Chrysler DeSoto – A new one?

De Soto

If you take a quick look through the clothing racks at the mall, or peer out your window and look at the other cars traveling the highway, you might think we’ve gone back in time. Nostalgia is quite popular these days, as it is when the world seems especially dark. We long for those days that seem simpler, brighter, more carefree. So we reinvent, put a twist on old things and re-package them as new, in hopes of recreating a time when we felt safer and happier.

There are plenty of older vehicles coming back into rotation, which has me wondering, which antique automobile will we see next? Can it please be the Chrysler DeSoto? I’ve wanted to take one of these for a spin and now seems as good a time as any since we’re resurrecting old vehicle designs. There are several things that would make the DeSoto stand out, and there are plenty of reasons why a new audience might find this particular car appealing.

The original run of the Chrysler DeSoto totaled over two million cars, but it was only in production from 1928 to 1961. It was massively popular from the beginning, maintaining its record of having the most amount of units sold for a first-year car until it was beat out by the Ford Falcon in 1960 (about three decades later). It was also a mid-class car, appealing to a wider range of buyers.

Another record the DeSoto held was being the first mass-produced North American vehicle to be sold with pop-up headlights. Chrysler made few changes to the vehicle over its tenure, but most of what they decided to tinker with paid off in the long run, as the DeSoto remained one of its most popular sellers. Unfortunately, due a late 1950’s recession and other financial factors, the DeSoto was discontinued, which is why I think it deserves another chance today. It’s time to bring back a mid-range, classic-style car that appeals to both our  nostalgia and our proclivity for second chances.

The Chrysler DeSoto was a fabulous vehicle. There’s a lot that could be done to bring it into the new century without stripping it of its unique design elements. With a new, economic V6 engine, some updated technology (I’m picturing something like the front panel of a PT Cruiser), and fiberglass body, the DeSoto could be something exciting for those who want to travel Route 66 and take a ride back in time.

Its original inspiration, the Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto, was the first European to lead an expedition into the Southern United States (specifically Florida, Georgia, and Alabama), and the first documented European to traverse the Mississippi River. That spirit of adventure is still alive and well in America today. We want to explore our country. We want to see new places, meet new people, try new things. Having a vehicle capable of taking us on these journeys would be something celebrate. Car manufacturing companies, if you’re listening, please give the De Soto another chance. It’s time.