Supercharged Six—in a DeSoto
Ever since I came across that ’32 Chrysler body on my trip to Oregon a few weeks ago, I’ve had non-Fords on the mind more than usual. You know, Studebakers, Plymouths, Chevys, Dodges, DeSotos…the list goes on and on. They all have their advantages—and setbacks—but at the end of the day, I can imagine any of these dare-to-be-different machines sitting just right and stuffed with high-horsepower powerplants. Can’t you? Yesterday neat non-Fords crossed my mind for the umpteenth time, and I thought back to one that really pushed the envelope. And so, without further ado, here it is.
Today’s subject is a 1931 DeSoto SA coupe built by a group who call themselves the Montana Dodge Boys. The crew consists of Peter “Pedro” Hendrickson, Chris King, Jay King, Tony Smith and John “En Nino” Ballantyne—diehard hot rodders connected by geography and their love of Dodges. In their own words:
“In 2007 a few good friends from a couple of small towns across Montana had this crazy idea to take our passion for slow old Dodges, apply our experience and some modern theory to them, and make them go much faster than John and Horace ever dreamed.”
I first heard about the Dodge Boys a little over a year ago while talking to Peter Vincent about his functional restoration of the fabled “15oz. Coupe.” Seeing that he lives in Idaho, it only makes sense that he got in touch with Tony Smith to build the coupe’s blown and injected 354cid Hemi. But that’s a story for another time.
Here we’re looking at a completely different animal—an animal whose name happens to be “Clyde.” This particular ’31 DeSoto has been chopped, lowered and outfitted with a 230cid inline flathead six complete with an ultra-rare EDGY F-head conversion. If that weren’t enough, it runs a supercharger from a ’54 Kaiser and a trio of Stromberg 97s bolted to a custom-built log manifold. Extra care was taken to maintain the car’s early look, from the factory appearing paint and the 19-inch wires with cast Veda Orr hubcaps to the “Speedlight” driving light perched between the headlights. Chances are that you’ll never see another DeSoto like this.
Let’s wind down the week with the whine of a supercharged six on a wide-open back road, somewhere way off in Montana.