85/2562-4 Toy car, Chrysler Airflow four-door sedan, metal, clockwork operated, part of a 2-car garage set, made by K.T. Japan, c.1934
This tin toy car, made in Japan in the 1930s before the Second World War by KT, is part of a 2-car garage set. The car is a representation of the full-size 1934 four-door Chrysler Airflow manufactured in America by the Chrysler Corporation from 1934 until 1937. The Airflow, as it name suggests, was the first full-size American production car to use streamlining in its design. Chrysler engineers, Carl Breer, Fred Zeder and Owen Skelton made a series of wind tunnel tests in 1930 to ascertain air resistance in automobile design. They were aided by the aviation pioneer, Orville Wright. The results confirmed that the then current automobile design was very aerodynamically inefficient. The engineers devised ways the automobile could be built with monocoque or unibody construction which reduced the weight of the car together with streamlining around the radiator, headlights and windscreen. The Airflow went into production but was a commercial failure largely due to it appearing too modern. During the Depression, when there was little consumer confidence, the public shunned the vehicle because it appeared too advanced and only 10,839 cars were sold in its first year of production. The design of the Chrysler Airflow was 20 years before its time.
The tin toy representation of the Chrysler Airflow is an interesting example of how closely the latest designs from American car manufacturers were followed by Japanese tin toy makers, even those which proved to be unpopular in real life.
Acting Curator, Science & Industry