Debunking the most common old wives’ tales
1 THE AIRFLOW WAS AERODYNAMIC
This is actually the weirdest misnomer about this car. Chrysler engineers were said to have tested 50 scale models of the Airflow in the wind tunnel they built at the company’s Detroit base, and yet the full-size production car had a drag factor, or co-efficient of drag, of 0.541. That’s about the same as a boxy Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen, and only slightly better than a positively brick-like Hummer H2 at 0.57. Not only that, but Chrysler was forced into paying $5000 to Paul Jaray, after the aerodynamics boffin sued the firm for infringements of his patents.
2 IT WAS ONE OF THE MOST EXCITING NEW CARS IN 1930S AMERICA
That depends on how you view things. Chrysler wanted to produce something as iconic and adventurous as its Art Deco Chrysler Building HQ in New York to celebrate its 10th year in the car industry. The problem was that the car-buying public didn’t like it. They started out in suspicious mood about the radical streamlined shape and its lack of an upright radiator grille. Then, when word got out that there were problems with the welded body structure, front suspension, and engine mountings, the already low sales took a nosedive.
3 SO IT WASN’T VERY INFLUENTIAL, THEN?
Funnily enough, although the Airflow was a massive flop for Chrysler, shortly after it vanished the Lincoln Zephyr was launched, which was only slightly less radical looking. In retrospect, the Airflow did blaze a trail that other carmakers followed, and its design was, in fact, closely mimicked by Volvo for its curvaceous Carioca, and also by Toyota for its very first car, the AA. Both copied the Airflow’s faired-in headlights and beetle-backed shape.
no 11: Chrysler airflow
is it a Volvo, is it a Toyota? Nope, it’s the radical chrysler airflow of 1934.