At this time, automakers like to brag about low drag coefficients, however that wasn’t the case when this 1934 Chrysler Airflow Imperial Eight was constructed. This automobile was one of many first designed for low aerodynamic drag, however it in the end proved to be forward of its time, as Jay Leno explains on this episode of Jay Leno’s Storage.
The Airflow is thought for its streamlined bodywork, which was designed with assistance from wind-tunnel testing, a novelty on the time. Below the pores and skin, it had another notable design options. The engine was pushed ahead over the entrance axle to maximise inside house, and the ground was decrease than typical automobiles of the interval. The Airflow was additionally one of many first mass-produced automobiles with an all-steel physique.
This Chrysler is powered by a 299-cubic-inch flathead V8, which makes 122 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque, based on Jay. Drive is to the rear wheels by way of a 3-speed handbook transmission. Prime pace was someplace within the neighborhood of 100 mph.
Leno’s automobile is a CX sedan, which was the highest-end model with no coachbuilt physique. The automobile is notable for its opening two-piece windshield. Simply three of those Chryslers survive (out of 25, based on our analysis), however extra of the high-end CW variations have been saved, based on Jay.
The aerodynamic Airflow automobiles have been offered from 1934 to 1937, and all have been marked by a daring new teardrop design. Automobiles made after 1934 had fewer grille slats after which a more-traditional grille to attempt to acquire prospects.
Whereas aerodynamics would grow to be an integral a part of automobile design within the coming many years, the Airflow was a gross sales flop. Clients didn’t just like the styling, and Chrysler quickly went again to constructing more conventional-looking cars. Chrysler was additionally gradual to ramp up manufacturing, and a few prospects bought impatient, Jay mentioned.
Regardless of being greater than 80 years previous, the Airflow continues to be very usable, Leno mentioned, with enough energy for contemporary visitors, a snug experience because of a cabin positioned between the axles, and minivan-like house for passengers.
Whereas the Airflow title got here from the automobile’s aerodynamics, this automobile additionally options a number of means for air to movement into the passenger compartment, together with that opening windshield and wing home windows entrance and rear.
This text was initially printed by Motor Authority, an editorial associate of ClassicCars.com.