DeSoto in the Fifties frequently finished in 11th or 12th place in the sales race, depending on the year and state of the market. DeSoto production was always ranked a spot or two behind Chrysler. Among direct competitors, it always trailed Oldsmobile, but sometimes bested Mercury. Production ran typically in the low-100,000 range, although in model year 1958, a disaster for much of the industry, output sank to 49,445, a trend that would thereafter prove the rule rather than the exception.
The 1960 DeSoto lineup was much smaller than
those in the Fifties, a sign of impending doom.
The DeSoto line had been broadened in 1957 with the addition of a lower-priced Firesweep line on the shorter 122-inch Dodge wheelbase. At this time, the high-line Adventurer hardtop coupe was moved into a separate series, where it was joined by an Adventurer convertible. Thus DeSotos, previously priced from $2,678 to $3,728, now ran the gamut from $2,777 to $4,272, crowding Dodge on the bottom and Chrysler at the top.
This arrangement continued through the 1959 model year, but with the 1960 model introductions came a slimmed-down catalog of just two series with three body styles in each. Gone were the Firesweep and Firedome series. That left just the Fireflite and top-of-the-line Adventurer, both of which traded in their former 126-inch wheelbase on the 122-inch chassis shared with Dodge, Chrysler's Windsor, and Plymouth station wagons.
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