Imperial Home Page -> Imperials by Year -> 1936 -> Black 1936 Airflow Sedan
As a company, Chrysler came late to the car industry, but in its short life it had made all the right moves. Their design goals for the Airflow were (1) improved weight distribution for ride; (2) streamlining; (3) structural strength; (4) better mounting of bumpers; and (5) more room inside. Although several car manufacturers had incorporated streamlining features, especially in Europe, few had created a completely new car. This car was the first mass production example of streamlining in America, and helped establish the shap of the automobile as we know it.
A wind tunnel was used in the early designs, determining that a zeppelin-like oval tapering to the rear of the car was the automobile's optimal shape. The Airflow also included a welded chassis/body, known as unibody construction, very strong and safe, as well as a passenger compartment cradled between the axles which allowed for greater interior space while the car remained rather thin overall. The car had flush-mounted headlights and a grille that looked like a waterfall. The styling and construction were very unusual, and it may have been too much all at one time.
This 1936 Airflow has been part of the Stephenson family since 1940 when Jack Stephenson, Carl's father, bought the car from a bachelor who lived across the street. Carl's first car ride was when he was brought home from the hospital in this car. His family used the car to camp in the Sequoias. His father, Jack Stephenson, built the tent trailer that the Airflow pulled out of wood and plywood, and his mother sewed the canvas. The paint has suffered some over the years and the chrome work has been resurfaced, but the interior is original which is striking since this car helped raise three children.
(Click on any small picture for a larger view.)
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