DeSoto arrived on the scene in 1929, positioned above Plymouth as a mid-priced, high-value companion marque for Chrysler. Reflecting on DeSoto’s history, it’s a curiosity that Chrysler created the division since they had acquired Dodge around at the same time. Defying the potential for buyer confusion, DeSoto was an immediate hit, selling a record-breaking 81,000 cars in its first year, thanks to high levels of style and substance at a highly competitive price point. Unfortunately, the onset of the Great Depression quickly cooled that enthusiasm and internal competition from the more affordable Dodge began to erode DeSoto sales. Despite the struggles, the marque survived through the 1950s, bringing a unique combination of style, performance, and value to Chrysler’s portfolio.
Introduced in January 1932, the Series SC ushered in handsome new styling setting DeSoto apart from the Chrysler portfolio. Central to the look was a lovely curved radiator shell, resembling that of a contemporary Miller Indy Car. New one-piece fenders had a rounded, full-figured look, while the hood extended clear to the base of the windscreen, inspired by the Chrysler Imperial. The Series SC featured a version of the robust “Red Head” inline-six, similar to the one that powered Chrysler to outstanding results at LeMans and the Mille Miglia.
Offered from Kleptz Collection is this rare range-topping 1932 DeSoto SC Custom, fitted with the rarely seen 2-door convertible coupe factory coachwork. This handsome body style was reserved for the SC Custom line and is one of just 960 built out of a total of more than 24,000 SCs in 1932. It is one the longest-term members of the Kleptz collection, having joined the fold around 1967 and restored by Frank a short time later. The restoration is well preserved, and the two-tone tan livery is understated and attractive. The AACA National First Prize award from 1970 makes its current condition all the more impressive. Accessories include dual side-mount spares, twin chrome trumpet horns, radiator mascot, color-matched metal trunk, color-keyed artillery wheels, and a fold-out windscreen. A few minor imperfections are apparent in the finish, though they don’t lessen this DeSoto’s enormous charm.
Dark brown upholstery covering the seats and door cards provides an attractive complement to the paintwork. The soft trim is in excellent condition considering the restoration’s age, and while some minor creasing on the seats is evident, it is all quite tidy and well-presented. The tan canvas convertible top is beginning to show its age through some dryness and a few flaws but is otherwise functional and usable in its current state.
DeSoto’s L-head inline-six is orderly and appropriately detailed, showing a slight patina on the painted surfaces consistent with its age. Wiring, hose clamps, and other fittings are predominantly period-correct, and the head is painted red per original specs. The engine runs well, and the car drives and shifts quite nicely, though minor recommissioning will be needed to return it to the road.
Rare and delightfully attractive, this DeSoto SC Custom is an ideal family-friendly classic to enjoy in a host of casual events.
Offers welcome and trades considered