Classic Cars in USA / DeSoto

DeSoto History


This is the history of the brand DeSoto since the establishment of the company and up to the most modern of vehicles produced under this brand.

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DeSoto - a brand of cars, Chrysler Corporation designed and produced in the United States during the period from 1928 to 1961. DeSoto emblem was stylized image of Spanish conquistador Hernando De Soto. DeSoto officially ceased suschestvovavnie November 30, 1960, performing at the time of more than 2 million vehicles since 1928.


DeSoto was founded by Walter Chrysler 4 August 1928 and introduced to the lineup in 1929. Brand got its name in honor of the Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto. Chrysler created a new brand to compete with General Motors, Studebaker and Willys-Knight in the middle price class.

Soon after the establishment of DeSoto, Chrysler completes acquisition of Dodge Brothers; thus under the control of the company are two brands of middle-class cars. If the purchase was made a little earlier, DeSoto never would have been introduced.

Initially, the use of two brands of the middle class was a success. In times of economic crisis, sales DeSoto were 25,000 cars in 1932. However, in 1933, Chrysler changed the position of the two brands on the market in order to increase sales of Dodge. In 1934 DeSoto releases a new streamlined model Airflow. Who had a short wheelbase, the car was not popular with buyers. Unlike Chrysler, which took the traditional model, DeSoto Airstream was forced to release until 1935.

In addition to the model Airflow, DeSoto released in 1942, the second storage model with folding headlights, which became the first in North America. DeSoto sell these lights under the name «Air-Foil» with the slogan "Out of sight, except for the night."

1946 - 1960

After the Second World War, when the restrictions on the production of cars were removed, DeSoto resumed production of passenger cars model 1942, as well as new cars in 1946, but without the function of "hidden" headlights.

Prior to 1952 DeSoto used the Deluxe and Custom designation for their models. In 1952 DeSoto added Firedome model with 276-cc engine. In 1953 DeSoto Deluxe abolish the name and Custom. Instead, the 6-cylinder cars entered the index «Powermaster», and for the V8 - «Firedome».

DeSoto popular models were Firesweep, Firedome and Fireflite. DeSoto Adventurer, released in 1956 with a hardtop coupe body was part of a full lineup in 1960.

In 1955, like all models of Chrysler, DeSoto undergone restyling, which carried out the designer Virgil Exner. In 1956, DeSoto sales continued to grow, in the same year, DeSoto first and last time used as a Pace Car at the races "500 miles of Indianapolis." New design Exner in 1956 gave the cars tail "fins" and new taillights.

In 1957, two new models are offered - Firesweep reduced and a new model with a body Firedome / Fireflite, Dodge front fenders on the same chassis with a short wheelbase 122 "inches. There was a version with Chrysler chassis with a wheelbase of 126" inches. As was customary in those days, the models differed trim, bumpers, grille.

The economic crisis of 1958 has hit the middle class manufacturers of machines. DeSoto sales decreased by 60% from the previous one in 1957. 1958 was the worst for DeSoto since 1938. From 1959 to 1960, sales continued to fall sharply, which explains the abolition of the brand DeSoto.

In autumn 1960 DeSoto releases a new model 1961 model year. By that time, it became apparent the imminent dismissal of DeSoto. At the same time there is a new Chrysler Newport.

Model 1961 does not have its own symbols, as was the case with the model line Packard. It is available in short wheelbase Chrysler Windsor, had a two-tier grille and updated taillights. Options are offered only with a body 2 and 4-door sedan.

The final decision on the Abolition of DeSoto was taken November 30, 1960, just 47 days after the 1961 model run. Meanwhile, Chrysler warehouses were many components DeSoto, so the production continued for some time, despite the formal abolition of the brand.

Chrysler and Plymouth dealers have been selling DeSoto coming to them at a loss, without compensation from the company. Delivery vehicles continued until December, and then switched to production of Chrysler models Windsor.

Despite the successful production of DeSoto for most of the existence of this brand, its elimination was caused by a combination of corporate mistakes Chrysler and external factors.

Recession in 1958

One of the reasons was the recession in the U.S. in 1958, which was hit hard by the car manufacturers middle price range. In 1959 and 1960 sales continued to fall sharply, in addition, DeSoto cars are very similar to a successful Chrysler.

DeSoto Trucks

In 1937, Chrysler Corporation began using the trademark for the DeSoto and Dodge trucks Fargo. Mark DeSoto used on cars Dodge, been produced in Australia, Argentina, Spain, Turkey and the UK.

In the future, Chrysler stopped production of trucks, however trademarks DeSoto and Fargo are currently used by the Turkish company Askam Truck own production. Askam has no technical or business ties with Chrysler.

Latest classic DeSoto cars offered in listings in the United States: