Chrysler wanted to demonstrate to the public that its new car, the Airlfow, was fast and fuel efficient. They took it to the Bonneville Salt Flats for some test/publicity runs.
Some say that despite their promotional efforts, the future arrived with a thud when Chrysler introduced its line of Airflow coupes and sedans in 1934. The streamlined car, a product of the science of aerodynamics, had long been predicted in works of science fiction but no manufacturer had, heretofore, been bold enough to realize that Buck Rogersesque vision. Chrysler's engineering triumvirate Carl Breer, Owen Skelton and Fred Zeder scientifically tackled the aerodynamic challenge and got Walter P. Chrysler to authorize design testing in a wind tunnel, overseen by no less an authority than Orville Wright.
The result was more than just a slippery envelope of a body, a radical departure from virtually all that had gone before. The design of the '34 Chrysler (and DeSoto) Airflow took some getting used to and, sadly, the car buying public just didn't "get" the snubby deco look, a true "cab forward" design dictated by the wind. The look was underpinned by a new kind of construction - the body panels were mounted on a steel cage, not unlike Saturn's, which was structurally connected to the frame creating a single stress-bearing unit, the precursor to unit body construction. Airflow body and frames were wood-free, another departure from tradition.
As it became apparent that the public wasn't as enthused as the engineers and the media -- Walter P. Chrysler shared the cover of Time Magazine with his Airflow -- the company scrambled to tone down the radical styling, losing the deco waterfall grill a/k/a "bull nose" by the second year and modifying design elements to hark back to more traditional, consumer-acceptable shapes.
Owning an Airflow today is tantamount to having a piece of history to yourself. The significance of this design, even though it was a commercial disaster has reverberated through the decades and into another century. In just about every way, figurative and literal, Chrysler's Airflow was ahead of the curve and remains a true automotive icon for the ages.
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Chrysler Airflow Economy Run
Chrysler engineers thought they had a winner with their aerodynamic coupe
the Chrysler Airflow. Created during the art deco, streamlined era of the
1930s the company was convinced that the public was ready for something
really new and different. The engineers touted that fact that it was not
only stylish but roomy and because its sleek design caused less wind
resistance - it was fuel efficient. Unfortunately, the public stayed away
from the futuristic vehicle and Chrysler stopped producing the Airflow
after two years.
Early Chrysler History Pt. 1
Walter P. Chrysler and his engineers put late 1920s cars through their
paces. Up hill and down dale -- they built cars that were as tough as they
Kaiser -- Cars That Challenged Detroit
When auto production started up after the cessation of World War II
hostilities, major manufacturers simply picked up where they left off after
Pearl Harbor introducing 1942 lines as 46s. Nobody was fooled but it didnt
matter as demand far outstripped supply. Henry J. Kaiser, steel and ship
building magnate, entered the fray with an advantage: a clean slate.
Kaisers were truly all new when introduced as 47s and sales soared: Kaiser
(with sister marque Frazer) outsold such established names as Studebaker,
Nash, Hudson, Mercury and Chrysler.
Today, Kaisers are rarely seen and thats part of their appeal. Kaiser is a
remnant of a time when it seemed that, having vanquished that eras Axis of
Evil, Americans could do anything, including start a car company from
Mickey Thompson Breaks 400 MPH Speed Barrirer
Thompson's life in the fast lane provides ample material for the
filmmakers. From the drag strips, to desert racing to land speed record
challenges, to car building, designing and race promotion Thompson earned
his place as a certified automotive icon.
He started calling himself the Fastest American on Wheels in 1958 after
setting a record of 194 miles per hour. His goal was to break the world
record of 394.2 miles per hour set in 1947. He began to build a world land
speed record car -- the Challenger 1.
Thompson took his new car out to the Bonneville Salt Flats on October 6,
1959 and piloted it to a World Speed Record of 363.48 miles per hour. He
also set a world speed record in A/BFS Class that remained unbeaten
until1990 when Al Teague broke it at 389.372 miles per hour in his
In 1960, Thompson returned to the Bonneville Salt Flats with a modified
Challenger 1 for another record attempt. Its four 410 cubic-inch engines
secured his title when he set a new American record at 330.51 miles per
hour. He bested the world speed with a run at 407 miles per hour (which
was faster than any man had drive
a car before) but crashed before he could make a second run and thus secure
the official record.
The Challenger 1 had its last record run two year later on July 24, 1962.
The poor conditions of the salt flats halted the first attempt because he
couldnt get any traction as the car bounced on the salt bed. He found a
smoother part of the Flats for another run and turned in a speed of 357
mph. But he announced that the Challengers days on the Salt Flats were
Chrysler Airflow for 1936
This is a fauxmercial for the new line of Imperial Airflow Chryslers for
1936. You will be amazed at all of the latest features.
1935 Ford Tow Truck - We go for a ride!
In 1999 while on a video shoot our camera car, a red Ford Taurus wagon, AKA
Big Red, broke down. Rogner Towing was called. Mark showed up in his 1935
Ford Tow Truck.
ICON Derelict - Jay Leno's Garage
ICON Derelict. Automotive wizard Jonathan Ward shows Jay one of his
Derelicts - a unique restomod of a 1952 DeSoto married to a Chrysler Town &
Country with its original patina intact.
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ICON Derelict - Jay Leno's Garage
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1935 Chrysler Airflow straight eight start up part 2
It´s one week since i started her the first time. Now i have restored and
mounted the carburettor. Now she runs a little better. Next is to start up
with the cooling system filled so she can idle upp to working temperature.
1934 Chrysler Airflow
Chrysler Airflow 1934. Interview with Bill Golling, CHRYSLER DEALER
DETROIT. MEADOWBROOK CONCOURS D'ELEGANCE. CONCOUR D'ELEGANCE OF AMERICA.
Chrysler Straight 8 Flathead Marine startup-idle
Chrysler Marine Flathead straight 8, starting and idling in a beautiful
triple cockpit mahogany runabout. This was shot about 20 years ago.
Sounds great! I first posted this as an Imperial, but upon further review,
I believe it is actually a Royal, 323 cid. Not sure, at any rate it was
a long time ago that I took this video....
BONNEVILLE ROCKET BIKE
RICHARD BROWN WROTE: "The video shows run 5 on the salt flats, this was the
first run we made averaging over 300MPH, with a peak of 335MPH. Initially
you will see the the bike being towed for a short distance followed by a
release signal and the tow truck swerving off line, the bike is then
coasting at about 40MPH during which time I retract the skids and await the
"In zone" signal that tells me I have reached the optimum position relative
to the timming traps to ignite the rocket motor, take a look at the speed
the mountains in the background are passing by!