For 1955, the DeSoto line at Chrysler Coporation recieved its boldest styling update in years. The new DeSotos were “Styled for Tomorrow,” the ad guys declared.
When the Chrysler Corporation introduced Virgil Exner’s aggressive Forward Look styling theme for 1955, each of the five Chrysler passenger car divisions got its own subhead for the new design. At DeSoto, the tagline was “Styled for Tomorrow,” which is also the title of the 1955 commercial spot featured below, naturally enough.
This is only one subjective opinion, of course, but the DeSoto is arguably the most handsome of the ’55 Forward Look cars. While the DeSoto was based on the senior Chrysler platform and sheet metal, it sports a number of distinctive touches, including a remarkably European-looking “double cockpit” instrument panel. And like all Chrysler products in ’55, the selector for the Powerflite automatic transmission was a petite panel-mounted lever—the familiar push-button control would appear in the following year.
While alas, our original commercial spot below was produced in black and white, the ’55 DeSotos were noted for their bold use of color. There were 55 available exterior paint combinations, including the flamboyant Coronado three-tone treatment, and the interiors were equally exuberant. Rapidly shedding its conservative image, DeSoto dumped the base flathead six for ’55, offering only 291 CID hemi V8s: the 185 hp Firedome and the 200 hp Fireflite with Carter four-barrel carburetor. Here’s George Fenneman, the voice of DeSoto in those days, with the rest of the story.
Article courtesy of Mac's Motor City Garage.