1932 DeSoto

DeSoto's 1932 model year opened in July 1931 with the Models SA and CF soldiering on. That January, however, brought a dramatic departure in the all-new Model SC. Built on a 112.4-inch wheelbase, it carried an SA six stroked to 211.5 cid, good for 75 bhp. Carryover models were gone by March, and with them went the eight-cylinder engine. DeSoto wouldn't get another until 1952.

1932 DeSoto
A longer, more powerful six-cylinder SC series was
new for 1932.

Sometimes called "New Six," the SC did wonders for DeSoto's image. No corporate look-alike, it sported a handsome barrel-shaped chrome radiator not unlike those of the famous Miller race cars, an iconic countenance that causes heartthrobs to this day. "Floating Power," the novel engine-mounting concept introduced on the 1931 Plymouth PA, was now extended to DeSoto.

So was optional freewheeling, which allowed the engine to idle when power was not required, as in descending hills. It enhanced fuel economy, but was a mixed blessing, because it rendered compression braking unavailable unless the freewheeling was locked out.

To make the most of its "one-model" line, DeSoto offered the SC in seven Standard body styles and five Customs, plus bare chassis. Standards comprised a two-seat roadster and coupe, rumble-seat roadster and coupe, phaeton, brougham two-door sedan, and four-door sedans seating five or seven passengers. The seven-seat sedan mounted a longer 121-inch wheelbase. Customs offered rumble-seat roadster and coupe; five-passenger sedan; and two exclusive models, a convertible sedan and a rumble-seat convertible coupe. Priced $60-$100 above equivalent Standards, the Customs came with trumpet horns, dual taillamps, dual windshield wipers, safety glass, cigar lighter, adjustable seats, and body-color fenders (replacing black).

Reflecting the dire economic climate, the SC was downpriced from previous DeSotos, ranging from $675 for the StanĀ­dard two-seat roadster to $975 for the Custom convertible sedan. Unfortunately, DeSoto's sales slide continued, and SC production totaled fewer than 25,000 units.

Along with other Chrysler Corporation makes, DeSoto extended its 1932 season to end the annual July introductions and the two-series-a-year scheme. Making their debuts on December 8, 1932, were SD models with a two-inch-longer wheelbase (114.4) and more flowing lines. The Miller-type grille was canted back a bit, its shell now painted body color, and there were wider "Air-Flow" front fenders reaching nearly to the bumper.

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