In 1934, Chrysler, with advice from Orville Wright, built a wind tunnel to test body shapes that led to the first unit-body, aerodynamic car — the Airflow. The idea came from Carl Breer after he tested conventional car shapes in a wind tunnel and found they registered much less drag “tail first.”
Chrysler’s Airflow "streamliner" was dramatic and ahead of its time — the fluid design and pioneering unit-body construction offered improved handing and passenger comfort in a vehicle unlike any seen before.
The Chrysler Airflow also featured recessed headlights, a low step-up height, a standard in-line eight-cylinder engine, automatic overdrive and good gas mileage (posting 21.4 miles per gallon on a coast-to-coast test trip). Unfortunately for Chrysler, the Airflow was a bit too different for most. Even though its design was soon widely copied, this first truly streamlined car was not a sales success.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in July of 2011 at The Inn at St. John's, Plymouth, Michigan.
130 bhp, 323.5 cu. in. L-head eight, three-speed manual transmission with overdrive, solid front and rear axles with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and Lockheed four-wheel vacuum-assisted hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 128"
Source: Chrysler press and RM Auctions