Throwback Thursday: DeSoto!

This piece from Hagerty is titled, “How DeSoto went from sitting pretty to utter doom in just three years.” It seemed to be gift-wrapped for me as it appeared in my Twitter (@RulesofLogic1) feed yesterday. However, I think the exposition is a little sparse.

One interesting point made in the Hagerty piece, though, was that the Edsel—as ill-fated as that venture was—cut significantly into DeSoto’s market niche. Combine that with the encroachment of DeSoto’s own mother company, Chrysler, and a sharp US recession and the make was doomed.

With the Chrysler Corporation moving Imperial to its own make, the Chrysler make began to move down the price spectrum into the space supposed to be occupied by DeSoto. Dodge began to creep up into DeSoto’s space as well. Of course, these decisions were made by Chrysler so maybe the DeSoto was “supposed” to be phased out. The severe recession of 1957-58 really hurt DeSoto; sales plummeted from 127,000 in 1957 to just 49,000 in 1958. Supposedly the cars also acquired a reputation for poor quality around this time as well. Who knows what came first, though?

Rumors that DeSoto would be eliminated began appearing around 1959 and those rumors, like the ones that would soon plague Studebaker, became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Despite a rebound in the US economy (US GDP grew by nearly 6% in 1959) DeSoto production declined to 46,000 for the 1959 model year. Sales for 1960 evaporated to 26,000 and the DeSoto was no more by the end of the calendar year.



This is not the first appearance of this photo in Disaffected Musings. The color of the DeSoto/Plymouth sign really “pops” against the other signs. To me, though, it is this car that really “pops.”

Another photo that has appeared before, this is a 1956 DeSoto Fireflite Sportsman hardtop. (Picture from To me, this is perhaps the ultimate embodiment of 1950s American cars. Note the dual radio antennae (no doubt one is fake), note the triple stack taillights.

This car appeals to me for many reasons, but one is that it was powered by the first-generation Chrysler Corporation Hemi V-8. The 330 cubic-inch engine was rated at 255 HP/350 LB-FT of torque.

Anyone else share an obsession with some/all defunct American makes?





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Tuesday Two-Fer

Once again, thanks to all of those who read Disaffected Musings yesterday generating another daily record for views and visitors. Do you think I should keep reporting these or only in the case of a really exceptional number?

I am REALLY obsessed with my restomod C2 Corvette build. Last night I had a dream that my father, who has been dead for 25+ years, negotiated an unbelievably low price for the project, a mere fraction of what I have been told such a build will likely cost. When I told my wonderful wife (in the dream) she said, “OK, I’ll build one, too!”


Another sign has joined the group as a DeSoto/Plymouth service sign is now on the wall.

I have discussed my obsession with DeSoto, but have not discussed Plymouth very much. Both makes were introduced in the summer of 1928 by Chrysler Corporation as 1929 model year cars. Obviously, both cars survived the Great Depression.


Many car enthusiasts are familiar with this Plymouth model:

From a picture of a 1968 Plymouth Road Runner. 1968 was the first year the model was offered. It was supposed to fill a niche for a muscle car that wasn’t too expensive. The lowest base price for a 1968 Road Runner, which was for the non-hardtop two-door coupe, was about $2,900. The base engine for the Road Runner was the Mopar 383 cubic-inch V-8 with a four-barrel carburetor rated at 335 HP/425 LB-FT of torque. Of course, the car featured cartoon emblems of the Road Runner as well as the “Beep Beep” horns.


This car, which was actually introduced in 1967, was also from Plymouth and was known as the Gentleman’s Muscle Car:

From a picture of a 1967 Plymouth GTX. I believe this is the only year the GTX had this look as for 1968 the entire Plymouth Belvedere line was restyled. The base engine for the GTX was the 440 cubic-inch V-8 with a four-barrel carburetor rated at 375 HP/480 LB-FT of torque. So that the comparison is apples to apples, the lowest base price for a 1968 GTX was about $3,300 or about $400 more than a Road Runner.

Both cars were victims of the demise of muscle cars due to emissions/safety standards as well as insurance companies not wanting to write policies for 17-year olds driving high-performance cars that, let’s face it, were really only high-performance in a straight line. The last year of the GTX was 1971 while, technically, a car called the Road Runner was offered until 1980 although in emasculated form after 1971. (A mild tangent: more on Mopar is this article about a rare car.)

In yet another example of the folly of human beings trying to predict the future, high-performance cars weren’t gone forever after 1971 as almost everyone predicted at the time. I think that each member of Detroit’s Big Three currently offers a car with at least 700 HP and these cars are comfortable, handle and brake well and are reliable. While most seem to think the days of the internal combustion engine are numbered, who really knows what the future holds?






I am obsessed with defunct American car makes, such as Packard, Studebaker and Pontiac. Why? What shapes our interest in anything? I believe it is a combination of genetics and environment.

A picture like this (from Hemmings and, obviously,; makes my day. This is a 1956 DeSoto Firedome. I have developed a real affinity for 1950s American cars, but the fact that this is a DeSoto makes it even more appealing to me.

I own and have intently read books on Packard and Studebaker. I will probably buy books on American Motors and fervently wish a complete history of Pontiac were available. In general, why am I so interested in cars? Is (was) it an attempt to bond with my father, even though he has been dead for 25 years? My father was an auto mechanic who owned and operated a service station in the days when those businesses sold gas and fixed cars, not gas, snacks and lottery tickets. No inanimate object captures my attention as much as cars. Honestly, I’m not sure I even want to know why that is so. What difference does it make, anyway?

See the source image

From a picture of a 1930 Packard 745 Deluxe Eight. I don’t know why, but a picture of a similar car built by Cadillac would not be as interesting to me.

Besides automobiles (I assume you’re interested if you’re reading this), in what other subjects do you have interest? Why do you think you’re interested or do you even care? I would very much like to read your opinions.