engineer Carl Breer discovered that, contrary to all of the cars being built in America, automobiles moved more efficiently rear-end first. Known as the “De Soto Airflow,” Chrysler built a glamorous vehicle that was driven by baseball star Babe Ruth and actresses Ruby Keeler and Ethel Merman.
The styling of the 1936 De Soto was more popular in Europe and Asia than in the United States. The first mass-produced Toyota was built to specifically resemble the 1930s-era De Soto. The vehicle won the Grand Prix award for aerodynamic styling at the Monte Carlo design competition in 1934. European manufacturers, such as Peugeot, Renault, and Volvo, even duplicated the De Soto Airflow design.
Pete Giordano, owner of Carizma Limousine in Valley Stream, Long Island, NY, had an instant connection when he first saw his 1936 De Soto. “I am a car guy and this is just a beautiful piece of American engineering,” he says.
Giordano’s diverse fleet includes seven sedans, six stretch limousines, three vans, one bus, one Rolls Royce, and his white 1936 De Soto.
Carizma’s business is primarily corporate. Giordano has a second location in the Garden City Hotel on Long Island. But, despite the growth of his corporate client base, Giordano continues to actively pursue wedding business.
“I talk to operators who have a good corporate business,” he says. “However, they minimize the importance of doing a large number of weddings. I believe we can service both our corporate clients, as well as sell our service to a good number of retail clients.”
Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island are extremely competitive limousine markets with more than 100 companies doing business in the area. Giordano believes it’s important for his company to have both stretch limousines and classic cars. “We need an edge when the bride calls to check on our fleet,” he says. “The De Soto is such a beautiful vehicle that clients spend $300 for three hours plus tip without hesitation.”
The De Soto features a flathead six-cylinder engine, three-speed standard shift manual transmission, and an aftermarket air conditioning system. Much of the original equipment is gone, but the vehicle retains its original drive- train. Giordano, who is a trained mechanic, enjoys doing some of the repair work personally on his classic vehicle. “Working on my cars, especially the De Soto, is fun for me,” says Giordano. “The De Soto is an education on the history of the automobile.”