This addition was made possible by a gift from Museum Board Member Ed Snell.
The Airflow Chrysler and DeSoto were introduced at the New York Auto Show in early spring of 1934. The design and mechanical innovations drew much attention and many orders were placed but unfortunately, for a number of reasons, production was delayed for several months and interest lagged. A new assembly line had to be set up to accommodate the totally different car. Stampings for the doors and other body panels were supplied by the Budd Corporation that was already involved in the manufacture of streamlined trains and locomotives and were slow in setting up for the Airflow components which were larger and completely different from conventional cars. The delay gave the competition time to set up a “whispering campaign” saying that the car was unsafe and unreliable. They were also priced several hundred dollars more than the competition.
The Airflow did not prove to be a financial success for Chrysler but it came to be recognized as a milestone in the development of the modern automobile. In later years it was generally agreed that the radical design was about twenty years ahead of its time since every new feature was copied and used throughout the entire auto world.
Over a span of four years 52,000 Airflows were produced, almost equally divided between Chrysler and DeSoto although the latter was discontinued a year earlier. It is estimated there are between three and four thousand still in existence that have been restored and driven often for long distances at freeway speeds. The Museum of Automobiles is open daily, year round, 10 am to 5 pm. For more information visit our website at www.museumofautos.com.
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