Video: Creating the 1934 Chrysler Airflow

This original 1934 factory film explores the ground-breaking engineering that produced the fascinating but doomed Chrysler Airflow. it’s a great story, don’t miss it. 



REVISED AND EXPANDED — Produced by the Chrysler Corporation in 1934, this short promotional film is titled Fashioned for Function, which also happened to be an Airflow advertising slogan. The clip is great viewing today on a number of counts, but we especially enjoyed seeing the state of the art in automotive aerodynamics circa 1934.

As Chrysler engineering guru Carl Breer liked to point out, early automobiles were often more aerodynamically efficient when they were turned around backward. We see that principle illustrated here, and we are also treated to a glimpse of Breer himself at work. The film also shows the 1/10 scale wind tunnel at Chrysler’s Highland Park engineering lab, a potential first in the auto industry that was developed with guidance from aviation pioneer Orville Wright. There are also demonstrations of tufting, oil and lampblack testing, and the other techniques used to understand aerodynamics in the early 1930s.

Along with the aero, the film explores other aspects of the Airflow’s advanced design, including its innovative packaging and semi-unitized construction. The 1934-1937 Chrysler/DeSoto Airflow line might be one of the more notable flops in Motor City history, but it wasn’t for the lack of sound and innovative engineering, as this fascinating film illustrates. Video below.


3 thoughts on “Video: Creating the 1934 Chrysler Airflow

  1. A design that was so far advanced that people couldn’t comprehend it. As they used to say in the jazz music business when the audience didn’t respond: “Too hip for the room.” I like the Laurel and Hardy-type music that they used .. Then again that was the style of music back then..and for some.. too hip for the room..

  2. The Airflow truly was ahead of its time. The description has been applied to many cars, but in this case it was totally apt.

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