Lot 300: DeSoto Custom Convertible
109bhp, 236.6 cu. in. L-head inline six-cylinder engine, Fluid Drive transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 121.5" The DeSoto model line, named after the famed French explorer of North America, appeared along with Plymouth in 1929. Designed as a step up from Plymouth in price, power and size, over 80,000 DeSotos were delivered during that first year. Although Dodge was ranked higher than DeSoto, by the mid-1930s, DeSoto models were considered second only to the prestigious Chrysler and Imperial marques. The first postwar DeSoto models that appeared in 1946 were based on the limited-production 1942 models. Although mechanically identical, Chrysler was able to provide the 1946 DeSoto line-up with a fresh face new hoods, grilles, wraparound bumpers, smoother front fenders and a restyled rear end treatment completed the look. The styling continued basically untouched through 1948, and it was not until mid-1949 that DeSoto introduced its first entirely new postwar designs. The factory optional Fluid Drive transmission, priced at $121, was an innovative semi-automatic system with two gear positions. Low was for first and second gears, while high operated third and fourth gears. Low was mainly used for fast starts, while normal driving conditions dictated that the driver push in the clutch, and slip the shifter into high. When accelerating, a slight thump at around 15 miles per hour indicated that one was now in fourth, where the car remained, until one had to use reverse, or go back into low. Stopping and starting did not require shifting. Finished in black with a dark red and parchment interior, the lovely DeSoto on offer is a Custom Convertible, of which only 8,100 examples were built from 1946 through early 1949. The number of survivors is even lower and they are rarely seen in today's market. This particular car also benefits from a total nut-and-bolt, frame-off restoration that was conducted to exacting standards. It is equipped with the aforementioned Fluid-Drive transmission and such additional accessories as a spotlight, grille guard, bumper guards, radio, fender skirts and whitewall tires. This Custom Convertible continues to be a show quality car, equipped with a power top and every amenity expected of such a fine postwar automobile.
Automobiles of Amelia Island|
RM Auctions, The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, Florida
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