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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Fashioned by Function - Chrysler Airflow
The development and testing of the revolutionary, streamline designed
The Chrysler Airflow is an automobile produced by the Chrysler Corporation
from 1934 to 1937. The Airflow was one of the first full-size American
production car to use streamlining as a basis for building a sleeker
automobile, one less susceptible to air resistance. Chrysler made a
significant effort at a fundamental change in automotive design with the
Chrysler Airflow, but it was ultimately a huge commercial failure.
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.
Volvo History pt 1
Volvo vehicles have been driving on roads around the world for 80 years. On
April 14, 1927, the very first production run of Volvos came out of the
Gothenberg, Sweden factory. More than 15 million have been produced since
that first one hit the road. Volvo initially earned a loyal following
because of their obsession with safety, durability (its logo is the Swedish
symbol for iron) and for its conservative Scandinavian design.
Have a look at the three part review of Volvos history.
Early Chrysler History Pt. 2
More testing and footage of early Chryslers when there was a Chrysler
behind the wheel of the company. See 1933 Worlds Fair exhibition and test
Vintage: Chrysler Airflow von 1936 | drive it
The 1936 Chrysler Airflow was the most radical car of its time. But the
avant-garde design caused all kinds of problems for the company. Many
people considered it to be ugly. But the Airflow offered more than a very
modern design. It was also technologically advanced. Drive it shines a new
light on the Airflow.
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
Jay Leno's Garage
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.
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
1963 Studebaker Avanti "Bonneville Record Breaker"
Thi is a Studebaker Avanti Promotional film from 1963. The Studebaker
Avanti set all kinds of land speed records for a factory stock off the show
room floor vehicles. These records remained on the books for many years.
Top speed was almost 169 miles per hour. Not bad for something you could
buy at your local Studebaker Dealer for 5 grand.
Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost
The Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, is the car that made its reputation as the
most reliable luxury car builder in the world. This shimmering car was
impossible to ignore. It quickly became known as The Silver Ghost, a name
that was bestowed on it because its shimmering appearance and the fact that
it moved as quietly as a ghost.
In 1907 the Silver Ghost name was born when Rolls-Royce managing director,
Claude Johnson, who was known for his promotional skills, silver plated all
the fittings of a 40/50 horsepower Rolls-Royce, and
while he was at it, painted the body silver.
The Silver Ghost name caught on and was eventually used for all the 40/50hp
cars built between 1907 and 1925.
The original car earned its place in automotive history by helping to forge
the reputation of Rolls-Royce as the builder of the most reliable cars in
the world. In May 1907 Johnson, under the watchful eye of the Royal
Automobile Club (RAC), drove the car to Scotland and back using just one
gear. A feat made possible by the high torque engine. The Silver Ghost
covered the 2000 mile route with no problems and later, Johnson and a team
of drivers motored effortlessly up and down Britain for almost 15,000 miles
virtually non-stop, without any breakdowns. This was more than twice the
existing record of 7,089 miles. The car was awarded a gold medal by the RAC
and it secured its place in history.