Car Show Classic: Home Blown Flathead Six in a 1949 Plymouth Special Deluxe

turbo flat six

A steady and reliable Chrysler flathead inline six engine isn’t where I’d expect to find a home brew turbocharger installed on. But here it is and once the owner explained his reasoning and results it did make more sense then I would have initially though. The car it is installed in isn’t too bad either.

1949 Plymouth Special Deluxe

Here is the recipient of the turbocharged goodness, a 1949 Plymouth Special Deluxe two door sedan. A flat grey, red, and black multi-tone paint scheme with painted red steel wheels completes the budget hot rod look.

1949 Plymouth Special Deluxe badge

I suspect with the hood down this late 1980s or early 1990s Chrysler turbo badge likely causes confusion. It isn’t lying as the inter-cooled script has covered with orange tape.

turbo flat six engine

Back  to the engine details there is a Mitsubishi turbocharger boosting the low compression flat six. I believe it is a TE04H turbo from a Chrysler Lebaron but my photos of the actual turbo itself didn’t turn out as it was installed down low after the stock exhaust manifold. Some generic radiator flex hoses and pcv pipe connect the turbo to the dual blow through carburetors. The turbo sourced from a smaller displacement engine helps reduce lag and is well matched to the low revving flathead motor. According to the owner one of the biggest limitations of the Chrysler flathead engine is that the heads don’t breath well. The addition of a few PSI of boost brought significant improvements in both fuel economy and power.


The interior looks bone stock except for some aftermarket floors and of course the boost gauge!

1949 Plymouth Special Deluxe rear

The rear view shows the multi-tone color scheme a bit better. The owner had also fit the lowest stock numerical ratio rear axle he could find as well as fitting those extra tall tires in order to keep the revs down on the highway. Apparently it was only partially successful as it still screams at highway speeds.