1961 spelled the last year of the DeSoto automobile line.  Virgil Exner, the designer who brought the “Forward Look” of lithe greenhouses, scalloped fenders and soaring fins would soon relinquish his design studio to Elwood Engel, the designer of Ford’s beautiful 1961 slab-sided, suicide door Continental.  What if Engel was able to design a new DeSoto?  How would he place this famous marque in relation to other cars in Chrysler’s stable?  I believe he would create a personal luxury/sport model, not unlike Bill Mitchell’s famous Buick Riviera and Pontiac Grand Prix.  1965 would be the ideal year for this introduction.  Elwood’s signature “big box” styling is evident in Imperials and Chryslers of the mid 1960’s.

I have adapted a 1965 Chrysler New Yorker (Elwood’s first pure Chrysler Corporation design) into the DeSoto Conquest.  With special hubcaps, top treatment, emblems and other subtle details, I have attempted to create a factory car that also embodies the conceptual ideas behind the conquest of America by Hernando de Soto’s cruel methodologies.  Embedded in the styling are clues about this: gold accents, the black and white ideologies of good and evil, the weapons unleashed on the new world: horsepower, the sword and viruses.

This DeSoto is powered by a 325 horsepower 413 cubic inch V8 engine, dual exhaust with a three speed Torque-flite transmission.  It is equipped with special deep dish wheels and wheel covers, air conditioning, am/fm radio, electric antenna, windows and seat.  It has a special reclining passenger seat and headrest. 

It has been exhibited as an artwork and as a  historical recreation at various museums, art institutions and auto shows.  It is also driven on the street for practical purposes.


1965 DeSoto Conquest