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.
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. 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
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
Ron Putnam's 1934 Chrysler Airflow Imperial CV Project
Master mechanic "Ron" Putnum, yes....brother of infamous Phil Putnam, has
been on the Airflow trail for some time as well.
A fervent Chrysler product nut like the rest of us, Ron is making great
progress on his rare 1934 Chrysler Airflow Imperial CV restoration.
Check out this video to see what's happening at this stage of the work.
Chrysler Airflow - the how the modern car was born
Want to see one first hand? Visit Oliver C. Joseph today. "Bogart" is in
the showroom. As one of only 13 running 1935 Chrysler Imperial Ariflows, he
is a beautiful homage to the Style and history of American ingenuity &
Craftsmanship. You can see him in most every Belleville parade or 6 days a
week here at 3795 West Illinois Route 15.
Inventing the Comfort Zone: The Airflow:
The Airflow is an important milestone in the history of Chrysler but also
in the history of the automotive industry. A result of the ZSB engineering
team, the Airflow marked a key moment of change in America's vehicle
history. Its aerodynamic design, interior styling created specifically for
comfort and its departure from traditional engineering standards made it a
car ahead of its time. Though the initial introduction of the Airflow in
1934 was met with resistance from the general public, the vehicle left a
lasting impression on the auto industry. Chrysler continued to integrate
engineering innovations into new models that were adopted from the Airflow
and other manufacturers soon followed suit by building features such as
power steering, floating power and automatic overdrive transmission into
The Airflow continues to be championed today by car enthusiasts and
designers alike. The Airflow Club of America is a prime example of the
lasting impression this design has left on the heritage of American
1935 Chrysler Airflow Custom Imperial CW Limousine
Master Mechanic Phil Putnam gives us an overview of his 1935 Chrysler
Airflow Custom Imperial CW Limousine restoration project.
Phil has dedicated himself to the restoration and preservation of all
models of Airflow.
In this video Phil points out and explains some of the unique components of
this incredible piece of automotive history.
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....
Phil Putnam fires up 1935 Airflow CW
Phil Putnam gives us a peek at his CW project with an impromptu engine
start up of his latest ground up Airflow restoration.
In the "1935 Chrysler Airflow Custom Imperial CW Limousine" video here on
youtube, Phil gives us a more in depth look at some of the CW's finer
1934 Chrysler Airflow
Chrysler Airflow 1934. Interview with Bill Golling, CHRYSLER DEALER
DETROIT. MEADOWBROOK CONCOURS D'ELEGANCE. CONCOUR D'ELEGANCE OF AMERICA.
1934 Chrysler Airflow Spoof Commercial (Original Song)
This is a comedy spoof commercial for a great old car that did not become
popular. The 1934 Chrysler Airflow was a very big car. It was the first
mass produced streamlined automobile. It failed to catch on. One of the
Chrysler Airflows had a wheelbase that was over 140 inches.
This video is on my Bedlam Playhouse channel at YouTube. I have another
channel called Featureman. the Bedlam Playhouse channel is new. I will
gradually add some videos which will be comedy oriented to the Bedlam
The music was done with Band in a Box and the video editing was done with
Magix Pro 14. This video uses several layers of green and blue screen.
Drivin' on a Satuday mornin' It's about ten o'clock,
I'm in my Chrysler Airflow, Gonna drive around the block,
That's about one car length, The Airflow is so long, so long,
And look at all this chrome as I sing this chromey song,
Got my water fall grill, As pretty as a car can be,
Got an all steel body, My neighbors got Airflow envy,
139 horsepower,takes the hills
Ten feet between the axles, and the front seat's five feet wide,
I won't be buyin' a Cadillac, I won't be caught in a Ford,
I won't buy a Dusenberg or an Auburn or a Cord,
If you wanna see, what the future has in store,
Get down to your Chrysler dealer, See the Airflow for 1934