Chrysler Imperial 8 C-10 Airflow Sedan

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Imperial 8 C-10 Airflow Sedan





The 1934 to 1936 Chrysler Imperial ushered in the 'Airflow' design. The car was marketed with the slogan "The car of tomorrow is here today." It featured eight passenger seating and again an eight-cylinder engine. This was the first car to be designed in a wind tunnel. Initial tests indicated that the standard car of the 1920s worked best in the wind-tunnel when pointed backwards with the curved rear deck facing forward. This led to a rethinking of the fundamental design of Chrysler's line of cars. The Airflow was an exceptionally modern and advanced car, and an unparalleled engineering success. Both engine and passenger compartment were moved forward, giving better balance, ride and readability. An early form of unibody construction was employed, making them extremely strong. This was one of the first vehicles with fender skirts. In addition to its streamlined, Art Deco looks, the car was bursting with technical ingenuity: a novel beam and truss design combining light weight and superb strength (a precursor to the unibody); an enormous interior with 50-inch wide chair-height seats; for the first time in an automobile, a rear seat situated forward of the rear axle, offering unprecedented room; and an engine placed over the front axle 20 inches further forward than it did in other Chryslers, making for a very spacious front seat. Passengers sat within the wheelbase, resulting in a remarkably smooth ride.

The public never quite warmed to the styling, and the Airflow disappeared after 1937 with only 55,000 produced for both Chrysler and DeSoto car lines over four years. Today, they are regarded as automotive icons due to the myriad technical and stylistic advancements the car offered, with over 50 engineering firsts and 72 national speed records.

The public was put off by the unconventional styling and did not buy the car in large numbers. The failure of the Airflow cars in the marketplace led Chrysler to be overly conservative in their styling for the next 20 years. The "standard" styling on the lower-end Chryslers outsold the Airflow by 3 to 1.

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