DeSoto Airstream

DeSoto Airstream
The Airstream was met with great enthusiasm by the public and sales nearly doubled for 1935 for DeSoto. Introduced in 1935, the Desoto Airstream was built by the Chrysler Corporation and marketed through the DeSoto division until 1936. The Airstream was sold alongside the streamlined DeSoto Airflow, and there was also a Chrysler Airstream model sold at the same time. The Airflow wasn't the most popular vehicle at the time, and the more mainstream Airstream was introduced as a 'stop-gap' until the introduction of the 1937 fully redesigned DeSoto.

The Airstream was built solidly and featured a more conservative body style and no longer carried the Airflow's broad grille work, integrated headlights, and moncoque construction. The Airstream came with an all-steel superstructure and while the conventional car rested on a frame, the Airflow featured a unibody style that placed the passenger compartment within the frame structure.

For the 1935 model year, the Airstream lineup included a 2-door business coupe, roadster coupe, convertible coupe, trunkback sedan, and a 5-passenger coupe. A base sedan and a trunkback sedan fell into the four-door category and all models came with Chrysler's vaunted 'Floating Power' rubber engine mounts which isolated engine vibration from the cassis. The Airstream came with an optional radio, heater, and carpeting for the front seat area. The Airstream was a popular option for buyers as it featured more traditional styling and it was priced around $200 less than the DeSoto Airflow.

A total of 20,003 DeSoto Airstreams were sold in 1935. The following year the Airstream was divided into two trim levels, the Custom, and the Deluxe. Deluxe models featured on piece windshields, while the Custom models were two-piece units while rapidly became the industry standard. A Custom Traveller model was introduced as well to the senior series and was built on a stretched 130' wheelbase. Popular with limousine conversion companies, Custom Traveller marked the start of DeSoto's long-standing and continuous relationship with the Taxicab industry.

A total of 33,938 units were sold during the 1936 model year. For 1936 DeSota received its own production facilities and sales continued to rise by more than ten thousand vehicles. Production more than doubled in 137 thanks to the attractive new styling and DeSoto moved from 13th to 12th in the industry. DeSoto outsold Nash for the first time since 1933.

By Jessica Donaldson