The DeSoto Airflow
The Chrysler and DeSoto Airfow cars were an extremely different car.
Carl Breer, a Chrysler engineer was driving down the highway one day with his hand out the window, obviously enjoying the wind buffeting in the palm of his hand. Slowly he lowered his hand to the prone position and the gradually turned his hand down and was amazed at the lack of wind resistance he now experienced. He tried again and again this experiment and got to thinking how hard his present car was actually pushing through the air as all the styles of the day were quite blunt front end designs. What if they engineered and built a car with a sloping front end. It would be quieter, get better fuel mileage, and open up an all new ultra modern styling trend.
This set in motion to build the new Airflow models. When introduced for the 1934 model year Chrysler soon learned that some people liked the new design, but most did not. They ended up a sales flop.
DeSoto did not have a conventional design car in its 1934 lineup but Chrysler wisely did which helped sales greatly as most bought the original styled car.
DeSoto ended the Airflow in 1936, Chrysler struggled with it through 1937 and that was the last of the Airflow era.
Reg. McGee must have got his nerve up to order a new DeSoto Airflow or perhaps he was pressured by Chrysler. For a small town like Goderich to have such a car it drew a lot of attention but no buyers.
Reg. noticed a woman would walk by every day and really look the car over. He learned it was Mrs. Acheson whose family had a dry goods store up on the square. Reg. took the car to their house on Nelson Street for the husband and wife team to really look it over and drive the car and they were impressed with it.
A deal was made where the Acheson’s got the DeSoto and Reg. McGee Garage got $700.00 cash and a four unit building and extra lot at 63 Hamilton Street. The entire deal was written up on a W. Acheson & Son Dry Goods Letterhead. This was all we had for proof of the buildings ownership and when we finally needed a proper deed for resale of the property, it did present some difficulty but Brother Alvin was able to eventually get it registered in the McGee Garage name.
The building had two apartments upstairs. Down below, one side was used by Reg. as a showroom for new car display; the other side was rented to Ben Sheppard as a barber shop.
In 1937 Leonard, the eldest son would be 8 years old. He, with three buddies got into the new car on display in this building and started it in gear. It crashed right through the front window and was dangling out on the sill ready to fall onto Hamilton Street. Father Reg. heard the noise and rushed up the street. Len got a sound thrashing but the other 3 lads had fast disappeared. We know Lindsay Burroughs lived across the street and was one of those kids in the car. Lindsay in later years was a clerk at Whetstones Canadian Tire Store. Some will remember that later on, Willy Den Laundry was at the back and Frank Skelton Appliances was in the front where the barber used to be. Many years later the building was sold to Ben Sheardown Frosted Foods who eventually tore it down and then built a new store with some apartments along the back.
The DeSoto Airflow eventually was repurchased from the Acheson family in 1947 with only 6000 miles on it. It was then sold to Ken Pennington who owned the Esquire Grill on the Square (1950-1955) and later Western Tire on Hamilton Street (1955-1958).
When traded again, Al Lindfield a tire dealer in Goderich purchased the car.
After that - the one and only new DeSoto Airflow Reg. ever sold has been lost to history.
These Airflow Styled Cars eventually became very sought after due to their rarity and command top dollar in the collector car circuit today.