Wednesday, October 30, 2013

1955 DeSoto Diplomat 4-door Sedan

"No other car in the class of the Diplomat four-door Sedan has ever offered so much room and style both inside and out. Its clean, flowing, low appearance accentuates the beauty of the Diplomat's lines. Its built-in value is reflected in even the smallest detail."

Here's a car from Detroit that you could never buy in the U.S.: the 1955 DeSoto Diplomat is essentially a Plymouth Savoy, wearing a bespoke DeSoto front clip. Chrysler used to sell these cheaper Plymouths, masqueraded as pricier DeSotos or Dodges in its export markets. These "Plodges" were usually built in Canada, but in 1955, Chrysler of Canada didn't export any cars, and so all DeSoto Diplomat came from Detroit.

Cuba is perhaps the only country in the world where you can find very different looking DeSotos of the same model year in peaceful coexistence. Parallel to the "official" channels, many cars, new or used, were imported to the island via ferry from Florida. The high markup at Cuban dealerships made this import a worthwhile effort. Even more so in 1955, because the U.S.-bound "Forward Look" DeSotos were based on the larger Chrysler platform, and looked so much more stunning than the Plymouth-based export models that were sold by Cuban Chrysler dealers.

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