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Friday, May 6, 2016

Hot Wheels Custom 1934 Chrysler Airflow



One of the most advance automobiles in the 1930's is the Chrysler Airflow.  Like the Tucker Torpedo the Airflow was ahead of its time and, unfortunately, not of much interest to consumers at that time.  How can you make a classic like the Airflow and turn it into a Hot Wheels?  You make a custom, of course, and that can lead to mixed results.



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The idea of the Airflow when Carl Breer watched the interesting formation of geese in a V-shape when flying, studying the way they flow through the air.  After taking that idea to other Chrysler engineer's they found out that cars in the 1930's were so aerodynamic inefficient that it was best to turn the car backwards to get the desired coefficient drag.  In order to get the desired shape and save weight the car used a uni-body construction to make the car more durable and efficient.  The shape is smooth on all fronts with flush headlights, waterfall grille, and even a spare tire smoothly integrated into the trunk.  The interior has a flat dashboard with gauges in the center, 4-spoke steering wheel, and shifter on the steering column.  The stronger body also resulted in better structural rigidity in a rollover accident.  The powertrain is a 299 CID I-8 that produces 122 horsepower through a 3-speed manual transmission.  The complex shape with the Airflow caused problems when the first Airflow's left the factory ranging from parts coming off to engines coming completely off their mounts at 80 mph.  After a few years the Airflow was ended and Chrysler went back to more conservative styling.



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For the Hot Wheels version that was released in the Boulevard series in 2012 having a stock Airflow wasn't enough; a custom version was up in order.  The front has large headlights and signal lights that look kinda awkward on this casting, flanked by the famous chrome waterfall grille to a bumperless lower front fascia.  The two-tone beige/cream paint looks nice and conceals the pinstripping along the vehicle.  In addition, the roof is chopped, the door handles shaved, and the rear fender skirts retained.  The smooth wheelcaps look good on this casting and give it a speedster look to it, as does exposing the engine:  The air filter pokes out of the hood, while the side exhaust kicks out the left side panel to expose the engine block details in chrome.  The rear flows down to a split window and a spare tire hump with chrome center cap; from this angle the Airflow can look like any other classic Hot Rod.  The chassis is metal and show some drivetrain detail, while the interior is hard-to-see through the deeply-tinted and small windows.



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The casting is a mixed bag: it looks cool with the hot rod look and the exposed engine, not to mention the sleek two-tone color, but it also ruins the look of the original Airflow.  To no surprise this casting has not seen much action and if it has it's been invisible with loads of graphics that hide the Airflow even more.  Hopefully someday Hot Wheels can issue a cleaner version like this first release, or better a stock version of the car that was ahead of its time.

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