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The production version debuted in January of 1934 as the Airflow.
Prices ranged from $995 for the De Soto version to $1,345 for the Chrysler. A gigantic Imperial was offered for $5,145.
Chrysler Corp. promoted the Airflow with an interesting nationwide marketing campaign. Its cars were routinely rolled, shot at and abused for arena crowds during Chicago's 1933-34 Century of Progress International Exposition. Chrysler even dropped a sedan 110 feet into a rock quarry for the cameras, after which the damaged car's doors and windows were shown to operate perfectly. It drove away under its own power. The Airflow shattered every economy and endurance record in its class, including a well-publicized drive from New York City to San Francisco that averaged 21.4 miles per gallon. Its trendy Art Deco styling won numerous awards, such as the Grand Prix at the Concours d'Elegance at Monte Carlo.
Unfortunately, a late start on the '34 production run, an overestimation of the public's acceptance of new ideas and some early reliability problems killed enthusiasm for the Airflow. Chrysler only sold 10,839 Airflows during the first year; De Soto managed 13,940. It was a paltry sum by anyone's reckoning. There were cosmetic changes for 1935 and '36, but Chrysler accepted defeat and turned out fewer than 5,000 for 1937 before ending the model.
The Airflow revolution was over in only four years, but the car's innovative aerodynamic influence would appear in many designs to come. In 1932, only one automaker used a wind tunnel to sculpt a vehicle's body; today, every part of every car is extensively tested for wind resistance before going to the showroom.
Hawkins, a local old car enthusiast, will display his 1935 Chrysler Airflow as part of the Breakthrough Designs display during the April 2-5 Food Lion AutoFair. The maroon four-door sedan was restored in 1990 and Hawkins purchased it six years later.