Classic Auto Mall
6180 Morgantown Road
1937 Chrysler Airflow C-17
The Chrysler Airflow was supposed to be Chrysler's forward-thinking hit that would re-write the book on automotive styling and, in the process, teach people that an aerodynamic car is the way to go. Only it didn't. All that the Airflow did do was to buck the trend and almost tanked Chrysler. With its steel body and fountain-esque grille, it shocked customers rather than appeal to them but now, 86 years since its release, it's universally accepted that the Airflow is among the very first mass-produced aerodynamic cars in the world.
For consignment, an example of the first use of a wind tunnel to design the shape of a car. With consultation from Orville Wright, this car was designed with the slip stream in mind and was very forward thinking for its day. This car presents very nicely, with lots of curvaceous chrome, beautiful paint, and a wonderful mohair interior. Mostly poo pooed in its day, the production numbers were low, however looking back on this design, they really did know what they were doing, even if the public was not ready for it!
Aerodynamics did definitely play a part in this design. A waterfall grille, rounded hood and front bay panels that use the teardrop curved front headlights to highlight them. A curved front bumper complete with a trio of horizontal ribs frames the bottom of this car and extends to curve around and protect the front fenders which emulate the curve of the front bay panels. All steel which is rust free, is bathed in metallic green which contrasts nicely with the chrome trimmings. A split front windscreen slightly sloped rearwards, near perfect glass all around including the split rear window are seen. Doors share a common latch on the B pillars making the rear doors suicide. Beautiful fender skirts complete with a large winged badge frame wide whites which reside on all 4 corners, and are covered with chromed Chrysler badged moon caps. On back wider stalks have a rocket styled taillight attached to either end with a beautiful bezel covering the red glass. Forming a rounded trunk which opens from the back, (earlier versions were only accessible from the passenger compartment), and another shiny bumper below and we have the exterior of this forward thinking car.
A swing of all 4 doors and we see wonderful tan and brown tweed coverings for the door panels. These have shiny knobs and levers, and a brown carpet strip on the bottoms. As we move inside a like new bench seat within its own stylized tub, is all covered in the tan and brown tweed with a slight tuck and roll pattern in the mid sections of the seat and back. There is also some horizontal smaller tuck and roll stretching across the seats in the mod section of the backs. The rear bench is sculpted and covered in the same manner as the front, although nice armrests are on this bench as well as a fold down center. Faux painted metal wood graining is surrounding all the windows and sills and highlights the edges of the seat mounts. Showroom condition carpeting in a warm gray floods the floors and a nice light headliner is above. Lest we forget the highlight of the interior which is art art deco styled dash. More painted in metal faux wood grain, square white faced gauges with gold type and numbering. In the very center of this dash is a gauge cluster, more art deco styling and in square format. An original large black bakelite steering wheel fronts this beautiful dash.
Under this not very wide hood is a fully restored 324ci L head inline 8-cylinder engine. There is a single 2-barrel carburetor feeding it, and oil back is a 3-speed manual transmission with overdrive and a 4.30 gear rear axle.
As with a restoration of such quality, the undercarriage is not to be outdone by the topside. Here we see nicely painted in black, rust free surfaces and structure. A new fuel tank is now in, and leaf springs provide the ride on all 4 corners. Power hydraulic drum brakes, (another innovation), are also installed. Just a nicely done job under here.
A quick starter, and it ran like a champ on the test track. Smooth acceleration, bias free hydraulic braking, and all functions were doing well during my test drive.
It runs great and looks great with just a beautiful painstakingly detail oriented restoration for this rare Airflow from Chrysler. I don't know which I love more...the interior or the exterior! I'll take the entire package.
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