Introduced in the late Twenties by the Chrysler Corporation, DeSoto was a mid-level brand which sat above Plymouth and below Dodge in the pecking order — however, such was its popularity thanks primarily to models such as the DeLuxe and the fancier Custom, it wasn’t long before it swapped places with the latter in the car-hungry US market.
Buyers were flocking to the forecourts once again following WWII to get that new car smell and even though the 1948 DeSoto wasn’t much different from the ‘42s (the assembly lines had halted production to build armaments for the conflict — in fact DeSoto wasn’t alone in rehashing its products back then, they were all guilty until 1949 when the major automakers unveiled all-new designs) it didn’t seem to matter to Americans who were just happy to be offered new cars and literally snapped up anything on wheels.
The large, well-equipped Custom — which could be driven by gentlemen still wearing a top hate (their roomy nature was a unique selling point) — sold extremely well. As with the majority of Chrysler’s offerings during the era, power came from an inline flathead six-cylinder motor mated to a three-speed manual that sent the 109 horses to the rear wheels (a semi-automatic four-speed was optional). Several body styles were available from a club coupe, two-door saloon, four-door saloon and a four-door Suburban saloon (yep, it had the name way before Chevy) the best of the lot was the 1948 Convertible Coupe.
Known internally as the S-11, DeSoto produced 8,100 and they were all replete with power tops and upholstery of leather and Bedford cord.
They’re extremely desirable but hard to come by today. If you get lucky, you’ll need at least Dh180,000 to make it yours.
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