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Kingfish Airflow: 1935

Kingfish Airflow: 1935

Washington, D.C., 1935. "Sen. Huey P. Long." The former Louisiana governor and future assassinated senator with a shiny DeSoto Airflow. View full size.


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Huey and the Car

Two observations:
1. While Huey looks significantly rumpled, his shoes have just emerged from the Senate shoeshine stand.
2. Parking near the Russell Building (as it is now) was a lot easier then. This looks like C Street NE, just north of the building.

What is that thing

... projecting out of the hood, just in front of the driver's section of windscreen? Some kind of deflector? Airscoop?

[The cowl ventilator, a fresh-air intake for passenger compartment air circulation, here shown open. Standard feature in cars up through the early-50s.]

According to the cognoscenti

The DeSoto, with its shorter chassis, was better suited to the proportions of the Airflow body style than its larger Chrysler cousins, resulting in an altogether more graceful product. I must admit that the distinction escapes me. The DeSoto's radiator grille seems marginally better looking, although by the end of the Airflow era, both DeSotos and Chryslers had evolved a more upright grille in a futile effort to make the cars look more "conventional" to cash-strapped Depression buyers.


Did the Desoto and the Chrysler model Airflow have big styling difference? Just 700-some dollars, pretty sleek body. I recall seeing the commercial where they flew one off of a cliff.

[You are perhaps confusing the cheaper but similarly named DeSoto Airstream ($695) with the Airflow, which had an advertised price of $1,015. - Dave]


HPL is the physical definition thereof. He is one UGLY man, yet he was adored by hundreds of thousands. Note his static position, the body language: it's upright and expansive. He's important and he knows it; and important people stand regally and take up a lot of space.

Ahead of its time

The Airflows were too drastic a design for the conservative depression era, but in seeing this excellent photo of a brand new example, it would seem they would fit right in with today's styling.

Don't Tread On Me?

That tire has the strangest tread pattern I've ever seen.

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