1937 DeSoto Airflow
Lot 306
1936 DeSoto Airstream 2-Passenger Coupe Chassis no. S1BCD-2260
US$ 30,000 - 50,000
£18,000 - 30,000
Lot Details
1936 DeSoto Airstream 2-Passenger Coupe
Chassis no. S1BCD-2260
As soon as they realized the Airflow cars were going nowhere, Chrysler Corp. quickly set about developing new, more conventionally styled and considerably less costly Airstream models for 1935. The handsome Chrysler and DeSoto Airstream models combined streamline design with art deco motifs and classic proportions. They were designed under the direction of Raymond Dietrich, a highly regarded former custom body designer and former coachbuilder who would lead Chrysler designers out of the Airflow era.

The Airstream gave DeSoto a reason to celebrate at last. Sales of explorer Hernando DeSoto’s namesake shot up 116 percent for 1935, thanks to the new models. DeSoto would keep the popular Airstreams coming for 1936—while phasing out their version of the Airflow.

DeSoto Airstreams for 1936 did have subtle changes. The chassis was lowered by an inch, while the 1936 version’s 117” wheelbase was longer by the same measure. A metal roof insert replaced the soft inserts of earlier cars. A 93hp version of the reliable and peppy Chrysler Corp. six continued to power the 1936 DeSoto Airstreams. Independent front suspension, introduced in 1935, and the excellent 4-wheel hydraulic brake system helped make the cars a pleasure to drive.

The DeSoto offered here is a 1936 Airstream Business Coupe. It was one of the first coupe styles to have a deck lid extending down to bumper level, providing full access to the trunk compartment. The spare tire is inside, mounted vertically behind the single 2-passenger seat. Factory optional rear wheel shields further accent the Coupe’s clean lines.

This Airstream Coupe was part of a famous DeSoto collection that was broken up at an estate auction held in 2007. It is believed to have had only one or two previous owners and the 32,400 miles showing on the odometer are said to be accurate. According to the consignors, the car generally remains in amazingly well-preserved, factory-original condition.

The present owner has engaged a professional restoration facility to make the car fully operational again after its long-term storage. Numerous components in the brake, fuel and cooling system have been, or are to be, renewed prior to the sale. A new stainless steel fuel tank will be installed. Lubricants are being flushed and replaced as necessary. The cylinder head, which was cracked, is being repaired and will be re-installed on a freshly detailed engine that has had a full tune-up.

Few examples of the attractive 1936 DeSoto Airstream Business Coupe remain—which is to be expected perhaps, as only 2,592 were built to start with. The exemplary condition of this highly original example makes it especially appearing.
Auction information

This sale is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future sales, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this sale, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Arms & Armor, Coins & Medals, Motor Cars, Motorcycles, and Wine & Whisky:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first $100,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from $100,001 to $2,000,000 of the Hammer Price
12% on the excess over $2,000,000 of the Hammer Price

Payment Notices

Payment for purchases may be made in or by (a) cash, (b) cashier's check or money order, (c) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (d) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer, or (e) Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit, charge or debit card. A processing fee will be assessed on any returned checks. Please note that the amount of cash notes and cash equivalents that can be accepted from a given purchaser may be limited.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Lot symbols
Exempt from tax

Zero rated for VAT, no VAT will be added to the Hammer Price or the Buyer's Premium.