Steve McQueen and Carroll Shelby Owned This Chrysler, and It’s for Sale

Steve McQueen and Carroll Shelby are the epitome of coolness when it comes to car culture. Both have significant weight with their names, a weight that, over time, has created a permanent place in history for both of them in the automobile industry. So, it’s no surprise that they could appreciate all sorts of vehicles. Not surprisingly, when a vehicle shows up today at auction that both of them owned, a Chrysler, it garners a lot of attention. A vehicle with this kind of provenance is sure to be a star.

1935 Chrysler Imperial Airflow
1935 Chrysler Imperial Airflow owned by both Steve McQueen and Carroll Shelby |

Steve McQueen

McQueen was a handsome Hollywood actor that could handle a racecar with expert skill. In fact, he raced cars off-screen as a hobby. So, he lit up the silver screen and the racetracks alike. In one particular movie, he was able to combine his love of the automobile with his movie-making career. The movie, Bullitt, showed him chasing a Charger with his Mustang through the streets of San Fransisco, California. That would arguably become the best chase scene in all of moviedom for decades. Although McQueen acted in other racing movies, Bullitt is the standout specifically for that scene. 

Carroll Shelby

Carroll Shelby was a racecar driver and a visionary. After his racecar driving days ended, he had the idea that the American public would love high horsepower cars in smaller lightweight vehicles. So, after a few meetings, he directed an effort that created the Shelby Cobra for Ford. That would be the beginning of his manufacturing career that would become legendary in automotive folklore. 

As both McQueen’s and Shelby’s lives progressed, they were able to enjoy some of the finer things in life, such as collecting cars. That is one hobby both gentlemen had it in common. It appears that both of them even took a liking a particular Chrysler and had to have it in their collection. Both of them ended up owning the same 1935 Chrysler Imperial Airflow

1935 Chrysler Imperial Airflow Profile at Bringatrailer Auction
1935 Chrysler Imperial Airflow owned by both Steve McQueen and Carroll Shelby |

The 1935 Chrysler Imperial Airflow

The red Chrysler is powered by a 323 straight-eight producing 130 horsepower that was mated to a three-speed manual transmission. It sent that power to the rear wheels. It only has 59,000 miles on the odometer. 

McQueen purchased the Chrysler in the 1970s and owned it until it was sold by his estate in 1984. Shelby picked it up from that buyer in 1998. The car was sold again in June of 2018 at the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance. This brings us to today. 

1935 Chrysler Imperial Airflow Instrumentation at Bringatrailer Auction
1935 Chrysler Imperial Airflow owned by both Steve McQueen and Carroll Shelby |

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The auction listing

The vehicle is listed on auction site Bring A Trailer. Bidding for the vehicle will end on Tuesday, May 19th. It is rare to have a car with provenance linked to one particular historical figure. This one has two significant figures, with McQueen and Shelby. So, this listing will undoubtedly command top dollar. Bidding is currently at $29,000. It will be interesting to watch how the vehicle does on the 19th. There are plenty of pictures of the Chrysler posted to look at between now and then. Excuse me while I wipe some drool off of my chin.

UPDATE: The car sold for $68,000.