- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 3, 2011

Access to the Internet can be a dangerous thing.

About seven years ago Eric Wolfe wasn’t actively looking for a car to purchase when he scrolled through cyberspace but when he saw a Sequoia Green 1966 Chrysler Town & Country station wagon for sale he thought the happenstance must have been preordained.

Decades earlier, he explains, ‘Our family had a succession of 1966 Chrysler products — all in Sequoia Green.’ Could he resist or not?

Then he discovered more good news, the car was for sale in Alexandria, about 10 miles from where he worked at the time and it had been driven only 130,000 miles. Upon inspecting the car, Mr. Wolfe says, ‘Aside from the color, the numerous options on the car made it additionally attractive to me.’

He took possession of the Chrysler Town & Country in January 2000 and drove it home to Crofton. He might be exaggerating a bit when he says of his car, ‘It has every option known to man.’

Records that came with the car indicate that it was built April 20, 1966, and was sold new in the Lancaster, Pa., area. Later it went to Georgia for a few years before returning to Northern Virginia where Mr. Wolfe became the fourth owner.

In 1966 Chrysler offered both a six-passenger and a nine-passenger station wagon. A mystery about Mr. Wolfe’s six-passenger car is that it is equipped with the optional rear air conditioner and the optional rear grab bars, both options that usually were ordered on nine-passenger wagons. Lifting the cover in the floor behind the rear seat reveals a well that would have been occupied by the third seat. Mr. Wolfe is just as happy to have the additional storage space.

With both air conditioners operating, Mr. Wolfe says, ‘I can get it down to 54 deeeeeegrees in here.’

The luxurious station wagon tips the scales at 4,370 pounds but has no difficulty keeping up with modern-day traffic, thanks to the 383-cubic-inch engine with an output of 270 horsepower. A Bendix Stromberg two-barrel carburetor feeds the big V-8.

Mr. Wolfe knew going in that the car would need some attention but he was more than willing. ‘As time and finances have allowed, a number of upgrades have been made,’ Mr. Wolfe says.

His car is now equipped with a new set of 14-inch tires, a new coil and wiring, a timing chain, water pump and rebuilt brake cylinders, hoses and shoes. Additionally, a door hinge was replaced as was a rear pinion seal and shock absorbers. ‘It sticks to the road a little better now,’ Mr. Wolfe says.

The fuel tank has been cleaned and coated with a sealant and the single exhaust was replaced with dual exhausts, which were an optional extra in 1966.

Under the car now are two Flow Master mufflers, which Mr. Wolfe says are only mildly intimidating.

Standard equipment on the 18-foot, 3.6-inch-long Chrysler includes: left mirror, backup lights, heater with defroster, variable speed wipers, electric tailgate window, electric windshield wipers, glove box/tissue dispenser, and fender-mounted turn signals.

Mr. Wolfe replaced the perfectly good original wheel covers with a more sporty set of deep-dish wheel covers that were available in 1966 but, he acknowledges, usually were found on 1966 and 1967 Dodge Chargers.

‘I love the art deco styling,’ Mr. Wolfe says regarding the 120 mph speedometer in the center of the instrument panel. The dashboard is topped by an unblemished green pad. The rearview mirror is on a pedestal mounted on the dashboard instead of the more traditional method of hanging the mirror from the top of the windshield.

To the $4,086 base price of the Town & Country the following extra cost options were added:

• 2 air conditioners $605

• Auto transmission $222

• Golden Touch radio $186

• Power steering $107

• Power windows $106

• Power seat $100

• Roof rack $97

• Auto pilot $84

• Power door locks $55

• Power vent windows $53

• Positive Traction $51

• Power brakes $47

• Auto headlight dimmer $45

• Tinted glass $42

• Clock $19

With taxes, tags and transportation added, the total came to about $6,000.

The supersized roof rack has two adjustable cross bars so the rack can accommodate any size cargo. The painted rooftop is protected by a half dozen cross members as well as a pair of longitudinal chrome strips.

In the time that he has owned the, car Mr. Wolfe has been occupied in making itroad-worthyy. Consequently, the odometer has yet to reach the 135,000-mile mark.

While shopping for parts to put his car back in good mechanical condition, Mr. Wolfe kept an eye open toward good deals on cosmetic items such as trim pieces and rust-free body panels.

Mr. Wolfe is of the opinion that his Chrysler Town & Country station wagon is a well-designed car that deserves to be returned to like-new condition. ‘I’ve got all the toys to restore it,’ Mr. Wolfe says. ‘I just have to find the time.’

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