It was one of the success stories of the mid-20th century. American families drove it. Hollywood stars and game-show hosts shilled for it ( though only in the most innocent, '40s and '50s way). Boardroom struggles and an economic recession doomed it. It's the Chrysler DeSoto.
Why was the DeSoto so popular? First of all, it was a mid-priced car, perfect for the US's growing middle class. DeSoto was born as a competitor to the Dodge Brothers' reasonably priced cars. Interestingly enough, Chrysler was able to buy out Dodge not long after the DeSoto line began -- yet this didn't render DeSoto redundant. Indeed, the line was to motor on (excuse the pun) for another three decades. Another thing DeSoto owners loved about the car was its comfort. This brand prided itself on both roominess and and smoothness of its ride. The latter was a result of an industry-changing engine placement, right between the front wheels, which let passengers ride in comfort over the wheelbase.
But sometimes DeSoto tried too hard to innovate, rolling out one of the very first aerodynamic cars in the 1930s. Car buyers, used to straight-edged cars modeled on horse-drawn carts, couldn't quite get with the new program. (They'd be shocked to see today's Camaros and Corvettes). Then, in the 1950s, DeSoto was caught up in the "horsepower wars," rolling out cars with Hemi V8 engines -- and the two-tone paint jobs and whitewall tires the '50s are classically known for. Finally, as financial troubles overtook Chrysler, the DeSoto had its swan song.
We're remembering the DeSoto with a 35-question quiz you're bound to learn a thing or two from. Slide behind the wheel now!
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