Saturday, November 12, 2011
Know your Airflow. How one of the best cars of its day was also one of the biggest failures
To fully appreciate the story of the Airflow, you need to put it into context. Airflows were built between 1934 and 1937. As you look at the Airflow pictures on this page, think about what a ’34 Chevy or Ford looked like. Heck, look at the first two cars on the left on my granddad’s car lot in the header and you’ll see a ’39 Pontiac and a ’37 Plymouth. That’s pretty much how all cars looked back then. So the swoopy Airflow was a tremendous departure from what people were used to.
It didn’t help that this was all happening during the Great Depression. Even people who could afford a new car didn’t want to be seen in something this conspicuous and modern. By-and-large, people tend to be conservative with their automotive choices, and that does doubly so when times are tough.
Jim Raysik’s amazing car collection in Clinton, Mo., however, a nice ’34 DeSoto Airflow coupe was one of the stars. By the way, when you look at the pictures of that car, keep in mind that there were only 1,584 coupes even built in 1934.