Wednesday, August 29, 2012

1959 DeSoto Firesweep 4-door Sedan

"The Firesweep offers features that would cost hundreds extra in many competitive cars . . . features such as Turboflash V8 engines, Torsion-Aire suspension system, Safe-Stop brakes. Its Flair Stream styling is distinctive. And yet the 1959 Firesweep is priced scarcely above the lowest!"

In 1959, DeSoto produced just 9.649 Firesweep 4-door Sedans, and finding one in Cuba took us quite a while. But finally, here it is, nicely promoted by the exclamation mark of the communist propaganda in the background.

Sure, DeSoto's entry level model for 1959 didn't offer the golden anodized exterior trim or the "Fashion-Vogue Interior", trimmed in "textured Nylon Casino Corde fabric", which came standard with the top-level Adventurer models. Neither could you get "Sports Swivel Seats". But regardless, the DeSoto Firesweep was already pretty well-equipped, and, for extra money, even available with the top model's "Adventurer Engine" which sported two 4-barrel carburetors and a special performance "hi-lift" camshaft, and was rated at 350 horsepower, 55 more than the standard Firesweep "Turboflash" V-8 engine.

Perhaps most important for most buyers, the Firesweep flaunted "Flair Stream styling" like every DeSoto for 1959, which was a rather heavy-handed facelift of Virgil Exner's "Forward Look" design. Even DeSoto's entry-level model looked pretty impressive, despite running on a 122-inch wheelbase, four inch shorter ahead of the windshield than the rest of the lineup. The 1959 Firedome rolled off the Dodge assembly line in Hamtramck, and the DeSotos simply shared the shorter front clip with the Dodge models, while the rest of the car was essentially a Chrysler. This early form of badge engineering was possible, because all models of Chrysler Corporation cars shared a similar construction, based on interchangeable parts.

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