1937 Chrysler Airflow Eight Sedan (1937)

AUCTION

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Description

OFFERED WITHOUT RESERVES
Proceeds to Benefit the Nonprofit J. Kruse Education Center Career Coaching Academy
CHASSIS NO: 7022705
• Displayed in original Chrysler Skytint Blue
• Wonderful example of iconic American design
• The brainchild of Orville Wright; a revolutionary aerodynamic vehicle
• The final year of desirable Airflow production

323.5 cid eight-cylinder engine, three-speed manual floor shift; wheelbase: 123.5”

In 1929, Chrysler began a series of wind tunnel tests designed to determine which naturally occurring shapes were the most aerodynamic. Chryslers engineers teamed up with Orville Wright to conduct a series of wind tunnel tests. By April 1930, Chrysler had tested around 50 full scale models at the Highland Park wind tunnel that had been created for this project. The Chrysler engineers discovered that the common body style at the time, the traditional two-box style, was incredibly inefficient from an aerodynamic standpoint. In fact, cars in that time period were so inefficient that they performed far better aerodynamically when being tested as if the car was moving backwards.
The breakthrough in aerodynamic research started an automotive transformation among the Chrysler engineering staff. Wind tunnel research had allowed the engineers to closely study the effects of different car designs, with many of the then-current models causing air to get trapped in the front of the car against upright sections such as the radiator grilles, windshields, and headlights. This new in-depth information caused a design shift from the traditional boxy designs to that of streamlined vehicles, with shapes that allowed air to flow and move around the car, as opposed to being trapped.
Many other cars of the day also suffered from severe weight imbalance. Between the relatively posterior engine position and the fact that passengers sat almost directly above the rear axle, the weight ratio of most current cars of the time had about 75 percent of the weight riding on the rear axle. The Chrysler Airflow proved to be a serious advancement in the world of imbalanced cars. The novel weight distribution techniques displayed in the Airflow were engendered from a need for superior handling. The preceding cars of the time suffered from extremely unsafe handling in slippery conditions due to the amount of weight being placed on the rear wheels. The Airflow, however, had a much more even balance—about 50-50 with passengers. This superior balance allowed for safer handling and was a result of breakthrough unibody design and engineering. By merging the frame and body, Chrysler achieved more rigidity at a lower weight point than the traditional ladder-framed two-box designs.
Backed by four years of research, design and technology, Chrysler began production of the Airflow in 1934. The Airflow featured shaped windows instead of a flat pane of glass and a full steel body as opposed to the wood framing that was still being used frequently. The back seats were deeper than previous car models and the front seats were widened to create more space and comfort. Production, however, crawled by. Due to the new technology and creative design, the Chrysler Airflow needed not only more welding than previous cars, but also entirely new welding techniques were necessary to construct some of the more complex aspects of the body. The result was a very limited initial production run. 1937 saw the final year of Airflow production, with a limited run of 4,600 units offered in either a Coupe or Sedan. The 1938 ‘Airflow Eight’ model was the only model of Airflow offered that year, and the car featured a variety of comfort features such as soft door handles and extra padded seats.
Although limited in production, this unique car was the first American car to truly take advantage of aerodynamic research, thanks in part to the help of Orville Wright. This specific example of a truly iconic American machine is finished in original Skytint Blue with a wood styled dashboard. Coming out of long-term storage, it was recently attended to mechanically and is running well. It has been well received at cruise-in events and is poised to continue to do so. The proceeds of this icon of American automobile design will benefit the nonprofit J. Kruse Education Center Career Coaching Academy (jkruseducation.org) assisting K-12 students and veterans transitioning out of service as they discover fulfilling career paths. Be it your first or tenth Airflow, this car is a great way to turn heads while supporting a great cause.

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Specs

Essentials

  • Mileage: 47,431
  • Year: 1937
  • Doors: 4
  • Body type: Other
  • Transmission type: Automatic
  • Fuel type: Diesel
  • Colour: Blue

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