DeSoto in the Fifties
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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