- The Washington Times - Friday, September 14, 2001

Rick Ehrmann owned a 1972 Chrysler station wagon from 1989 until 1997 when economic reasons forced him to sell his car.

"I've always liked the Town & Country Chrysler wagons," Mr. Ehrmann concedes.

He suffered seller's remorse from 1997 until early this year when he took action to correct the situation."I had to fill a void in my life after selling my 1972 Chrysler," Mr. Ehrmann said.

He searched near and far and, eventually, the hunt led him to the internet where he saw a 1974 Chrysler Town & Country advertised electronically. "I wanted a car with no rust," Mr. Ehrmann said. "I also wanted one I didn't have to restore."

The advertised car appeared to be ideal. After 27 years the original owner had accumulated just 88,000 miles on the odometer, an annual average of 3,260 miles.

The women selling the Chrysler told Mr. Ehrmann they made the decision to sell after their parents, the original owners, had died. "She was very protective of the car," the sisters said of their mother.

The sisters had fond memories of family vacations in the Town & Country with them occupying the rear-facing third seat. Essentially looking for a good home for their Chrysler, they were interviewing prospective buyers as to what their intentions were as far as the car was concerned.

Mr. Ehrmann must have impressed the sisters with his from-the-heart response that his desire for the Town & Country was to replace the Chrysler wagon he had sold, as well as to take his own family on vacation trips.

He was informed by the sisters that his offer was not the most lucrative one they had received, but that he was the one they wanted to have their treasured Town & Country.

Upon hearing the good news, Mr. Ehrmann flew to visit the sisters in Kansas City, Kan. There, on April 13, 2001, he inspected the gorgeous, rust- and dent-free 1974 Chrysler Town & Country wagon with simulated wood-grain applique along the sides and the tailgate.

"It's perfect," an incredulous Mr. Ehrmann remembers thinking.

He quickly paid the sisters and was about to drive the Chrysler away when they stopped him. He still had two hurdles to clear.

• First, he had to take a picture of the sisters seated in the rear-facing third seat, the one in which they had logged so many miles in their youth.

• Secondly, Mr. Ehrmann had to agree to send the sisters pictures of his family and the car taken while at vacation locations.

Mr. Ehrmann eagerly agreed to both demands and then began his 1,100-mile road trip home to Landover, Md.

The 4,970-pound station wagon easily rolled along on its LR78x15-inch tires supporting the 18-foot, 9-inch-long car on a lengthy 124-inch wheelbase all the way home. The luxurious car made the trip pleasant.

Once Mr. Ehrmann arrived home with his pristine Town & Country he found the original window sticker, which had been applied by the Bill George Chrysler-Plymouth Inc. dealership at 1244 Minnesota Ave. in Kansas City, Kan.

It indicated the CP46 Chrysler Town & Country three-seat wagon carried a base price of $5,505. Included as standard equipment were the following items:

• Delayed ignition switch light.

• Cargo compartment dress-up.

• Double body side mouldings.

• 50/50 vinyl front bench seat.

• 3-speed windshield wipers.

• Fender-top turn indicators.

• Electronic ignition system.

• Bright upper door frames.

• Reclining passenger seat.

• Torqueflite transmission.

• Rear door light switches.

• Woodgrain exterior trim.

• Power front disc brakes.

• Day/Night inside mirror.

• Lockable stowage area.

• Power tailgate window.

• Front seat side shields.

• Individual armrests.

• Inside hood release.

• Map/courtesy light.

• Drip rail moulding.

• Auto-lock tailgate.

• Ash receiver light.

cRear air deflector.

• 440 amp battery.

• Glove box light.

• Power steering.

• Electric clock.

• Fender skirts.

• Wheel covers.

• Cargo light.

Mr. Ehrmann's Town & Country is one of only 5,958 such wagons manufactured. It features 104.9 cubic feet of storage space. Chrysler sales in 1974 suffered, along with all American manufacturers of large cars, compliments of the 1973 Arab oil embargo.

Even though the Chrysler station wagon was fairly well tricked out, the original owners wanted a little bit more. Therefore, they opted for the $1,169.80 A06 Easy Order Package that includes:

• AM radio.

• Rear speaker.

• Undercoating.

• Light package.

• Power windows.

• Bumper guards.

• Air conditioning.

• Partial horn ring.

• Tinted glass — all.

• Power bench seat.

• White sidewall tires.

• Remote control mirror.

• Deluxe steering wheel.

• Electronic digital clock.

• Luggage rack, assist handles.

In addition, the parents of the sisters selected six other optional extras. They spent $10.40 for a rear bumper step pad, $71.40 for automatic speed control and $75.65 for power door locks.

An additional $181.65 upgraded the radio to an AM/FM stereo model with a search tuner. A tilt and telescopic steering wheel with "Rim Blow," which enables the driver to sound the horn by simply squeezing the steering wheel rim, added $79.40 to the total.

Finally, an extra $121.50 bought the original owners a set of upgraded LR78x15 white sidewall steel belted radial tires.

A destination charge of $178 brought the total to $7,392.80 and those were 1974 dollars.

Mr. Ehrmann hasn't had much of an opportunity to put many miles on his Chrysler since he drove it home. However, he took his family to the ocean beach this summer.

Dutifully taking pictures of the car in the vacation setting, he sent them to the sisters. He is fulfilling his end of the bargain that they had agreed upon.

The photographs reassure the sisters that the luxury wagon continues to enrich family life — as it was before minivans and sport utility vehicles were invented.


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