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
We’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.
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
The 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.
Original 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
* Ace in the Hole (1951 with Kirk Douglas and Jan Sterling)
1950 DeSoto Custom
Now, 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’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.
(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.