No Limits Magazine from the Auto History Preservation Society
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- "Preserving the past for the Future". Resources for the Historian, Researcher, and the Enthusiast -
Friday December 12, 2014
Orphaned Brands - DeSoto! Our News Stories, Period Ads, Road Tests, Brochures, & Much More!

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The 1946 Hudson

Hudson 1946-1957
The Slow Demise

1950 Packard Convertible

Packard 1946-1958
The Post-War Story

Jessi and Kurt Celebrate AHPS

Jessi Lang - Sometimes Winning Comes in Short Little Laps.

Courtney and Kurt Celebrate

SEMA 2014: Courtney, SAN
and the Society.

1955 Olds F-88

1954 Olds F-88 Sports Car
Part Two - Why NOT the F-88??

The first Mustang- 1965

Mustang: 50 Years on the Road

1965 Pontiac 2+2 and GTO Ad

The Paper Chase Part 1
Selling the Sizzle

Morris 1959 Ford Fairlane


New Zealander Karyn Morris
shares her 1959 Ford with us!

1954 Olds F-88


1954 Olds F-88 Sports Car
Part One - Why the F88?

1963 Cobra Ad


The Cobra Story - a Focused View
into the 1963-67 Car


Cro-Sal Olds 455

Oldsmobile's Twin Turbo
Can-Am Aluminum 455!


1959 Ramchargers High 7 Mighty

Ramchargers Stories - Part 04
The "High & Mighty"


From the Automotive History Preservation Society
Learn About "Orphan Brands"

The Society has a policy to emphasize the collection and preservation of the documentation for what are known as “orphan” brands. These are the automobile makes that are no longer with us—either because the company itself, such as Packard or Hudson, went out of business, or because a brand, such as DeSoto, Mercury, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, or Plymouth, was dropped by a company that is still in business.

Car clubs, both local and national, who represent these brands are doing an admirable job of gathering information, sourcing parts, and generally putting together people who have an interest in these cars. In spite of this interest, many people have neither the inclination nor the capability to collect and preserve information about their brand, at least to any significant extent. This is where the AHPS comes in.

To further understand the Automotive History Preservation Society and its goals - Click Here


The 1957 DeSoto Adventurer

The 1957 DeSoto came equipped with the DeSoto-specific
Hemi V8 that produced a fantastic one HP per cubic inch!

1946-48 DeSoto Sedan

1946-48 DeSoto's were pretty bland. The market was hot
for cars, so it sold reasonably well, however it solidified
the brand's image as a stodgy car
.

1919-51 DeSoto Carry All

The DeSoto "Carry-All", introduced with the restyle in 1949,
can be credited as the precursor to the now accepted "hatchback"
.

1960 DeSoto Adventurer

The 1960 DeSoto Adventurer was a handsome car, even though
it shared the Chrysler Windsor chassis and most of its sheet metal.
Fortunately it was still a performance car, being available with
the Corporate "Ram Charge" 383 V8.


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Orphan Brands - DeSoto

By Society Staff – reprint with permission only

With the end of the war, DeSoto's plans to convert back to a civilian economy were fraught with difficulties. Materials shortages and labor problems, plus the work of converting plants, delayed 1946 model introductions. Finally, in March of that year, the 1946 DeSotos arrived. This postwar series was carried forward through 1947 and 1948 and even into the first part of the next calendar year as an early 1949 model.

The updated 1949 S-13 models were delayed in production due to labor unrest in the tooling plants during the summer of 1948. They finally appeared as second-series 1949 models, and these newly-styled automobiles were advertised as "The Car With You In Mind.".

This fresh-for-1949, post-war look would continue in production for the 1950, 1951, and 1952. It was updated in 1953 and 1954 model year, but not significantly, which was, in retrospect, perhaps a bit too long. To be fair, there were a number of styling refinements within this period which paralleled those found in the DeSoto's Chrysler-brand counterparts, but overall DeSoto fell behind the competition, which was updating their styling on an almost annual basis.

The DeSoto "FireDome V-8," with hemispherically-shaped combustion chambers, was introduced in 1952. This new engine helped reinforce DeSoto's image as a state-of-the-art car company.

The following year, 1953, marked the division's 25th anniversary.. A number of new options appeared that same year, including air conditioning and real chrome wire wheels.

For model year 1954, the lack of styling improvements finally caught up, and DeSoto sales declined dramatically. This was despite introduction of the "PowerFlite" two-speed, fully-automatic transmission. This new gearbox, although a huge technical improvement, was priced $45 less than the semi-automatic unit it replaced.

A major turning point in the fortunes of the division occurred in 1955 as Chrysler's highly-promoted "Forward Look" debuted. This new styling resulted in an 85 percent sales boost for DeSoto. The all-modern styling erased the stodgy appearance of the past, replacing it with designs with a new, youthful flair. These "Styled-For-Tomorrow" models helped lead the corporation to a banner sales year, and it was hard to imagine that DeSoto had but six years to live

In 1956 the Adventurer nameplate was seen on a production car for the first time. This was DeSoto's shot at the enthusiast market, shared with such magical Mopar models as the Chrysler 300, Dodge D-500 and Plymouth Fury sport coupe. DeSoto offerings for this year were characterized by a slight styling facelift, front and rear, with a new emphasis placed on the height of the tail fins.

In 1957 the DeSoto was redesigned again with even more of an upwards tail fin sweep. Such styling, coupled with a lower body-side color sweep panel, served to enhance the car's length and beauty. Sales climbed over the previous season, but not to the same degree as the other Chrysler products.

Disastrous sales  in 1958 stunned DeSoto management as production plunged — more than 60 percent — to a level not seen since the dark days of 1938. None of the Big Three had anticipated the recession that struck full force that year, and upper mid-price cars took the brunt of the sales hit. It was so bad that Chrysler corporation closed the famous Wyoming Avenue factory in Detroit, and it would never reopen.

Separate body/frame construction was in its final year when the 1959 DeSoto line was introduced. The low-production Adventurer - which came only fully-equipped was still offered. But sales continued to decline, and Chrysler management decided that there was no choice but to integrate DeSoto assembly with those of the Chrysler.

DeSoto soldiered on into 1960, with production quartered, alongside that of Chrysler. The unit-body method of construction was the primary engineering advance of the year, but even that could not offset an additional 40 percent sales falloff over the low 1959 totals.

On the last day of November 1960, production of the 1961 DeSoto ceased, and the famous brand came to an end. Noted always for solid value and regarded as a marque "Built to Last," the proud DeSoto nameplate, affixed to 2,024,629 vehicles since its inception, was gone . .

To learn more about DeSoto's Demise - Click HERE

To view information on each model year - Click HERE

To see DeSoto Advertisements - Click HERE

To see a DeSoto Brochures - Click HERE


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