Ok here's my analysis. Please bear with me...
In this picture we can clearly see that the Airflow has a more tapered rear end whereas
the AA's roof takes a more steep decline to the rear bumper.
When we take a closer look at the d-pillar, this becomes very apparent. Also, note that the rain
gutter is angled downward at a sharper angle on the AA, whereas on the Airflow, it follows
the curve of the rear quarter window very closely. The shots of the Russian car were both
taken at slight angles, so it's hard to do a direct comparison, but it seems clear to me that
it is a closer match to the AA than the Airflow.
Looking from the front 3/4 angle, the AA's more abrupt rear end becomes more obvious.
Here, the AA again seems like the closer match.
Taking a closer look at the windshield...if you direct your attention to the red circles, you can
see that the Airflow has a kink on the roof, right above the windshield, which both the AA
and the mystery Russian car lack.
Looking at the green marks, you can see that the character line right in front of the door
hinge is a closer match to the AA than the Airflow as well.
Also note that the AA has a completely flat front windshield whereas the Airflow has a 2-piece
windshield that is angled backwards in a more aerodynamic fashion. The Russian car's
windshield is likely a replacement which could explain it's flushness as opposed to the AA's
Here is a better shot of the Airflow's front windshield. It is apparent that one would not be
able to replace it with a flat piece of glass, or even two pieces that occupy the same plane.
Looking at the rear 3/4 angle of the cars, you can see that the rear window of the Airflow is slightly
bean-shaped and droops downward, whereas the other two cars have very rectangular
rear windows (with rounded corners)
Here you can see that the AA and mystery Russian cars are almost interchangeable. Notice
the size/angle and spacing of each window as well as their proportions to each other.
This is a near perfect match.
One area that has me mystified is the base of the a-pillar. The AA has a crease that runs up
the a-pillar that both other cars lack. Although the Airflow lacks this crease, it is still not a perfect
match of the mystery Russian car. One possible explanation is that when the hood of the
Russian car was replaced, perhaps some sort of filler was used to blend it to the a-pillar,
thereby covering up this crease.
And let's not forget the side strakes. Using photoshop to measure out the pixel width of
each strake from each picture, I found the ratios to be very close. The measurements
in pixels from longest strake to shortest strake were:
AA - 50 / 34 / 20
Russian car - 344 / 242 / 145
The ratios of the strake measurements were:
I'm no statistician, but those seem pretty close to me.
So is this definitive proof? Although there is strong evidence pointing towards this being a
genuine AA, many cars of the era were very similarly designed. This could also be a Russian
copy-cat of the Toyoda AA, so who knows. Many shenanigans could be in play here. The only
way to find out for sure is for someone to go to Russia and examine the car in person.
If you'd like to sponsor me, make checks payable to "Daniel Hsu" You can find our address
at the beginning of any issue of JNC. =D
BTW, anyone know where I can get one of these? Toyotageek, I'm lookin at you! =P