1955 DeSoto Fireflite: American Beauty

1955 DeSoto Fireflite: American Beauty

EngineV 8Horsepower200 BHP (147.2 KW) @ 4400 RPMEngine LocationFrontDrive Type RWDWeight3399 lbs | 1541.76 kgTransmission2-speed PowerFlite automatic

The tailfin era of automobile styling spanned the 1950s and 1960s, peaking between 1955 and 1961. In 1955, thanks to a completely new body design created by Virgil Exner with a catchy advertising slogan “The New 100-Million Dollar Look”, the Fireflite model broke sales records and became an iconic car of its time.

Source: FavCars

When talking about American automobiles of the 50s, many people usually think of Cadillacs. Yes, indeed, the luxury brand automobiles of that time were beautiful. But do not forget about other “road cruisers”, no less magnificent and shining in the sun with an abundance of chrome. DeSoto Fireflite, since 1955, was the company’s flagship model and was just such a car – chic, stylish and advanced in terms of technology. The “Forward Look” styling and high-performance engines made the car truly iconic, but not for long. As a result of the economic recession brand’s attempts to stay afloat were in vain. The brand was closed in 1960.

The origins

Source: WallpaperUp

The history of the Chrysler division began back in 1929 when Walter P. Chrysler founded the brand and named it after the 16th-century Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto, who discovered the Mississippi River. This brand produced full-size automobiles for the middle class competing with Oldsmobile and Mercury, and in the Mopar, hierarchy occupying an intermediate position between Chrysler and Dodge. Starting with the 1934-1936 Airflow, the brand’s cars were copies of Chrysler’s budget series with simplified trim and smaller engines. The peak of the company’s popularity came in 1949-1957. In 1955, the company’s vehicles were transformed: the boring design of 1951-1954 gave way to the cutting-edge, future-oriented style “Forward Look”, developed by the famous Virgil Exner. The brand continued to develop until the mid-1950s, but the company’s policies and the 1958 economic downturn shattered its success. Competition among Crysler’s and DeSoto’s models also contributed to the brand’s failure. In addition, Chrysler with its cheaper models, and Dodge with expensive ones reduced the DeSoto market. Same with Plymouth, which was often a big hit with dealers, and DeSoto ended up with a much smaller sales network. As a result, the brand was finally closed in the 60th.

The 1955 model year

Source: Ayay.co.uk

1955 was a significant year for the brand: DeSoto models were modernized as part of a corporate-wide restyling “Forward Look”, carried out by the famous designer Virgil Exner. Bodywork with a panoramic windshield and integrated fenders were major changes. The 4.5-liter Hemi V8 276 engine with 185 or 200 hp was installed on both full-size series – Firedome and Fireflite, and at the top of the line was the latter with its hardtop coupe, sedan, and convertible bodies. All vehicles were available with a PowerFlite 2-speed automatic transmission, power steering, brake booster, and radio. The bodies became lower and longer, the beltline was equal to the line of the wings, the sidewalls became solid, the windshield became panoramic, visors appeared on the headlights, and vertical taillights laid the foundation for the tail fins. The “toothy” radiator grille, complemented by two protruding bullets, remained an invariable attribute of the model. The side molding in the form of an arrow, expanding above the rear wheels, made it possible to paint the body in bright two-tone combinations. In the cabin, six people were traditionally placed on two sofas, and the new instrument panel in the form of “gull wings” was symmetrically divided into driver and passenger parts. 

Did you know?

Source: Flickr

In 1955, the brand’s models were released under the slogan “Hundred Million Dollar Look” because Chrysler invested about $100 million in the development of its divisions, including DeSoto.

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1955 DeSoto Fireflite: American Beauty

EngineV 8Horsepower200 BHP (147.2 KW) @ 4400 RPMEngine LocationFrontDrive Type RWDWeight3399 lbs | 1541.76 kgTransmission2-speed PowerFlite automatic

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