Thursday, December 14, 2017

When DeSoto Wanted to be a Buick

Buick stood next to the top (Cadillac) in General Motors' hierarchy of brands once LaSalle was dropped from the lineup after the 1940 model year.  Like other GM brands, Buick offered models across a price/prestige range.  Around 1950, the most expensive Buicks overlapped entry-level Cadillacs in price, while the least-expensive Buicks competed with Oldsmobiles and some Pontiacs. Over at Chrysler Corporation, Chryslers were competitive with Buicks, while the Imperial model was in the Cadillac price range.  DeSotos considerably overlapped Chrysler's range, but from a slightly lower starting point.  That is, DeSoto competed with all Buicks save the Roadmaster line and all Oldsmobiles except the lower-level 76s.

From 1942 though 1954 a major Buick brand identification feature was a grille with vertical bars.  DeSoto grilles also had vertical bars, but from 1941 through 1955.  And there was a brief time -- model years 1951 and 1952 -- that DeSoto even borrowed Buick's hood sculpting theme.  I am not sure that was a good idea, essentially copying the looks of a competing brand.  In any case, that detail was dropped on DeSoto's restyled 1953 line.


1939 Buick - publicity photo
Buick first tried out a vertical grille bar theme in 1939, but went to horizontal bars for 1940 and 1941.

1941 DeSoto - Auctions America photo
DeSoto's first use of vertical bars on a horizontal grille.

1942 Buick
Vertical bars were back for the war-shortened 1942 model year.

1949 Buick Super Sedanette - Hyman Ltd. photo
Buicks were restyled for 1949.  Note the sculpting on the front of the hood.  DeSoto stylists were aware of this feature when the 1951 facelift was being developed.

1950 DeSoto - for sale photo
DeSotos were also given new body designs for 1949.  The 1950 models got a revised grille design.

1950 Buick Special Sedanette - Hyman Ltd. photo
Another new set of bodies for Buick in 1950.  The hood sculpting theme was carried over from 1949.

1951 DeSoto - for sale photo
All Chrysler Corporation cars were facelifted for 1950, the most noticeable change being the rounded-off hood prow.  Now DeSoto picks up Buick's hood sculpting.  Not an exact copy, but pretty close.

1951 Buick Super - Hyman Ltd. photo
That same model year Buick got a new grill, but the hood sculpting was unchanged.

1952 DeSoto - for sale photo
DeSotos for 1952 were almost identical to '51s.  The only difference seen here is the typeface for the word "DeSoto."

1953 DeSoto - Mecum Auctions photo
As mentioned above, restyled 1953 DeSotos dropped the Buick-like hood sculpting.

1 comment:

o to tuan said...

i love it so much, so vintage