In restoring classic cars, usually the objective is to make it look as good as new. But for Gary Meadors, founder and chairman of Good Guys Rod and Custom Association, good as new wasn't good enough.

His company does 20 Good Guy Shows a year around the country. Four are in Pleasanton, the next one being Aug. 22-24 at the Alameda County Fairgrounds. His 1948 Chrysler Town & Country and about 3,500 other cars will be on display.

One would think he would be racking up the frequent flier miles, but to get to most of the shows, he and his wife, Marilyn, like to drive one of his dozen or so classic cars. Currently, this Chrysler Town & Country is his favorite.

The Alamo resident is a longtime Mopar (Chrysler) fan. "My first car was a 1947 Plymouth, and I put a Chrysler flat head 6 in it to soup it up." He looked at his beautiful Chrysler Town & Country convertible and added, "Really, this is just a '47 Plymouth on steroids." He still has his first Plymouth and now his fancy steroid "Plymouth."

Meadors found this 1948 Chrysler Town & Country convertible on eBay about seven years ago in Missouri. "It is basically a wooden car, with metal fenders and a metal front end," he said. The wood had been worked on but not to Meadors' standards. "The rest of it was just a rust bucket."


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After World War II, there was a shortage of materials, especially metal, so Chrysler did some innovative thinking. Using white ash and mahogany wood, it built 8,368 Town & Country convertibles from 1946 to 1948. It was the most expensive model in the Chrysler line, with a starting price of $2,725 (about $35,000 in today's dollars).

Before Meadors made the purchase, he called a friend in Dallas who had rebuilt several of these and had him call the seller to determine what had been done and what needed to be done. The friend knew Meadors wanted to do his hot rod thing, so the condition of the car was secondary. Meadors agreed and bought the Town & Country for $40,000, sight unseen.

"I shipped the car to a buddy in Southern California who is a Mopar guy, along with the Viper engine and transmission I bought out of a wrecking yard in Texas." Surprisingly, the 510 HP, V10 Viper engine and four-speed automatic transmission fit with only minor adjustments where the original 5.3 liter, 135 HP, flat head straight 8-cylinder engine and fluid drive automatic transmission had been.

"The car was about three years in construction," he said, as it was not a restoration but really new construction. "Everything you don't see is brand new."

Even the chassis is new, as are the brakes, the 17-inch Chrysler wheels and all the stuff that connects them, plus a 32-gallon gas tank.

The original Town & Country fenders and hood were sanded to the bare metal before the car was painted a special Jaguar racing green. The seats and interior were expertly done in deep red and tan leather. The completed vehicle weighs 5,121 pounds.

It's a very impressive story. The owner told me about the wood restoration done by Doug Carr of WoodN'Carr in Signal Hill. Very labor-intensive. Sand the wood, varnish the wood and repeat that procedure 50 times to produce what must be the best-looking 1948 Chrysler Town & Country in the world.

Like any real quality product, it is the attention to detail that separates the great from the good. Not only does Meadors' Chrysler Town & Country look better than it did when it rolled off the assembly line in 1948, it has at least two cool features that I had never seen before.

First, the restored original dashboard has a radio speaker covered by a plastic waffle grille. The grille and speaker fabric lift up like an overhead garage door to expose a SiriusXM satellite radio. The antenna for the radio and GPS system is on the outside air vent ahead of the windshield.

I was admiring the wooden body and the bold chrome hinges on the trunk. "Look at the right hinge," he said.

I noticed that one of the six bolts didn't quite line up perfectly, and was surprised the perfectionist's car actually had a minor flaw. Then he pushed a button on the dash, and the misaligned bolt rose up, as it is the power antenna for the AM/FM radio. Cool.

Then he pointed at the car and asked my favorite question. "Do you want to take a ride?"

Can you guess my answer?

Have an interesting vehicle? Contact David Krumboltz at MOBopoly@yahoo.com