Released in 1934, the Chrysler Airflow should have been a whopping success. Instead it struggled to survive until Chrysler pulled the plug on it after 4 years.
In reality it was a well thought out car planned to address many problems that existed in cars at that time.
Generally cars back then were boxy with the aerodynamics of a brick, they required lots of horsepower to push them along at a reasonable speed, and with the engine mounted behind the front axle and the back seat fitted behind the rear axle were uncomfortable on a bumpy road.
The Chrysler Airflow remedied this and made many more advances such as V shaped windshield, monocoque construction, wind tunnel testing, but why did the public not welcome these advancements ?
Some will say the car was too advanced for the time, others say people just didn’t like the design. Rumours started by opposition manufacturers didn’t help, one being the car was unsafe.
Chrysler disproved this by driving one of a 100 foot or so cliff. The car was badly battered as can be expected but it was then started and driven away.
This was a great visual test for the Chrysler Airflow body design which at a time when wood was still in use, this car was all steel monocoque or uni-body design that was to later become a standard design right across the industry.
Significant problems in early cars due to faulty manufacturing techniques created challenges particularly in welding together this whole new body design.
The first two or three thousand cars sold also had a major problem with the engine mounts breaking loose at around 80 mph.
Modifications were made to the body shape each year to try and make it more attractive to the public, but no this didn’t work.
Chrysler Airflow sales for 1934 were 10,839 cars, 1935 was under 8,000, 1936 6,275 units sold, and the final year 1937 just 4,600 were made.
Body styles were 2 door and 4 door, with an 8 cylinder 299 cub in 122 hp flathead engine.
In 1937 the engine was increased to 323 cub in putting out 130 hp, transmission being the typical 3 speed manual, rear wheel drive.
Special thanks to King Rose Archives for the video, and Wikipedia for history details.
To go to and see a 1936 Chrysler Airflow and have a ride click on either the 2 or NEXT below