A Restored 1949 DeSoto Custom Club Coupe

The automobile featured in this article is a beautifully restored 1949 DeSoto Custom Coupe. This was the car promoted with the saying "Designed with you in mind". DeSoto was advertised as giving you modern designing without compromising safety and comfort. Even back to 1946 most American automakers stressed reliability in their advertising as opposed to performance. Performance would come a bit later.

1949 desoto custom coupe

1949 DeSoto Custom Coupe

Between 1946 and 1954 DeSoto had three different model cycles. These were 1946-1948, 1949 -1952, 1953-1954. The first post war DeSotos were manufactured beginning in late 1945.

The first post war DeSotos as well as all the Chrysler brands differed from their competition by building valve in block engines as opposed to the overhead valve design. Within a year or two they reverted back to the overhead valve models. The 1946 Dodge models were actually a reissue of their 1942 cars and this was typical of almost all automakers at the time.

Enter the New DeSoto S-13 Models

In the middle of the 1949 production year DeSoto introduced their S-13 models. These replaced the S-11's which had lasted from 1946 through the first part of the 1949 production cycle.All of these DeSotos, from 1946 to early 1949 looked essentially similar. The S-13's were a major change and really were post war milestone automobiles. The years 1948 and 1949 were periods of major design change for many marquees.

1949 desoto design and grille

1949 DeSoto grille

Along with the new S-13's came design changes as well. The mid range positioned DeSoto S-13 had a longer wheelbase than the S-11. Design changes included less overhang on the both the front and rear. This made the overall outside length less but the interior compartment actually offer more space.

This 1949 DeSoto Custom Coupe has the classic DeSoto vertical grille with the front and rear bumpers of a wrap around design. You might consider the overall design to have a boxy appearance.

The DeSoto is thought by many to be good car for restoration. Parts, especially mechanical, appear to be easily available since these Chrysler engines were used on a variety of vehicles including boats up to about 1972. Trim parts can be a bit difficult to locate but there are several companies specializing in vintage Chrysler products parts.

1949 desoto dashboard

49 DeSoto Custom Coupe dashboard

1949 DeSoto Specifications

The 1949 DeSoto Custom came with a 236 cubic inch inline six cylinder flat head engine. This was the same engine put in previous DeSoto models except with the addtiion of a new cylinder head horsepower was increased.

Chrysler Corporation had gained a fine reputation for engineering and they even advertised the fact as early as 1944 that their engines powered Sherman tanks. It's interesting to note that Chrysler kept their brand names in front of the public during the war even though they, like everyone else, had no new cars to sell to the public.

Transmission on the 1949 DeSoto S-11 was a three speed manual  Hydra-fluid. This transmission had a hydraulic coupling in place of the flywheel. Also available as an option was the Tip-Toe Shift transmission.

On the DeSoto S-13 models the DeSoto Tip-Toe Shift (other brands used other names) was standard equipment. This was billed as a semi-automatic transmission but in reality there was really no such thing as a semi-automatic in the true sense. Some might however disagree with that. To operate the transmission the driver would shift between the two forward gears, high and low, by lifting his/her foot off the accelerator at a certain speed causing the overdrive to kick in. A sound would be heard when the overdrive engaged. There were actually four speeds with this transmission. Low, low overdrive, high, and high overdrive.

1949 desoto coupe

1949 DeSoto Coupe

The car had a wheelbase of 125.5 inches and an overall outside length of 206.75 inches. Width was 73.25 inches and height came in at 65.75 inches.

1949 was a good year for DeSoto. Total DeSoto production for 1949 was 92,400 vehicles (S-13's) in the U.S. and 2,792 units in Canada. The Canadian S-13's were all DeSoto Custom Club Coupes.

The DeSoto engine serial number on this model is stamped on the engine block on the left side above the generator and below the cylinder head. The body serial number should be placed on the left front door post.

DeSoto automobiles, named after the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto,  were manufactured from 1928 to 1960. Over this multi-decade span over two million DeSoto vehicles were built. The decision to cease DeSoto production was similar to what happens when a large automaker such as Chrysler has offerings that are too similar in size and price. In addition, DeSoto sales suffered quite a bit during 1958 and 1959.

Another contributing factor to DeSoto's demise recognized by many is that each of Chrysler divisions during the 50's were free to target markets which meant some were targeting the same market. It would only be a matter of time before one marquee would suffer at the hands of another Chrysler division.

See the AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below...

1948 Pontiac Silver Streak Convertible

1947 Ford Super Deluxe Convertible

1949 Cadillac New Post War Design

1949 desoto trim

1949 DeSoto trim

DeSoto Collector Cars

Essentially all DeSoto automobiles are good collector cars and the marquee has a strong following represented by the National DeSoto Club. DeSoto stands as a symbol of the American automobile industry at it's height.

The most popular DeSoto for collectors might be the 1941 and the abbreviated 1942 models. These would be in addition to the Airflow models of the mid 1930's.

Asking prices for 1949 and 1950 DeSotos will have a lot to do with degree of restoration if any. As of this date you'll find partially restored models being offered in the mid to high teens. Fully restored DeSotos of this period will average in the area of $40,000 with some prices being asked for museum quality condition vehicles approaching $60,000 and $70,000 and even more.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)



The Big 1958 Continental Mark III / Specs and Photos

When it comes to large automobiles produced in Detroit, the Continental Mark III might very well win the prize. The latter half of the 1950's were a time of fins and lot of steel. The 1958 Continental Mark III stayed away from extra large fins but instead caught your eye with it's massive size.

1958 continental mark iii specs

1958 Continental Mark III

The 1958 Continental Mark III is said to be the longest and widest (non limo) passenger car ever built in Detroit. It was longer than that years Cadillac, it's main competitor. Some would say that the Mark III's size was excessive but when you look back at the 50's many automobiles could fit that description in one way or another.

Built by Lincoln, the 1958 Lincoln Continental Mark III had a weight of 4,900 lbs. An interesting side note was that the very first Lincoln Continental was a 1939 model built as a one only model for Edsel Ford's personal use and amazingly was sketched out in about an hour by design Bob Gregorie. Gregorie reportedly used the Lincoln Zephyr designs and made alterations. Auto enthusiasts may remember that Bentley also used the name Continental at one time on some of their lines.

1958 continental mark iii specs and photos

1958 Continental mark III angular headlights

1958 Continental Mark III Design

Continental offered four 1958 models. These included the four door sedan, the two door hardtop, the four door hardtop and the two door convertible. The Continental was not a separate line of cars but represented the top of the line Lincoln models. The separate Continental Division was phased out in 1957. As a result of this distinction between the two car divisions, some mistakenly call the 1956 and 57 Continental a Lincoln Continental when in reality it was separate from Lincoln as a marquee.

Ford Motor Company Designer John Najjar

Design credit for this car is chiefly credited to John Najjar. Najjar was a lead designer for the Ford Motor Company and is also credited for the design of the Ford Mustang logo. John Najjar joined the Ford Motor Company Apprentice School in 1936. After a chance meeting with Henry Ford Najjar was given an opportunity in the the design department and ended up working for Ford Motor for 40 years. During World War Two Najjar worked in designs for the M4A3 Sherman Tank and the B-24 Bomber.

1958 lincoln continental mark iii

58 Continental Mark III triple taillight design and spare tire holder

This Continental had an all steel unitized body with welded double panel doors. In addition to this the Continental Mark III had a rear window that retracted by using an automatic switch. The rear window retracted behind the rear seat.

The 1958 Continentals premiered with all new designs. One snazzy touch in addition to the retractable rear window were the angled headlights. While the 58 Continental had tail fins, although very muted compared to many other autos of the year, the name that was given to Najjar's design was called "rectilinear".  Rectilinear essentially is a design with straight lines which the 58 Continental had.

Make no mistake, the 1958 Continental Mark III's were luxurious automobiles. Standard equipment in all Lincolns and Continentals were power steering, power brakes, radios, a center armrest, heater-defrosters, padded dashboards and a clock.

The 1959 Continentals would be called the Mark IV's and the 1960 models the Mark V's.

1958 Continental Mark III Specifications

The 1958 Continentals came with powerful 430 cubic inch V-8 engines delivering 375 horsepower.These very large and heavy cars could do the Zero to 60 MPH run in 9.5 seconds which is quite impressive considering their size. These large engines were built into all 1958 models, Lincolns and Continentals.

1958 continental mark three dash

58 Continental Mark III dashboard

As a comparison, the 1956 Continental Mark II had a 368 cubic inch Lincoln V-8 delivering 285 horsepower followed by the same engine delivering 300 horsepower in 1957. The Continental horsepower was ratcheted up each year.

1958 Continental suspension included coil springs all around.

The Continental Mark III's wheelbase was 131.0 inches with an overall outside length of 229.0 inches.

1958 Continental Production

Production totals for Lincoln and Continental for the 1958 model year totaled 29,864 vehicles. This contrasted sharply with competitor Cadillac's total 1958 production of 121,775 vehicles. Automobile sales in general was affected quite a bit by the 1958 recession which was the severest since World War Two. Ford Motor wasn't having an easy time making profits with their Continental models as production costs were considered quite high. As it turned out Ford did make a small profit on each of the 58 Continentals sold.

New car price for the 1958 Continental was in the range of $6,000 to $6,500. It should be noted that this price was quite lower than the Continental Mark II which had a new car price tag of around $10,000. Wealthy celebrities of 1956/57 who wanted something other than a Cadillac often chose the Mark II.

See the automobiles featured on AutoMuseumOnline articles linked below...

1955 Imperial Specs and Photos

1956 Olds Rocket 88 Convertible

1959 Edsel Corsair Convertible

The 1960 Cadillac / A Toned Down Design

1958 lincoln continental mark iii grille

1958 Continental Mark III grille

1958 Continental Mark III Collector Car

The early Continentals as collector cars are all about their generations in production. The first generation of Continentals were produced from 1939 to 1948 (minus the war years) as Lincoln Continentals. The brand was revived for the 1956 and 1957 model years as a separate brand apart from Lincoln. Beginning in 1958 the brand again was a part of the Lincoln division.

As of this writing the 1958 Continental Mark III may have a value in the upper $30,000 area if in pristine condition and heavily original. Higher collector prices will generally be found on the Continental Mark II's from 1956 and 1957. These will of course vary depending on condition, restoration and originality but asking prices for the Mark II will usually be north of $50,000.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)



A Finely Restored 1940 Dodge Convertible Coupe

There are some great vintage collector quality Dodge automobiles around and the restored 1940 Dodge Convertible featured in this article is one of them. Finely restored Dodge models with plenty of originality command high prices today.

1940 dodge convertible

1940 Dodge Deluxe Convertible

There was no Dodge Convertible produced in 1939 so the 40 Convertible made a comeback that year.

Because of the war that was to come in a few years, the body shell of the 1940 Dodge would be carried through toward the end of the 1940's. Chrysler actually had an assembly plant in Antwerp Belgium that had to close in 1940 due to the war in Europe.

The 1940 Dodge Coupe Design

Design credit for this model goes to coachbuilder Raymond H. Dietrich. While Dietrich had a good reputation for unique styles Chrysler kept his designs within conservative guidelines. Raymond Dietrich founded coachbuilder Dietrich Inc. in 1925 and went on to design some of the most eye catching auto designs ever put on paper. Prior to that he partnered with Tom Hibbard to form LeBaron Carrossiers, a New York City coachbuilder. It's been said that the name was chosen because it sounded French and prestigious. LeBaron was acquired by the Detroit company Briggs in 1927.

Vintage collector automobiles with the designed by Dietrich touch include Packards, Pierce-Arrows, Lincolns and Franklins. All open air Packards after 1933 were designed by Dietrich. A side note is that Raymond Dietrich left Chrysler just before the 1940 Dodge models went into production.

1940 dodge

1940 Dodge Deluxe

As beautiful as this restored 1940 Dodge Coupe looks, it's overall design is quite conservative. One of his fine touches was the wide horizontal grille with it's thin horizontal bars.The car also had sealed-beam headlights and parking lights in the bezels. +-----------------------------------------------

At the start of the 1940's the "fastback" look gained popularity. Chrysler was one of the first automakers to introduce an airflow design which they aptly named "Airflow" and put it into design from 1934 to 1937. While you would have thought the Chrysler Airflow design would catch on, it didn't, but it did influence other designs during the 1940's with this Dodge Convertible showing some of the elements. The Airflow design actually reappeared in the mid 1950's with Virgil Exner's new Forward Look designs.

In 1940 Dodge Coupes were built in four styles. The Business Coupe, the Business Coupe Special, the Special Club Coupe and the Deluxe model Convertible Coupe.

1940 dodge coupe

1940 Dodge Coupe dashboard

1940 Dodge Deluxe Specifications

This 1940 Dodge came with a 218 cubic inch in-line six cylinder engine delivering 87 horsepower. This engine differs from the straight eight that was offered by most manufacturers at the time and was more economical. In 1941 this 218 cubic inch engine would be reconfigured to deliver 91 horsepower. The prewar Chrysler engines had a good reputation for their durability and they still do.

Transmission was a three speed sliding gear manual.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drum.

Front suspension was independent coil springs and the rear semi-elliptic leaf springs.

The car's wheelbase was 119.5 inches. Overall outside length was 203.0 inches.

interior 1940 dodge coupe

Interior and dash 1940 Dodge Coupe

The 1940 Dodge Deluxe Convertible Coupe weight came in at about 3,190 lbs and the new car price in 1940 was about $1,000. Running boards were offered as a $10 option.

Total 1940 Dodge Convertible Coupe production was 2,100 vehicles.Total Dodge production in 1940 was 195,500. Out of that figure 66,500 were Dodge Special Series and 129,000 were Dodge Deluxe Series models.

An interesting side note for anyone who has a vintage Chrysler product involves the Chrysler Historical Services offered by the Walter P. Chrysler Museum. Here you can request a build card, if available, and any other historical data they may have on your vehicle. For more information on this and the pricing see their website www.wpchryslermuseum.org

See the additional AutoMuseumOnline articles on the links below...

The 1940 Ford Deluxe Convertible Coupe

1946 Ford Convertible

1936 Chrysler Convertible Sedan

1941 Modified Pontiac Torpedo Model 25

1940 dodge coupe grille

1940 Dodge Coupe grille

1940 Dodge Deluxe Coupe Convertible Collector Car

With this fine design and the limited number of convertibles produced in 1940, the Dodge Deluxe Convertible is easily the most popular Dodge collector car from that year. The car's total collector value will have a lot to do with originality. 1940 Dodges can be found but finding one with original stock equipment and in mint museum like condition might take a bit longer to locate.

As of this date, you'll find asking prices for restored models in the $40,000 plus range. restored four door sedans of this Dodge model year with crate engines have asking prices in the low $30,000 range.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)