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“Not hogtied to engineering tradition or artistic fetishes:” How Chrysler heralded the Airflow’s innovations

Published in blog.hemmings.com

Nothing lasts forever. For more than 80 years, Chrysler executives – through one corporate parent after another – have refrained from resurrecting the Airflow name despite its intrinsic value and the plethora of engineering advancements that the Airflow embodied: unit-body construction, streamlined shape, and better-balanced layout.

Whether it was finally time to unretire the name or whether memories are short these days, FCA will debut an EV concept at CES this year called the Airflow Vision – a concept that doesn’t appear nearly as radical (compared with its contemporaries) as the original.

So while FCA makes the pitch for translucent spats and touchscreens everywhere, let’s take a look at a few videos from the original Chrysler Airflow’s introduction touting that car’s engineering background, its speed and economy, and its ostensible safety advancements. Granted, the videos make Carl Breer out to be the guy who discovered streamlining and they don’t address the Airflow’s poor reception or adhere to current understanding of aerodynamics, but it can’t be said that Chrysler wasn’t trying to build the most advanced production car possible with the Airflow.