Saturday, June 5, 2010

Better "Airflow?"

In the early 1930s, American engineers finally had access to wind tunnels and it was discovered that most of the cars in that period were more aerodynamic driving backwards. So in 1934, Walter Chrysler, who was previously a mechanic for the Union Pacific Railroad, set out to make an aerodynamic car.

The first car to be streamlined was rightfully named the Chrysler Airflow as seen above. It’s not hard to see the car’s relation to Locomotives (there’s a train behind the car in the photo). It is disputed that Ferdinand Porsche borrowed the idea for the Volkswagen Beetle.

Indisputably, the first Toyota was virtually a copy.

In 1934, Chrysler placed an advertisement in Fortune which said "By scientific experiment, Chrysler engineers have simply verified and adapted a natural fundamental law." But when Orville Wright actually tested the Airflow in a wind tunnel, its aerodynamics were no better than average.

In 1936, all Airflows got new die cast grilles, redesigned rear tail lamps, and a steel roof insert. Despite the celebrity and politician interest in the car, the Airflow was abandoned in 1937.

Custom Chrysler Airflow

~M/o  "Stay up to Speed"