Thursday, May 12, 2016

Kenny's '48 Chrysler "Woodie" is my latest World on Wheel's custom

I've known Kenny Buttolph since I first came to Iola in 1974.

At the time, Kenny was an adjunct to the staff of Old Cars Weekly. Several times a year he would drive the OCW sales trailer to major car shows around the country where he would link up with the paper's editors and ad sales people.

Later he would fly the company flag at the major collector car auctions in Arizona in January, reporting on prices realized, etc., in his role as the company's automotive price guide expert. One year in the early 1980s when the company was particularly flush due to the success of our sportscard publications and books, Kenny was hired as a full-time employee.

Kenny has owned more than 1,000 collectible cars and related vehicles such as Airstreams, trucks, buses, motor scooters, etc. I believe he can cite chapter and verse on each of them . . . where and how he acquired it and where it went when it left the collection.

One of my personal favorites among the cars he has owned was a 1948 Chrysler Town and Country convertible coupe. I recently found a copy of the Old Cars 1980 calendar that I coordinated during the year I edited the paper, Sept., 1979-Sept., 1980. Kenny's T&C was one of the 12 cars featured on the calendar in an autumn photo we took in front of one of Iola's post-war homes.

The Town and Country was one of the most expensive American production cars in the immediate post-war era, at $3,395. Promoted as a "suburban estate wagon," the advertising materials for the car said it was a vehicle "for those to whom distinction comes naturally," and the car whispered of "country clubs and moonlight rides." 

The T&C was a favorite of Hollywood's elite in the late 1940s. Bob Hope had one, as did Wallace Berrie and Barbara Stanwyck. Clark Gable had a pair. Really nice examples of the genre sell for up to $130,000 or so in today's collector market.

My World on Wheels custom of Kenny's 1948 Town and Country was whipped up in one day's time so that I could present it to him on his 78th birthday recently.

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