Two Of The Ten 1934 Chrysler Airflow Coupes

UPDATE 12/30/2019 – This pair of Airflows first showed up back in late 2017. Fast forward two years and they are now up for grabs here on eBay. They are still available on Hemmings, but with their original $85k asking price. They are down to $45k on eBay with all the same photos, so this one will require some investigating!

FROM 10/22/2017 – Owning a car that’s one of ten known to survive is interesting enough…but how about owning two? That’s the opportunity presented by this pair of 1934 Chrysler Airflow CU coupes in Brooklyn, New York. Of course, rarity doesn’t come cheap, and the seller is entertaining offers in the neighborhood of $85,000 for the pair and won’t split them up. You can find them on Hemmings, and thanks to reader Tom C. for pointing us in their direction!

These are the only two photos provided, but they show two fairly complete-looking cars, and two photos of this pair is more than most people will ever see of an Airflow CU coupe. Produced only for the Airflow’s first year, 1934, on the shortest of the four available Chrysler Airflow wheelbases (the companion DeSoto Airflow rode a fifth, shorter-still wheelbase), the combination of a long, bulbous nose with a fairly short, fast roofline make these cars look like they’ve just jumped off the pages of a ’30s Superman comic book. These are described as “sound cars” that come with “a mountain of extra parts, including grills, heads, correct upholstery material, correct overdrives, etc.”

For reference, here’s a restored car that was sold by Barrett-Jackson for $90,750 in 2006. While the Hemmings ad claims that the two project cars in Brooklyn are “perhaps two of the last remaining unrestored examples of the 10 know [sic] cars in the world,” Barrett-Jackson said that this car was “believed to be one of only 8 coupes that are complete cars in the US.” Are these two being added to the eight to get to ten, or are they included in that lower figure? I also found this car, sold by RM Sotheby’s in 2009 for $57,200, and this Canada-based coupe, which sports a Hemi mill and a custom-fabricated chassis, and is not in the U.S. and could be considered “not complete,” so who knows if and how it figures into the count of survivors! It would be interesting to piece together the whole list.

With values of restored cars varying pretty wildly within such a small sample size, it’s hard to say whether the $85,000 ask for this pair is on the money—don’t forget, you’d also be doubling your restoration costs—but for a car that combines historical significance, advanced engineering, stunning style, and rarity, plus the cachet of knowing you’re probably the only person who owns two, it’s an intriguing offer!

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Comments

  1. Darren Dover

    Are we sure there is only ten of these left?!

    Like 1
    • EJH

      Right, might be another?? Don’t really know if the Green 1935 Chrysler Imperial model C-2 Airflow that was with the “Art Deco Cars” exhibit in Raleigh NC in late 2016 – early 2017 is part of the count or not. It sure was a great looking car!

      Like 2
    • Will Fox

      Well, I’m sure that anyone knows of anyway. There can’t be many; these weren’t real hot sellers in their day. My grandfather had a
      lt. gray `36 sedan. IMHO, few cars scream ‘art deco’ like an Airflow. To me, style-wise these are second only to a `38-`41 Lincoln Zephyr 3-window coupe.

      Like 4
  2. DrinkinGasoline

    The seller is obviously not in their right mind in putting these up for sale.

    Like 4
  3. Alfie

    What surprises me more than owning two of them is where they’re located. Brooklyn is about the last place I’d check for a ’34 Chrysler Airflow.

    Think I could find a winged warrior in Queens?

    Like 4
  4. Tyler

    Looks like Volkswagen ripped off Chrysler when they designed the Beetle.

    Like 4
    • BiggYinn

      Have a look at the tatra v570 prototype
      pre-dates both the crysler airflow and beetle

      Like 5
    • Leon

      wonder if somebody has a kit to make a Beetle look more like an Airflow Kinda like a modern day clone car kit for an old VW donor car

      Like 2
      • Andy

        Noses to make Beetles look like ’40 Fords (or maybe Continentals?) or Rolls-Royces were pretty common, but the Airflow is so rare now because nobody bought them, and nobody bought them because they were ugly, so somebody’s gonna have to fabricate that. A Beetle would need a chop job to get the proportions right, too.

        Like 1
  5. Luke Fitzgerald

    Alf – I know Copaigue is over twenty miles from Queens – but have a look at ‘carsinbarns’ – Wing cars, line 4 – picture 1

  6. Mark S

    Restore one and hotrod the other and paint them to match.

    Like 1
  7. Wayne

    Hot rod one? Yeah that makes sense. Not.
    Like cutting your investment by 75%

    Like 9
  8. Scott

    The price is too high. Knock off about 25k to get to the break even point. Rarity doesn’t always mean expensive.

    Like 10
  9. Shadyblue

    That trailer looks like it would be a teeter totter … It needs another axle…

    Like 2
  10. Madmatt

    This is why I am such a fan of this site!
    I can see vehicles, of such rarity,and stunning styling,
    that I never knew existed,let alone 2 in the same ad!
    It seems like a good starting point on price,as it
    is easier to go down,but hard to raise up.Really cool
    vehicles here,should be restored,but I would have a very
    hard time “driving”something this scarce/rare.,talk about a
    white knuckle ride,Iwould have an ulcer by the time,
    I crossed the street ! LOL

    Like 11
  11. jtnc

    My favorite part of the ad is “not anxious to sell these.” At that asking price it’s unlikely there will be much anxiety.

    When the seller refers to only 10 known in the world, I think he is referring to Airflow CU Coupes specifically, not to Airflow Coupes in general. Although Airflow Coupes were a low percentage of the production and are indeed quite rare, I think there are far more than 10 in existence.

    Like 3
    • waynard

      Materials drives for WWII were gearing up when these were already 10 years old. I’d guess a lot of these went to the grinder. “The Production Figure Book for U.S. Cars” says: 1934 Airflow Series CU, r.s. (rumble seat) coupes, 732. Series CY coupes, 9. Not a lot. Total Chrysler production for ’34: 36,929.

      Like 2
    • jmolsn Member

      Yes, the 34 was the only year for the true “waterfall” grill. Later years they made the grills more conventional to help sales

      Like 2
  12. Milt

    When the seller use the word “rare” twice in a sentence, you know he’s asking too much.

    Like 8
    • Also named Milt

      It also says “no reserve” but with a starting price of $45k. Isn’t that a reserve? Who’s going to pay $45k based on 3 pictures and an assurance that there’s a pile of extra parts? A past auction for them only generated $25k.

      BTW – He’s also selling a couple of domain names for $250k

      Like 2
  13. Clutch

    IIRC these cars suffered from having suspension/frame problems. Too bad, these are some beautiful cars.

    I’ve seen at least one of these hot-rodded. Orange, Hemi, no fenders. Definitely a unique ride.

  14. Greg

    I don’t think that is right as to the number still in existance. There must be more. I believe there were 732 units built and the original price was $1,245.00. It has a Straight 8, 298.7 cubic inches, and created 122 horsepower. It is a model CU Air-flow Coupe. We have one sitting in our shop here in Boise that is all restored, and another, a 1935, without an engine that is in need of restoration. And yes, they are both 2 doors, but are hard to find.

    Like 5
  15. Jim

    For sure there are more than 10 CU coupes in existence. There is a pair within 10 miles of where I live that have not seen the light of day in over 30 years. Bought by a lady for her collector husband for a wedding anniversary present. He’s been gone for 8-10 years and the cars won’t move until she is gone ( she’s in pretty good health) One car could be restored, the other for parts – very rough. wish I could own one!

    Like 3
  16. Steve H

    Ah, Airflows… they were such a beautiful expression of the Art Deco era. The waterfall grill, hood & skirt ornaments, bumpers, headlight bezels and streamlined fenders, all pretty much defined how something aerodynamic should look for that era.

    Like 8
  17. JP in WI

    Beautiful styling… If I had the ability to buy one of these affordably and had an unlimited budget–I’d build it for Bonneville!!!

    Like 1
  18. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    I find claims of “…only 10 known to exist, one of one known to exist, none better” to be highly amusing. Using registrations, or club registries, or fortune tellers, there is just no way to know accurately. We are finding static, no powertrain 1930-1960s factory show cars meant to be destroyed uncovered and restored to Pebble Beach standards. To me that means poor record-keeping or urban myths created over the years. Being a Corvair guy, I hear people say how few 1962 Loadside trucks or 1962 Monza wagons are still around in unrestored state. 20 years ago I tripped over both of them in a briar-covered back yard of the original owner. Do you think those were ever included in the statistics for “unrestored examples.” I had to be Indiana Jones just to dig them out from under all the flora and fauna excrement.

    Like 6
    • Bump52

      Covair guys gotta stick together. Rampside hmmmmm

      Like 3
  19. nessy

    Ah the Airflow. Very modern for it’s time. They are stunning works of art for sure. Airflows, at least the Chrysler version with the 8, had overdrive, there is a knob in the center of the dash that you pull out. When the car hits about 40, you pull the knob, let up on the gas pedal and you hear the overdrive clunk in. At that point, a healthy Airflow 8 will run 80 mph all day on the highway at low rpm. This is one of the few cars from this era that can pull such speeds without overloading the drivetrain. You can roll down the side windows with the vent windows, or, you can open the vents and just the side glass will roll down. Pretty tricky. My Airflow is a final year 37 Chrysler 8 model. Many Airflows did survive and there are more than 10 of the original 34 coupes left. They are listed in the Airflow club. Watch out for rust. Airflows rust in hidden spots that you can’t find until you pull the car apart to restore.

    Like 6
    • Dave

      These belong to a friend of mine (the seller). Maybe I can clarify something.
      The rarity is based on them being 1934 CU Coupes.
      There are other coupes from later years that survive and there are other 1934 Airflows that survive. There are even 1934 Desoto (6-cylinder) Airflow coupes that survive.
      But the cool one to have (as he tries to explain in his ad) is the ’34 CU Coupe.
      I think the Airflow Register may list 12. I looked at his registry when it came in the mail last fall. I hand-counted the number and it was in the 10 or 12 range for ’34 CU Coupes. Maybe if he has time, nessy can check my math.
      So, sure, some guy may have one but if the club doesn’t know about it and if the world doesn’t know about it, then it isn’t known to exist. That’s what ‘known’ means in this context. :)
      I hope that clears up some of the question(s) surrounding what makes them special and/or unique.

      One other interesting tidbit- Chrysler (I’m told) changed the grille manufacturing process in the first year (1934). At one point the ’34 grilles were cast in one piece. At another point in time during that year they were built up out of individual vertical pieces. If you look closely at the pic you may be able to see that one car has a grille manufactured in pieces and the other one is a single casting.

      Like 13
      • waynard

        Excellent information. Thank you.

        Like 8
  20. Mitch Ross Member

    From the looks of the houses, this is near my house. Would be pretty cool to check these out, but i wouldn’t want to waste the sellers time since I could never afford, nor restore them

    Like 3
  21. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    As cool as they are, doe doe bird comes to mind. 45K? Be nice to see them both restored, but not at my expence.

  22. Marty

    His numbers are way off. They look like very nice projects if only there was any room left to restore one with his inflated price.

    • Dave

      The last restored ’34 CU coupe(s) to sell went in the $225-250K range to a museum and a serious collector. One of those sellers (who is senior in the Airflow Club) told him what to price them at based on those selling price.

      Like 2
  23. MOTRV8D

    Only 3 pics of the bodies and none of the interiors, engines or trunk floors. If he has all those spare parts and upholstery, etc., why not show it? Red flags…

    Like 3
    • Dave

      I’m a friend of the seller and helped load the cars when we moved them. He does have all those spares, etc.
      For any serious inquiry he would be happy to furnish any and all further pics.
      Thanks guys for the new comments and for keeping this thread alive. Hope everyone has a happy and safe new year.

      Like 10
  24. Rex Kahrs Member

    Would you walk $45,000 into Brooklyn to buy a car from a guy who goes by the name “scuzzy” ??

    Like 4
    • YooperMike

      good one

  25. Bruce

    I have helped restore a pair of these back in the 1970’s and a car more sensitive to color choice I have never seen. The color Gray is good as is Maroon but the owner wished us to paint one of the ones we restored the original green that it came from the factory with and when pulled out into the sun it looked like a giant pickle. That was the general consensus of all that saw it. Better with chrome and bumpers on but the effect was still there.
    That being said they were very well made cars for the time and far more modern than most would expect in so many ways. Their biggest problem was that they were too different for most.

    Like 6
  26. Andrew Franks

    This is where i run out of patience. I don’t care what everybody says the cars are worth, it’s nowhere near $80,000.00, if the Seller is not anxious to sell why is he/she wasting our time? Including the trailer and parts you should be looking at $35,000.00 for openers. You are North of a low six figures to get the cars done properly. But what’s the point?

    Like 2
    • Eigil

      Pigish greed be the answer to that. May he sitt on the cars till the end!

      Like 3
      • Pete Phillips

        Eigil,
        My thoughts, exactly. Total insanity on the prices he is asking. He can take ’em to his grave, and it looks like that’s what he’s going to do, since they’ve already been for sale for nearly three years, and there’s one too many zeros in the price.

  27. Eigil

    The seller clearly have promising future in banking..

  28. Kevin

    I’m hoping some of the experts here can help me. This post reminded me of my Dad who passed away back in1985 at the age of 65. He was born in 1920 in Canada near Montreal. He was a doctor and went to medical school at McGill University. As a young man, my Dad would always talk to me about a car he drove in medical school which he called “an Airflow, Club Coupe, Deluxe DeSoto”. He told me he once took the car apart piece by piece, bolt by bolt, and put it back together on a dare from his classmates. There was also some strange story of him trying to cross some bridge and the radiator leaking and him not having enough money for the toll. My Dad was quite eccentric when it came to cars. I’m sure I picked up an obsession for old cars from him as a young man that continues to this day. I am now 60, and have a huge stable of old Mustangs. This is my question:

    Knowing that my Dad would have been around 25 to 30 years old when he was in medical school, and that he was relatively poor at the time, and that he had a predilection for obscure cars, and that a 1934 Airflow would have been around 10 to 15 years old at that time and possibly within his means, and the fact that he lived in Canada, and the fact that he could have never afforded a new car at that time, what are the chances that he was an owner of one of these original 10 cars spoken about here? I seem to remember seeing an old photo of him standing next to a car just like the restored example listed above. I plan to spend some time looking for the photo. Any input would be appreciated, and thanks to the authors at Barn Finds for bringing back such great memories of my Dad and how he influenced my life. I too am a doctor now, and my income helps fund my old car obscession!

    Like 5
  29. Rob

    The eBay ad refers to ONE being available.

  30. Del

    So he is selling both now for 45 ?

    Advert says only 1.

    Confusing

    Like 2
    • MOTRV8D

      I think what the ad is saying is that there is one pair of cars available. If you say 2 available then that would mean you can buy only one if you want, which is not what he is offering. At least that’s what I think. If you read on, the rest of the ad copy says they are being sold as a pair. Yes, it is confusing.

      Like 3
  31. Brian

    I’m a little curious how he found or has spares for these cars if there are only 10 known to exist.

    Like 3
    • Rex Kahrs Member

      Wow Brian, that is the single best comment so far. I’ll be interested to here the answer to your question.

      Like 1
  32. Dale Watson

    I love to read all the comments and advice but if you want a 34 airflow Coupe these are available for consideration, you can talk to the owner and then your banker also your wife when all bases have been covered buy it restored it have the car of your dreams

    Like 1
  33. Dave

    Just got off the phone with the seller (my friend) and he and I were scratching our head about the ‘one’ comment.
    To be clear, he is selling both of his ’34 CU Coupes for a total of $45K.

    After re-reading the ad, the only thing I can figure is someone reading, ‘Recently, major museums have added one to their collection’.
    That is the only place in the ad where the word one appears. Fair enough.
    He was referring to recent sales of other cars.
    His cars are being sold as a pair for the $45K.

    Once again, thanks everybody for the interest and have a safe and happy new year.

    Like 6
  34. MOTRV8D

    Mark Worman should buy em for a Graveyard Carz series of shows and restore em both back to pristine condition.

    Like 3
  35. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    As I see it in current market value of restored units can bring approximately $200,000.00. So if an investor bought these two for $22,500.00 each and spent $100,000.00 restoring each of them he would spend $250,000.00 for a hopeful return of $400,000.00. That’s not a bad profit, but then it might take years to restore them and the market could crash on these cars, leaving you with $245,000.00 in speculation. Still you would have very rare and newly restored cars for bragging rights.
    God bless America

    Like 3
  36. George Mattar

    Some millenal looking to cash in. People don’t drive 80s cars on today’s over crowded roads let alone these almost 90 year old piles of junk

  37. Dave

    The coupes sold and the new buyers picked them up last week. They will be restored and on display in a museum collection in the future. All’s well that ends well.

    Like 1

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