Word: The next story was excerpted from the April 2019 difficulty of Collectible Vehicle journal
The writing was on the wall for DeSoto within the late Fifties. In 1958, DeSoto manufacturing plummeted from 117,514 to 49,445. It was a nasty 12 months for nearly each make, however DeSoto fell more durable than most. Later that 12 months, DeSoto misplaced its devoted factories as manufacturing moved to Chrysler’s Jefferson Avenue plant. In late 1959, the DeSoto Division was folded into Plymouth.
Chrysler Company transformed its automotive strains (besides Imperial) from typical body-on-frame to unibody development for the 1960 mannequin 12 months. This required an enormous funding and plenty of specialists didn’t anticipate ailing DeSoto to make the soar, however Chrysler gave it one other probability. Nonetheless, the DeSoto vary was trimmed from 4 sequence on 126- and 122-inch wheelbases to 2 ranges on the 122-inch chassis. Station wagons and convertibles disappeared from the product combine.
Chrysler Company launched a superb torsion-bar entrance suspension for 1957. That suspension, mixed with the extra inflexible unibody made DeSoto a superb street automotive. Motor Life’s take a look at of a 1960 Adventurer claimed, “On even the sharpest corners the Adventurer tracks true with no tendency for both finish to interrupt away from the circle.” It went on to say, “On uneven roads virtually the one vibration transmitted to the passengers is the audible slap of the tires in opposition to the pavement.”
Two V8s had been provided: a 361-cubic-inch model with 295 horsepower, and a 383-inch model with 305, 325, or 330 horsepower. Regardless of tremendous engineering and recent styling, DeSoto demand fell to only 26,081 vehicles for 1960. (Canadian gross sales ended after the mannequin 12 months.)
DeSoto returned to U.S. showrooms with a 1961 mannequin, albeit briefly. The road was decreased to just one unnamed trim degree, out there as a two- or four-door hardtop. The 383 V8 was dropped and the 361 noticed compression reduce from 10.0:1 to 9.0:1, with horsepower scaled again to 265. The revised engine now not required premium gas, and there have been bigger consumption valves and an improved two-barrel carburetor. Motor Pattern predicted, “Efficiency ought to be comparatively unaffected.”
DeSoto acquired new front-end styling with canted headlights and a controversial twin grille. There was additionally a revised dashboard with a translucent speedometer.
Gross sales had been dismal. The ’61 DeSotos went on sale on October 14, 1960, and the final one was constructed on November 30. Our Photograph Characteristic hardtop coupe was constructed through the second-to-last week of November. Solely 3034 ’61 DeSotos had been made, and simply 911 had been two-doors.
House owners John Eggert and John Dales of Grayslake, Illinois, purchased the featured automotive in 1998 when it was drained, however sound and full. Because of a superb restoration, the DeSoto was invited to the 2014 EyesOn Design concours in suburban Detroit.
Eggert says the DeSoto “is mostly a fantastic automotive to drive. It feels extra trendy than it’s—even on bias-ply tires.” Eggert provides that the automotive “has a face solely a mom can love. The entrance finish is polarizing. Folks both like it or hate it.” Aside from the nostril, he thinks his DeSoto is a beautiful automotive.
1961 DeSoto Hardtop Coupe Gallery
Click on under for enlarged photos.