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The DeSoto Motor Corporation
Division of Chrysler Corporation
In the 1930s, DeSoto reflected general Chrysler Corporation trends. A 208 cubic inch straight eight was introduced in 1930. Advertising claimed it was the world’s cheapest 8 cylinder American Automobile. The 1930 DeSoto Eight’s cost around $1,000 while six cylinder cars were priced at $800.
Straight eight cylinder engines were available in 1930, 1931 and 1932. All were side valve design with cast iron construction. Three different engines were offered in 1930, a 57 and 60 horsepower six cylinder and a 70 horsepower 8 cylinder. DeSoto eight cylinder engines only appealed to one in three buyers. So in 1933 De Soto only offered six cylinder engines.
1930 DeSoto Advertisement
1931 DeSoto Advertisement
A model K Six, Model CF Eight and a Model CK Finer Six were offered in 1930. From these base models a 2-4 passenger Roadster, 5 passenger Touring Phaeton, 2 passenger Business Coupe, 2-4 passenger Deluxe Coupe, 2 door 5 passenger sedan and a 4 door 5 passenger Deluxe Sedan were produced.
In 1931 models CF Eight, CK Finer Six, SA Six and CF Eight Second Series were produced in the same body styles as 1931. Four different engines were produced for the 1931 model year, a 60 and 67 horsepower six cylinder and a 70 and 77 horsepower 8 cylinder.
DeSoto suffered low sales volume during the Depression with only 26,000 units sold in 1932. Three series were produced in 1932, a model SA Six, model SC New Six and model CF Eight. Body styles included a Standard Roadster, Custom Roadster, Phaeton, Standard Coupe, Custom Coupe, Brougham, Custom Convertible, Standard Sedan, Custom Sedan and Custom Convertible Sedan that carried 5 passengers. Horsepower was up for a third year with a 67 and 75 horsepower six cylinder and a 77 horsepower 8 cylinder equipped in 1932 automobiles. In 1933 only a model SD was in production with some of the same body styles mentioned above. One 82 horsepower six cylinder engine was offered in 1933. De Soto also cut prices in 1933.
1934 was the Airflow year for not only Chrysler but De Soto also. The Airflow’s were not popular with the American consumer. Output bottomed out to prewar low of just under 14,000 units. Only a Coupe, Brougham, Sedan and a Town Sedan were made all equipped with a 100 horsepower six cylinder engine.
In 1935 Chrysler made a hasty retreat from Airflows and so did DeSoto. De Soto introduced in 1935 a more conventional model SF Airstream styling with 7 body styles. However it produced a Airflow model SG in four body styles. There were several first in 1935 for DeSoto including trunkback styling and two tone paint options. DeSoto production rebounded to 26,800 units in 1935 but was down to 13th in total market share.
1936 DeSoto Airstream Sixes Large Advertisement – Click to see full size!
Airstream models dominated DeSoto in 1936 with a model S1 Airstream Deluxe in 3 body styles, S1 Airstream Custom in 9 body styles as shown above plus a S2 Airflow II in a Coupe and Sedan. A 100 horsepower six cylinder engine was the only choice available on 1936 and 1937 models.
For 1937 a Model S3 Six equipped with a 93 horsepower engine on a 116 inch or 133 inch wheelbase chassis was available on 10 body styles. The 10 body styles included the low priced Business Coupe, 3-5 passenger Coupe, Convertible Coupe, Brougham, 6 passenger Touring Car, 4 door sedan, 4 door Touring Sedan, 4 door Sedan, 5 passenger Convertible Sedan and a Limo.
1938 was another short year for De Soto with only a model S5 produced with 11 different body styles. Body styles for 1938 included the new fastback Brougham, Touring Brougham, Sedans and Touring Sedans, 2-4 passenger Coupes, Limo, Convertible Coupe a Business Coupe and others. 93 and 100 horsepower six cylinder engines were equipped in the 1938 and 1939 De Soto cars.
For 1939 Desoto models included a S6 Deluxe and S6 Custom. Body styles remain about the same for 1938 and 1939. Prices range from a low of $870.00 for a Bussiness Coupe and high of $1285.00 for a DeSoto Limo. 1930s styling left something to be desired and would remain that way into the 1940s.