1936 Chrysler Airflow C9 Coupe

The Chrysler Corporation made automotive history when it premiered the Airflow at the New York International Auto Show in January 1934. A product of Chrysler designer Carl Breer, along with fellow Chrysler engineers Fred Zeder and Owen Skelton, the Airflow was a monumental breakthrough in automotive design. In addition to its streamlined, Art Deco looks, the car was bursting with technical ingenuity: a novel beam-and-truss design combining light weight and superb strength, a precursor to the unibody; an enormous interior with chair-height, 50-inch-wide seats; a rear seat situated forward of the rear axle, offering unprecedented room7592 1936 Chrysler Airflow Coup, a first an automobile; and an engine placed over the front axle, 20 inches further forward than in other Chryslers, making for a very spacious front seat. All passengers sat within the wheelbase, resulting in a remarkably smooth ride.

Although the press was generally positive in its reaction and enamored with the car’s technology, the public was not. The blunt shape did not arouse enthusiasm, and many of the design cues that are now cherished by enthusiasts were shunned in their day. Airflows disappeared after 1937 but are today regarded as automotive icons due to their myriad of technical and stylistic advancements.

This 1936 Chrysler Airflow Series C9 Coupe is particularly rare as one of just 110 examples built and only 5 known to survive. A copy of the factory build card, supplied by FCA Historical Services, confirms this Airflow C9 was built with such desirable features as overdrive and power-assisted, Lockheed hydraulic brakes. Its known and unbroken provenance stretches back to 1958. A detailed, concours-level restoration was performed during the early 2000s and more recently elevated in 2016–2017. Resplendent in Fawn Beige, the presentation is exquisite, with outstanding paint and impeccable brightwork and detailing.

The cabin is expansive and accommodating and is beautifully trimmed with herringbone broadcloth upholstery. A large speedometer and multigauge highlight the beautiful Art Deco dash, which is finished in a complementary shade of dark brown.

At the heart of the Airflow is Chrysler’s 323 c.i. inline eight, producing 115 horsepower. A smooth-shifting three-speed manual backs the engine, and while the overall design is somewhat conventional for such an advanced car, it is beautifully engineered and constructed, imparting the Airflow with the outstanding road manners for which they are well known. The engine is finely detailed as befitting of a concours-restored car.

The car has been active on the show circuit and concours entries include the Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance in 2018, and again in 2021 when the Airflow earned the esteemed Palmetto Award. In 2019, the rare Chrysler was exhibited in Tampa, Florida, at the Gasparilla Concours d’Elegance, winning Best in Class. It has earned AACA National First Place Junior, Senior, and Grand National awards, AACA President’s Cup in the SE Region in 2018, First in Class honors at the 2022 Chattanooga Motorcar Festival, as well as the Walter P. Chrysler (Best of Show) award at the Airflow Club of America’s 2022 meeting. While the Chrysler Airflow was only briefly made, its advanced design foreshadowed numerous design principles still in use among the world’s automakers. This exceedingly rare and sporting C9 Coupe is a true design landmark, and a most fitting touchstone to the engineering excellence of Walter P. Chrysler and his staff.

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Stock number 7592

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