Things are far from stock under the hood, where a 350ci LS1 replaces the Chrysler inline-six flathead that originally powered the car. A pair of block hugger headers from Rewarder handles the gases. Kenz Muffler in Oxnard fabricated the 2-inch exhaust system, with glasspack mufflers sweetening the exhaust note. The engine’s 375 lb-ft of torque would be wasted without the Chevy 4L60E transmission to deliver it to the 3.08:1 gears in the Chevy 10-bolt rearend.
Swinging open the suicide doors reveals another beautiful Ron Mangus interior, designed and built consistent with the Airflow’s elegant vintage styling. New custom seats were constructed incorporating the original DeSoto tubular frame. Mercedes leather was used to cover the entire interior, and Matt Noble’s driveshaft tunnel and raised floorboards were carpeted with tan German square weave. The original Deco-style gauges in the stock dash were rebuilt by Redline Gauge Works and installed in the ’35 by Kevin McMillan (who also installed the car’s hardline and softline plumbing). A LimeWorks column and banjo steering wheel fit the overall look. Ian Campbell added the modern sound system. Air conditioning from Old Air Products keeps it all comfortable.
The firewall was pushed back an inch to fit the Chevy LS1 engine into the DeSoto’s narrow
The mixed reaction this car got almost 80 years ago has become universally favorable. Some of the design details that were unfamiliar in the ’30s have been standard stuff for a long time. But Airflows still look unfamiliar and strange. Maybe that’s why it has so much appeal for Ken and why he and his wife, Lea, enjoy it so much. Ken says that one of the fun things about driving the DeSoto is seeing the looks on people’s faces. “Very few people have ever seen one and can’t believe how ugly it is!”
Just the Facts
Model: Airflow Sedan
Owner: Ken & Lea Hubbard