1934 DeSoto Airflow Coupe

  • Brand: DeSoto
  • Car Code: 130478

1934 DeSoto Airflow Coupe

Chrysler’s Airflow line of the mid-1930s was the first truly aerodynamic streamlined American car. "It bores through the air," Chrysler advertised—and they could prove it, because the Airflow had been extensively tested in the wind tunnel. But it was more than its form that made the Airflow historically significant. Its steel, semi-unitized body was years ahead of the competition. Chrysler demonstrated the Airflow's structural strength by pushing one off a 110-ft high cliff, then driving the car away.

Introduced in 1934, the Airflow was sold under both the Chrysler and DeSoto brands until 1937. The first year, with its curved "waterfall" grille, was the purest expression of the design; the 1935 through '37 models had a more vertical grille, designed give them a more conventional appearance. Today, the '34 is especially prized for its resemblance to the famed streamline train, the Burlington Zephyr. Both the Airflow and the Zephyr were art moderne sensations at the 1934 Chicago World's Fair.

All Airflows were closed models and their interiors were also unlike anything else on the road. Inspired by aircraft of the time, the Airflow's seats featured exposed chromed tubular frames. The cloth upholstery had leather accents and piping. Most Airflows were 4-door sedans, although there was a coupe model sold in limited numbers. Underappreciated in its day, collectors have now begun to recognize the Airflow as a significant high water mark in American car design and engineering.

Perhaps the best looking DeSoto Airflow was the sleek 2-door Coupe model, of which fewer than 1600 were produced in 1934. Only a handful are known to survive today.

Descriptions & pictures by bonhams

Production Start 1934
Country of origin USA