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. 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