1950 Dodge Coronet vs 1950 DeSoto Custom

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Clash of the Classics, 1950 Dodge Coronet vs 1950 DeSoto Custom

As many of you are already aware, each week on our “Clash of the Classics” segment, we pit two classic models against one another. This time the 1950 Dodge Coronet vs 1950 DeSoto Custom and there are folks lined up on both sides of the aisle on this one. As always, try to remember these showdowns are for fun and it gives all of us a chance to stroll down memory lane.

1950 Dodge Coronet

Dodge coronet 1950 1950 Dodge Coronet vs 1950 DeSoto CustomWe’ll start with the 1950 Dodge Coronet, this car was unique in a few ways but the coolest part was the transmission…we’ll get to that in a moment.
It was the second year of production for the Coronet and the 1950 was largely a carry-over from 1949. The engine was a straight 6 cylinder and produced about 103 Horsepower. Dodge offered the line in a 2 door, a 4 door or a station wagon. As you can imagine, it was the 4 door that seemed to sell the best. 1950 was a prosperous time for Americans, families were at the heart of our society and the big, roomy 4 door was a perfect addition for any large family to get around.Dodge Coronet and Meadowbrook interior

1950 Dodge Coronet Interior

The interior was well stitched and the quality of materials, as well as fit and finish, was remarkably high for a car of this period. The seating is absolutely incredible, headroom and legroom were in huge supply and squeezing up to seven people in one was not all uncommon.

The Gyro-Matic Fluid Drive Automatic Transmission

Dodge coronet gyro matic 1950 Dodge Coronet vs 1950 DeSoto CustomThe coolest part for us here at Horsepower Broadcasting was it had a Fluid Drive automatic transmission. It was called a “Gyro-matic” and when I was a kid, I actually rebuilt a couple of these units. It was a very primitive design that was extremely problematic and may be a contributing factor as to why so many folks dislike automatic transmissions  today.

Dodge Coronet engineOriginal MSRP for the 1950 Dodge Coronet was around  $1900.00, today a survivor model is valued at $9,000.00.
Hollywood took a liking to the 1950 Dodge Coronet and featured it in several movies including:
* American Graffiti
* Grease
* Ace in the Hole (1951 with Kirk Douglas and Jan Sterling)

1950 DeSoto Custom

DeSoto-1951Now, let’s talk about the 1950 DeSoto 4 door Custom, this is a car that never really sold as well as Chrysler had hoped. The Desoto Custom was produced from 1939 until 1952 and while in production,  the Custom  was DeSoto’s top-tier model. It was offered in a few different body styles including a seven passenger sedan.

The Custom (like the Deluxe)  was powered by Chrysler’s L-head 236.7 six cylinder engine, producing about 109 horsepower. The transmission was a three speed manual that had good reliability and was geared well to the weight of the car.

The Custom was also DeSoto’s first hardtop coupe, it featured a unique door design that had no pillars and was trimmed much like the convertible model. Standard equipment included two-speed electric windshield wipers, a trunk light and full carpeting.
Original MSRP in 1950 was about $2,062, today a well kept survivor model is worth about $20,000, still some pristine models are commanding much higher amounts.Desoto custom dash 1950

DeSoto’s run was from the late 1920’s through 1960 but the brand never seemed to perform as well as Chrysler expected. During the production years, about 2 million cars were produced (most of them problematic) and in November of 1960, the brand came to an end.

Many of us here at Horsepower Broadcasting are big fans of the DeSoto, if Chrysler would have put just a bit more effort into the platform who knows what would be today? DeSoto Foldout 1951 1950 Dodge Coronet vs 1950 DeSoto Custom

(America’s largest DeSoto association known as the National DeSoto Club meets regularly in the Michigan area. If you are a DeSoto loyalist, we recommend contacting them for more information.)

So, between these two models, 1950 Dodge Coronet vs 1950 DeSoto Custom, which do you prefer?
See you next time for another..Clash of the Classics.

 

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About Author

Donny is a Southern California specialty shop owner with primary emphasis on transmission and differential systems. He is an automotive technology graduate with over 30 years of experience. He and his wife own DMC Transmission outside of Los Angeles and were awarded “Shop of the Year” honors in 2010 and 2011.

Email Donny

3 Comments

  1. YOU MIGHT WANT TO RESEARCH DESOTO TRANSMISSIONS WHEN YOU GET A SECOND. IF YOU FIND THE DODGE TRANSMISSION SO FASCINATING, YOU MIGHT BE SURPRISED TO KNOW THE DESOTO CUSTOM CAME WITH A 4 SPEED SEMI AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION. A MUCH MORE DRIVEABLE UNIT EVEN AT TODAY’S HIGHWAY SPEEDS.ANOTHER FYI, NEITHER THE DODGE OR THE DESOTO TRANSMISSION WAS CONSIDERED AN AUTOMATIC BUT A SEMI AUTOMATIC.

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