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1935 Chrysler Airflow Chassis no. 7014765

Sold for US$50,400 inc. premiumLot to be sold without reserve
Lot 143
From the Private Collection of Carroll Shelby
1935 Chrysler Airflow

1935 Chrysler Airflow
Chassis no. 7014765

323ci L-Head Inline 8 Engine
Single Down-Draft Carburetor
115bhp at 3400rpm
3-speed Manual Transmission
Independent Front Suspension and Live Rear Axle
4-wheel Drum Brakes

*From the personal collection of Carroll Shelby
*Iconic 1930s Styling
*Innovative chassis construction
*Believed to have been owned by Steve McQueen


The Chrysler Airflow 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 Chrysler Airflow was offered 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 Chrysler 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. A powerful Chrysler L-head straight-eight, backed by a three-speed manual transmission with overdrive, powered all Airflow models.


The offered Airflow is a 1935 sedan that is believed to have been purchased by Carroll Shelby from the Steve McQueen Imperial Palace auction of 1984. Although there is no documentation to prove this at the current time, those once close to Carroll say that this is lot 557 from the McQueen auction catalog which pictures the car and describes it as restored and in excellent condition. Today, that description is still fitting as the car is in fantastic shape with the odometer showing just under 59,000 miles. Shocking and controversial when it was introduced, the Chrysler Airflow is today appreciated and celebrated as a predecessor of modern aerodynamic cars. It was, it turns out, truly a car ahead of its time. The car is offered with a Shelby vehicle authenticity certificate certifying that the car was owned by Carroll Shelby.

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