These Chrysler Airflow Crash Tests were basically forced onto the company by rumours the car wasnt safe, put out no doubt by its rather worried competition.
This car was in 1934 well ahead of its time, not only due to its aerodynamic wind tunnel testing but because of its all steel monocoque body and many other improvements in both comfort and the occupants level of safety, as it existed or didn’t exist, back in those early years.
To make matters worse the car wasn’t without its problems, one major one being the engine mounts breaking when the car got up to around 80mph.
In an attempt to stem the safety rumours, and to prove the car was reliable the company set about the Chrysler Airflow crash tests where the car is shot at, bowled, rolled and driven off a cliff as shown in the first video below.
All very dramatic and can’t help wondering what the Health and Safety beaurocrats would have to say about such public activities today.
Chrysler did prove their claims of the cars strength, safety and comfort but it didn’t produce for them the sales they needed as each of the 4 years the Airflow was in production saw a steady decrease in sales from the first years total. Watch as the Airflow is driven over a cliff that is 112 feet high, and is driven away.
Thankyou to Road and Track for this video, and photos are video screen shots.
The other major problem Chrysler had to contend with was the reliability of the car. Mechanically there didn’t seem to be any problems but the new monocoque body was a real mission to assemble due to the amount of welding, and the different welding methods required.
The first batch of cars numbering over 2000, perhaps closer to 4000, had a major problem with the engine mounts giving way when speed got up around 80 mph.
With the cars streamline design combined with its quite powerful for the day 8 cylinder engine 80 mph was an easy target whenever the driver wanted to, so this wasnt a good look.
Chrysler consequently arranged an endurance test on Bonneville where a Chrysler Airflow was driven flat out for 24 hours, only stopping for gas, to change drivers and tires.
It is all in the video below, and is interesting watching these early film clips.
Speed was king for anything on wheels, still is.
King Rose Archives produced this video, thanks for many great shots.