstand. I had Chrysler Town & Country minivans when I was the age my father was when he ordered this car. It’s just that I am used to cars that interact with me. My daily driver Scat Pack Shaker Challenger wakes me up (and my neighbors) and drives like a bucking bronco. My older son’s 1st gen Miata just wants to play all the time. The 65 Valiant convertible Ice owned for almost 40 years (still my best car) with its manual steering and brakes demands you work for its love. The T&C whispers, “hey, I’m good. I’ll sit here quietly until you have a use for me. When you use me, I’ll stay quiet and be of service.”

I love this thing because it’s a bit of a personal time machine. There is a Lego piece in the “way back” that was mine when I was a kid. How cool is that!!??? I found it when cleaning the car and left it there because that is where it belongs. I love that it’s a car that doesn’t seem to realize how different it is but also seems to be fine with not knowing. I love that people see it and their childhood memories come back in a flood of emotions and smiles.

The journey to make this car as good as it is was a challenge. By reversing the neglect my father bestowed upon it, I was able to let it become the unassuming thing I never realized it was. It was always “the T&C.” I knew it was special because it was, literally, the last of its type. It was the last gasp of old-world luxury station wagons. Their time had passed, and responsible, fuel efficient cars were the future. It’s 45 years old… and it was an old fashioned car the day it was built. That’s crazy to me, but I understand why my father wanted it. He was a big guy who towed trailers filled with very heavy classic cars. This thing was exactly what he needed.

Now, I get to make new memories with my kids… but I don’t think they will connect with it the way I do. Then again, maybe they will. Time will tell.

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Justin Plant

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Well written, thumbs up. Drive it enough, and more people will compliment you on that car than any hot rod. I have a ground pounding big block 70 El Camino took me 12 years to build. It's a beautiful car, but I've gotten more highway thumbs up and gas station questions in my Dodge than any other car I have ever owned. Enjoy the ride!
 

Mid70's Chrysler Fanatic

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My wife and younger son joined me on the T&C’s maiden voyage to our local Bob’s Big Boy cruise night. It was an uneventful journey. The car acted like a car… which is as much a compliment as it is an insult. All old cars were new at one point in time. Some were quirky and a lot to deal with when new, and still are today. I’ve always preferred those loud, clunky, fire breathing attention-getters. The Town & Country wasn’t designed to be a handful. It was a car designed to take trips to the supermarket, run through regular car washes, haul kids to hockey practice, run school carpools, pick up a thousand boxes of Girl Scout Cookies for the Brownie troop, and take family road trips in a manner as unobtrusive as possible. The trip to Bob’s tonight was like that. Dare I say boring? The car received its fair amount of attention because… when do you ever see one of these things out in the wild? But it was subtle… in every possible way. It had a little ruffle of wind noise. That was all I heard. I didn’t feel much either. It seems to float on a cloud. The steering is typical of 70’s Chryslers — one finger is all you need. Subtle.

There are a couple of issues, like a light chattering from the limited slip rear differential when going around turns and the alignment is not as good as I’d like, but none of it is an in-your-face issue. Just... “Meh. Fix it when you feel like it…or not.”

I like the car, don’t misunderstand. I had Chrysler Town & Country minivans when I was the age my father was when he ordered this car. It’s just that I am used to cars that interact with me. My daily driver Scat Pack Shaker Challenger wakes me up (and my neighbors) and drives like a bucking bronco. My older son’s 1st gen Miata just wants to play all the time. The 65 Valiant convertible Ice owned for almost 40 years (still my best car) with its manual steering and brakes demands you work for its love. The T&C whispers, “hey, I’m good. I’ll sit here quietly until you have a use for me. When you use me, I’ll stay quiet and be of service.”

I love this thing because it’s a bit of a personal time machine. There is a Lego piece in the “way back” that was mine when I was a kid. How cool is that!!??? I found it when cleaning the car and left it there because that is where it belongs. I love that it’s a car that doesn’t seem to realize how different it is but also seems to be fine with not knowing. I love that people see it and their childhood memories come back in a flood of emotions and smiles.

The journey to make this car as good as it is was a challenge. By reversing the neglect my father bestowed upon it, I was able to let it become the unassuming thing I never realized it was. It was always “the T&C.” I knew it was special because it was, literally, the last of its type. It was the last gasp of old-world luxury station wagons. Their time had passed, and responsible, fuel efficient cars were the future. It’s 45 years old… and it was an old fashioned car the day it was built. That’s crazy to me, but I understand why my father wanted it. He was a big guy who towed trailers filled with very heavy classic cars. This thing was exactly what he needed.

Now, I get to make new memories with my kids… but I don’t think they will connect with it the way I do. Then again, maybe they will. Time will tell.

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Well written, thumbs up. Drive it enough, and more people will compliment you on that car than any hot rod. I have a ground pounding big block 70 El Camino took me 12 years to build. It's a beautiful car, but I've gotten more highway thumbs up and gas station questions in my Dodge than any other car I have ever owned. Enjoy the ride!
If I’d been there, I’d ’ve ignored the Corvette!

Funny thing is, one time I took my T&C for a forthehelluvit drive, a guy who was in his front yard reacted like I’d expect from driving a ’Vette - as in split-window Stingray!
 

patrick66

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Honestly, your wagon is far more interesting than a new Corvette. Cars like yours are what draw me at shows and cruises.
 

73 T&C

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My 22 year old daughter commented to me that older men look at our wagon like boys look at girls.

I told her that’s because they both like the large rear end …..

Then she hit me.
 

6PKRTSE

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Cool story. Sorry for the loss of your Dad. I love these big ole Sea Bodies. I have had 2 T&C wagons and 6 other Newports, New Yorkers over the years.
 

Mid70's Chrysler Fanatic

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My 22 year old daughter commented to me that older men look at our wagon like boys look at girls.

I told her that’s because they both like the large rear end …..

Then she hit me.
I’d ’ve been in sooooo much trouble with my late partner if I told her that my taste in cars is like my taste in women - given that she knew how much my C-wagon means to me. Then again, if she’d been a car, she might have been a Cougar. :)
 
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