1934 Chrysler Airflow: Love Story

airflow

These are the ones I hope for – the eBay listings for cars that have so much of their previous owners’ history ingrained within them that it’s impossible not to become part of the story yourself. This 1934 Chrysler Airflow here on eBay comes with lots of reading material, according to the seller, thanks to the original owner who documented his time with the car. From buying it new in Alaska to driving to Oregon to see his mother in the hospital (and eventually meet his future wife, then a nurse), there’s something about cars like these that just tells you nature intended for them to survive. Even today, this vintage Airflow still resides in Alaska, with wooden boards for floors and knobby rear tires for muddy Alaskan roads. This is the epitome of a preservation candidate, and I hope the next owner doesn’t erase its history with an ambitious (and frankly, tasteless) over-restoration.

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Comments

  1. RayT Member

    Nice romantic story, Jeff. But if someone were to “preserve” this Airflow, I’m afraid they’d wake up one morning to find that they were the proud owner of four tires and a huge pile of iron oxide.

    I like “patina” as much as the next guy — well, maybe not as much as the “next guy” around here — but the thought of making this safe to use without a total stripdown fills me with all the chills of an Alaskan winter. And once it is completely reduced to components, there is no point in not putting paint on the body, plating on the trim and upholstery on the seats.

    In my view, “preserving” a rusty, worn, poorly cared-for car like this is delaying the inevitable. Heck, it may be too late even to restore it….

    Like 1
  2. Rich

    I have to agree with RayT. It would need to be restored. This is beyond patina. Besides, patina looks great on a rat rod or pickup, but not on an Airflow or other similar classic. Just my opinion though. That being said, I’d love to have something like this to rescue, but not at that price.

    Didn’t the Airflow last week have the same issue with the glass?????

    • Ed P

      Early safety glass was two panes with some sort of gel between them. As the gel dried out, after many years, it would grey out the glass. It seemed to be a common occurrence on all old cars.

      • John Sanderson

        It was an early clear plastic, possibly a celluloid. The same technique & process is used today, but with better materials. old glass would often delaminate & the plastic would go semi-opaque whitish-yellow.

  3. rdc

    I think it belongs in an Alaskan museum with no alterations as it does not appear to be really roadworthy and a restoration would destroy it’s history.

    Like 1
  4. Chris A.

    That must have been one tough car over all these years. I’m with rdc on this one.

  5. JW454

    For some reason the Airflow cars always reminded me of the cartoon character “Droopy”. If I owned one it’s name would have to be…..

    Like 1
  6. grant

    I’m usually for a tastefully done restoration but I think I’m in agreement with chris and jdw here. Put it in display in an exhibit about the settling of the area.

  7. Brad

    Maybe someone with more experience in rusty steel can set me straight. Would – could? – someone who just loved the current appearance simply, 1. remove and coat the inside of all panels with POR-15 (or other rust converter), 2. reassemble the entire car, and 3. spray a matte clear coat on the exterior?

    Again, I’m not educated on this, but it seems like if that method were followed thoroughly… one could theoretically halt its otherwise inexorable progress into a pile of oxide powder.

  8. DJ

    I’m afraid once you really look at it, you will have to do a complete resto on it. My 30 Chevy had 25k miles on it when I pulled it out of the barn. Sheetmetal looked great. But once you looked at it, all the wood was rotten. Sure I could have cleared it and called it survivor. But the wood holds the sheetmetal up. I did a full frame off on it and couldn’t be happier.

  9. Doug Towsley

    I have seen much much worse saved, This isnt that terminal at all. Por15 has a good reputation and is good in certain locations but you should start with a product called OSPHO. Its a converter and primer etch product that converts Iron Oxide to Iron Nitrate which is inert and stops the corrosion. (Actually no such thing as rust, Rust is a slang term for Iron Oxide) In some cases, you need to wire brush it, and apply a second coating but it stops the corrosion unless its inner granular or dissimilar metal corrosion. THEN paint those surfaces with a good etching or converter paint, such as POR15 or RM/Diamont DE15 or similar. Then cutaway whats bad, and weld in new material. No space here, but i can give you some tips on welding paper thin materials. I have currently 3 prewar ratrods, and my 39 Dodge Coupe is much worse, but will recover just fine. Never going to be a resto, but will be on the road again and history preserved. I realize these kinds of projects are not for everyone but it sure gets old hearing some peoples negativity and rush to judgement. These cool old cars need to be saved, not scrapped. 14k? way too much, but it IS super cool.

    • SoCal Car Guy

      Hey Doug, thanks for some great tips! I’ve used POR15 and been pleased with it but had never heard of OSPHO or using t first. Shared experiences and knowledge are a big part of what makes sites like Barn Finds so worthwhile.

      • Doug Towsley

        Heres a reasonable price as they vary considerably, (you might have a retailer or wholesale dist near you) see: http://www.worldpaintsupply.com/ospho-1g-metal-treatment/
        Here is the directions from the manufacturer : http://www.ospho.com/directions.htm
        I have been using this product for 30 years and very satisfied. Be sure you remove all oil and grease. But i used to do restorations and customs as a business. I just dabble in it on the side now. Vintage motorcycles (mostly British) and variety of car and truck projects means i never am in a short supply of old rusty metal that needs treatment. No space here for all the specifics, but I thought i would share as it is VERY useful for any old vehicle enthusiast.

    • John Sanderson

      Nice summation Doug! Those that think they know how good/bad a vehicle is from a couple of photos probably have never actually restored one. Things always turn out to be a little more work & money than first surmised, and the work requires either learning some skills or paying for them. It all depends on your wallet, patience, & abilities!

  10. Karl

    I vote for full restoration. This is a historically significant car. It was one of the first cars to use monocoque construction (although I understand it was not a true mono-coque, but pretty close) for the safety of the passengers. This is the car that you’ve probably seen in the old newsreel being shoved off a cliff, tumbles down like a beach ball, and is still intact at the bottom. No other car of the era could survive that. And it would be a real looker when done, too.

  11. John b

    Anyone know what this sold for?

    • Doug Towsley

      Dont know what it sold for,,, and been too long to look it up on past auctions on Feebay as they only save them for 60 or 90 days? Maybe someone had it bookmarked on their feeBay watched list and can tell you. Its been a while since this car was discussed, but relooking at it makes me kind of annoyed about all the comments on the rust-corrosion. This one doesnt look that bad to me. You guys would freak if you saw some of the old cars i rebuilt. Im sure there are others as well who have done surgery and saved the patient. My respect is for those who save vintage vehicles. If you arent sure how, ask and find those who will share their knowledge. At the NW Vintage Car and Motorcycle museum we teach classes and offer mentorships or will network and find you a guru. Not going to hold your hand and do the work for you, but for those willing to do the work and learn, we are here to help.
      See: http://nwcarandcycle.com/index.html
      We also work with local schools and teach skills. We are working on completing the next phase of construction which will add classrooms, library and other areas. Consider a donation, purchasing a brick (Great way to remember a loved one) or if you have a old vehicle or memorabilia, consider donation as well.

      Like 1
      • John b

        Thanks for the quick reply. I did some snooping and i found on u tube the airflow in question…or one that looks darn close to this one getting unloaded off a roll back…in denmark. Looks like she’ll be saved

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