1948 Chrysler Windsor Traveler
Original price: $1,800.00 (In 1948: Average car cost $1,250.00; average household income, $2,950.00; average home cost, $7,700.00; gallon of gas, 16 cents)
Donated by: Don Spangrud, Kearney, NE and Jay Spangrud, Oxford, NE
Number made: 4,182
Engine: 250 cu. in., 115 hp; “Spitfire” flat-head 6-cylinder; 3,528 lbs.
This car has been owned by the same family since it was new. It was purchased by Carl M. Spangrud at C. L. Spangrud Chrysler Garage in Karlstad, MN. (C. L. was Carl’s brother.) Elkay Spangrud, Don’s brother, got the car in the late seventies. Don and Jay bought the car in the late eighties. Jay used the car as a project in an auto body and paint class at Central Community College.
It is a very rare car and an example of Chrysler’s post war effort to be a style leader. Travelers were built on the Windsor chassis.
Only 4,182 Travelers were built from 1947 through 1949 and perhaps only 8 to 12 still exist. Chrysler owns nine of them.
Travelers were based on the Windsor 4-door sedan but had a more upscale interior, two-tone paint, and a wooden roof rack. The Traveler was Chrysler’s response to growing demand for more luggage space than could be built into the body of a car without reducing passenger space. A luggage canopy (cover) was held in place by eight elastic straps with swivel snaps. It was made of water-repellent duck fabric and folded under on all sides of the roof rack to cover luggage completely. When not in use the canopy was stored in a heavy bag that fit in the trunk.
The paint colors are Catalina Tan and Rossini Brown.
The car’s laminated oak luggage roof rack was built by the Cris Craft boat company for Chrysler. The bottom of the racks is covered with ash strips and the rails are ash supported by chrome-plated castings.
It has the “cow catcher” front bumper and sun visor. Back doors are “suicide doors” – they open from hinges toward the back of the car. There were no options for this car – everything on it was standard.
The engine is a 250 cu. in. “Spitfire” flathead six cylinder with 114 horsepower. The engine was made from 1937 through the early 1950’s almost unchanged. Though acceleration was slow, it was quiet, smooth, and had plenty of power. Chrysler’s famous semi-automatic fluid drive transmission made it easy to drive.
This was a car a family could just take out on a drive or road trip.
In the 1930’s, cars from most manufacturers were basically boxes and Chrysler followed this trend. It was important that passengers be able to sit comfortably and enter and exit the car easily. This was the case with the 1946 – 1948 products. Styling for the 1949 models featured large amounts of chrome. Chrysler’s poor sales performance in 1948 was blamed on competition from more stylish cars from GM and Ford. Chrysler slowly improved their sales and came in third in sales for many years after.
Sources: Information and a 1948 Chrysler Press Kit Write-Up CP-932 furnished by owner.
https://www.allpar.com/history/chrysler-years/1949-1952.html (Windsor model)