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Airflow Club of America Shows Off Vintage Vehicles

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The Steak-N-Shake on Glenstone Ave. was packed with many 80-year-old cars Friday.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The Steak-N-Shake on Glenstone Ave. was packed with many 80-year-old cars Friday.

They rolled in for the Airflow Club of America's 51st annual national meet.

It's a time for Airflow owners to learn from each other about the model.

“They are a car from the ‘30s,” says Chandler Smith vice president of Airflow Club of America. “So think depression. Think before World War II. Think when this car was sold we just thought Hitler was a nuisance. That's how far back this goes.”

Smith came to Springfield from Scramento, California in a 1935 Chrysler Imperial.

“Winning is not important,” says Smith. “Just being here is really what's important.”

Smith says the judging is rigorous.

“Because we focused on Airflows,” he says. “So a lot of little differences from model to model to year to year. Judging is important because that helps us restore the cars to be as correct as possible. According the way they came from the factory and that's really what the club is designed to do is to protect and preserve these cars because it's really easy for someone to look at these and go ‘oh, that's a nice old car.’”

Smith says the Airflow was the first car to have a hood that opens like an alligator as opposed to a butterfly, the head lights integrated into the body, and all-steel construction.

“They were built with a safety cage that runs the whole length of the car,” he says.

According to Smith, an Airflow was once pushed one off a 10-story cliff and filmed it as it flipped.

“At the end a guy got in the door and drove away,” says Smith. “The first car to take aerodynamics into account, which is why it's called an Airflow. The first car to use a wind tunnel in its design and Orval Wright was the consultant on the wind tunnel… as in Wright brothers.”

Smith says the car was named one of the most revolutionary and influential cars of the 20th century.

“Cars were built a certain way prior to the Airflow and then a different way from then on,” he says. “Today there's not a car on the road that doesn't owe something to the Airflow.”

The 52nd annual national meet will be in Bend, Oregon.

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