Daily Features

FINS UP: THE DAWN OF THE SEXY ERA FOR DESOTO

By on March 30, 2017
des-001

des-001

DeSoto is a familiar name to car historians and Mopar fans, even though the last one rolled off the assembly line in 1961.

 

The first DeSoto left the factory in 1929 when Walter P Chrysler decided to expand the Mopar family in 1928.

 

The DeSoto brand was a tribute to Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto and his efforts to find gold and a passage to China via the southern United States in the 1500s. He was largely unsuccessful in both endeavors and died on the banks of the Mississippi River in 1542.

 

IMGP4021

 

However, de Soto did become a part of early American history during a time when it was a disputed territory between Spain, France and England. Eventually the United States made its own choice to become none of the above and gained its independence the hard way.

 

AD-contactIMGP8080

 

American history was clearly not lost on Walter Chrysler and he used the DeSoto name for 32 years on his cars. The De Soto was an upscale member in the Chrysler family-not quite Chrysler or Imperial-but a notch above the Dodge and Plymouth in terms of luxury.

 

DES

 

DeSoto was a mainstay in the Chrysler lineup for many decades, but it was not considered to be a sexy car. In fact, a 1948 DeSoto was the butt of many jokes for the Cunningham family in the ‘Happy Days’ TV show because it was an unglamorous car that embarrassed Richie Cunningham every time he drove it.

 

DES2

 

‘Happy Days’ was set in the mid-50s and that was right around the time when the DeSoto got even cool enough for Fonzie. The cool factor went off the charts when DeSoto got fins and became one of the most strikingly good-looking cars of the latter half of the Fifties.

 

IMGP2681

 

Elvis loved the big Caddies but he would have been even cooler behind the wheel of a DeSoto when he became one of the most famous practitioners of a new music style known as rock and roll.

 

bIMGP5946

 

The shift for DeSoto began in 1955 when Detroit turned a page in style and built lower, wider and sleeker style into their cars. DeSotos had baby fins in 1955 and upped the ante on tail fins in 1956 when they became more prominent on the back of these stylish Mopars.

 

IMGP2231

 

The 1956 DeSotos had a triple set of round taillights on the back end that housed brake, signal and back up lights for the cars. The intention was pretty simple for DeSoto: build a sleek car that appeared to have rocket boosters on its fins to celebrate the dawn of the Space Race in the late 50s.

 

IMGP7765

 

Push button automatic transmissions in DeSotos helped convey that rocket age vibe and a wild variety of high compression V-8s gave the DeSotos plenty of firepower.

 

IMGP4026

 

The 1957 and ‘58 DeSotos run neck and neck for the title of coolest DeSoto ever built and a convincing case could be made for either year. The fins were large-and-in-charge on both the ’57 and ’58 DeSoto models so the issue may be settled on the front end where the distinction between the two is the number of headlights (2 until mid-’57 and 4 in ’58).

 

IMGP2260

 

The rake of the two cars adds to the cool factor because the big rear fins give the car a slight downward tilt from the rear to the front and made the cars look fast even while they were parked.

 

IMGP2265

 

The DeSoto brand is long gone from parent company Chrysler but its legacy will always be a car that eventually became one of the coolest cars ever built because of its finned wonders from the late 50s.          

Jim Sutherland

 

CLICK HERE to Like us on Facebook

 

CLICK HERE to Follow us on Twitter

 

CLICK HERE to Follow us on Pinterest

 

FACE

print

48274 Total Views 2 Views Today

About admin

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Facebook

Featured Ads

Rear View Mirror

jan13-styleimgp0082-001

JANUARY 14, 2013: WE DISCUSS WHAT DEFINED THE STYLE OF CARS IN THE POST-WAR DECADES

  Every decade from the 40s to the 80s had a distinctive style for North American cars that placed them squarely within the particular time frame of those decades....

January 14, 2013 View more...
feb12-50trkbimgp6886-1

JANUARY 31, 2012 (FEB 2012):1950 INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER PICKUP-RENEWING A HARDWORKING FARM FAMILY LEGACY

  Farm kids have many advantages over city kids.   They learn the value of honest, hard work and practical problem-solving early in life plus they encounter and embrace...

January 31, 2012 View more...
jan11aimgp2864

JANUARY 3, 2011-1979 COLLECTOR SERIES LINCOLN MARK V

  Like most car guys, Wayne Cooper always had one particular “must have” car on his wish list.   Most guys have familiar names like Corvettes, Challengers or Mustangs...

January 3, 2011 View more...
barrett-jackson

BARRETT-JACKSON:THE 800 POUND GORILLA-WE PICK THE CAR OF THE DAY 6

  BARRETT-1969 AMERICAN MOTORS AMX LOT 1535   Our buyer has had a long week at Barrett-Jackson and Sunday typically winds down the event.   Lower end cars are...

January 18, 2010 View more...

Most Viewed

My Star Showcase

news-mill-jjmscc_Neon-001

SIGN UP FOR THE MYSTARCOLLECTORCAR DAILY NEWSLETTER!

SIGN UP FOR THE MYSTARCOLLECTORCAR DAILY NEWSLETTER!   Are you too busy to check out MSCC regularly? That’s too bad because MyStarCollectorCar is updated every day.   You don’t...

October 25, 2017 View more...
IMGP2365

WHY CLASSIC PICKUP TRUCKS ARE ON THE RISE IN PRICE AND POPULARITY

  It is no secret to car guys that vintage trucks are the rising rock stars in the hobby.   Classic trucks have taken a generous hike in prices...

October 18, 2017 View more...
My Star logo1-001

MSCC MARKET REPORT 2017

  MSCC MARKET REPORT 2017   Welcome to the newest feature at MyStarCollectorCar.   This will be a regional look at prices for collector vehicles based on actual sales...

August 3, 2017 View more...
products-IMGP5647

MSCC Products and Services Showcase

These are all great businesses and they support MyStarCollector Car through their advertising  so we can continue to bring you our  insight into the old car hobby 365 days...

July 13, 2016 View more...

More At My Star

CRUSHING A HIGH SCHOOL KID’S FIRST CAR DREAMS WITH A CYLINDER HEAD REBUILD

  There was a bygone era when a first car meant everything to a young car guy.   A first car represented a golden opportunity to hit the road behind the wheel of our own car any time the spirit moved us.   We were teenagers, and now we were free to choose when and See More

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM MYSTARCOLLECTORCAR

  Merry Christmas to our MyStarCollectorCar readers who have already discovered that, “Yes Virginia”, there is a written story that always accompanies our pretty pictures of old car and trucks.   Our MSCC readers have dug a little deeper to find the story behind the pictures and our original motto still applies: “Because Every Car See More

DECEMBER 15, 2017 FIVE FOR FRIDAY : FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CAR AUCTIONS

  Car auctions have become a TV hit thanks to extensive coverage over the last twenty years so auctions have been turned into show business.   They are run with a format that may or may not be familiar to some of the viewers because TV conveys the excitement and flashy stuff but an auction See More

MSCC FIVE FOR FRIDAY—FIVE RULES TO LIVE BY

  Society has a basic set of rules and in most cases they make sense because they separate us from anarchy.   The car hobby isn’t chaotic by any definition even though it has a loosey-goosey set of rules but that’s because most car guys are well-balanced and goal oriented by nature.   The rules See More

Editor’s Picks

5-auc

DECEMBER 15, 2017 FIVE FOR FRIDAY : FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CAR AUCTIONS

  Car auctions have become a TV hit thanks to extensive coverage over the last twenty years so auctions have been turned into show business.   They are run...

December 14, 2017 View more...
IMGP4183

DECEMBER 2017: A FAMILY TRADITION OF CAR GUYS CONTINUES WITH A 1962 SUNBEAM ALPINE TYPE II

  Blayne Weidner is the latest generation of car guys in the Weidner family.   His vintage car choice is a 1962 Sunbeam Alpine Type II and he is...

November 30, 2017 View more...
sein

CONNECTING WITH SEINFELD—THE FRATERNITY OF THE JEROMES WASN’T ENOUGH

  MyStarCollectorCar is based on the average guy in the car hobby—the kind of guy who puts gallons of blood, countless hours of sweat equity, and a big pile...

October 11, 2017 View more...
IMGP7176-001

THE GUILD GARAGE: WHEN A HALF HOUR CAR SHOW JUST SEEMS LIKE AN HOUR

  Restoration Garage always lived up to its non-car guy producers’ goal to produce a docu-drama.   The producers appeared to believe in the standard TV playbook wherein a...

August 3, 2017 View more...

Car Shows and Events

ST1
SAINT ALBERT ROCK’N AUGUST—THE BIG SHOW RETURNS AUGUST 7-11

  Rock’n August is one of Western Canada’s biggest annual car shows.   The whole community gets behind this week-long event because this is a showcase for the best...

December 16, 2017
57-1
MICHENER ALLEN AUCTION OCTOBER 28, 2017: 1957 CHEVY 1500 STREET ROD

1957 Chevrolet Street Rod 1500      Make:   Chevrolet            Model:                 Street Rod 1500 Drivetrain:           RWD      Ext Color:             White Engine:                 4Spd Automatic TR700  ...

June 19, 2017
BACH2
10TH ANNUAL RED DEER FALL FINALE & SPEED SHOW

 10TH ANNUAL RED DEER FALL FINALE & SPEED SHOW     COLLECTOR CAR AUCTION – CLASSIC CAR AUCTION The 10th Annual Fall Finale Classic Car Auction September 8th-10th, 2016 –...

April 21, 2017
IMGP1636
DECEMBER 2017 CAR SHOWS, EVENTS AND CLUB MEETINGS: MYSTARCOLLECTORCAR

DECEMBER 2017 CAR SHOWS, EVENTS AND CLUB MEETINGS: MYSTARCOLLECTORCAR   **Let us know about all your club meetings and community car shows and  we’ll list them here FREE-we average...

October 9, 2015

Ads

Ads responsive