1929 De Soto in Cars & Parts

Cars & Parts writer Dave Duricy dared me not to read his column The Chryslerist in the July 2010 issue. Like the build quality of a Yugo, I failed miserably.

It’s a good article with a lot of historical information packed onto one page. I also like direct quotes from somebody who was there when the car was new. Quotes help to avoid the dreaded Book Report Syndrome.

I like these kinds of articles, but as with all cars up to about 1930, I found myself wanting to feel what it’s like to drive one of these pre-war jalopies. I wonder how this article could have played out as a video.

Maybe short one-pagers like this would be a good way to expand the Cars & Parts brand by creating short videos about the cars that could accompany the print articles. After all, magazines won’t be the exclusive outlet for classic car stories forever. Once the Hemmings Geezer Generation is eating tapioca in a nursing home, younger classic car fans will demand content that appeals to them in their preferred medium or media.

Just a little burst of cognitive speed there.

P.S. Nice Vance Packard reference at the end of the article, Dave.

1958 De Soto Firesweep in Hemmings Motor News

More specifically, that’s a 1958 De Soto Firesweep Sportsman 2-door hard top.


It’s in the February 2010 issue of Hemmings Motor News.

(I love HMN, but I sure wish they’d use a little right-brain creativity and figure out some ways to make this information more visually appealing. If Garage and Gearhead and other magazines can do it, why not the hobby’s bible? You guys don’t have to go crazy. Just push it a little. Challenge yourselves. That’s my 2010 contribution to your Comment Box.)

By the way, the picture above is not from the article. You can’t get access to their images from the current issue online. Thanks to for posting this image from an original De Soto brochure.

A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck

I judge books by their covers. (I'm shallow that way.)

And if the cover of Richard Peck's book A Season of Gifts is any indication, I'm going to like it. It's the first kids' book I've ever seen with a green 1950 Nash Airflyte on the cover. (Statesman or Ambassador? They're both long enough to strap a Christmas tree to.)

I'm not going to reveal the plot, but one section of the book is like a walk through an orphan car parking lot.
Richard Peck book cover

Exhibit A: The Pickle. The description: "The steering on a 1950 Nash is loose as a goose, and the hood's as big as an aircraft carrier." (Couldn't be more true if it was a police report.)

Exhibit B: on page 135, Miss Flora Shellabarger owns a 1942 Packard Clipper. (Miss Shellabarger has good taste and good sense. She's not strapping any Christmas trees to the top of her car.)

Exhibit C: Roscoe Burdick's DeSoto on page 98.

Exhibit D: the homecoming queen's float is built on a 1932 Hupmobile sedan.

I didn't see any illustrations other than the cover Nash, but I love the fact that Peck has excellent taste when it comes to orphans.

The book is available online and in bookstores now.

Hudson, DeSoto, & Muntz in Collectible Automobile

Collectible Automobile (STILL no web site) hit home runs with each of its three Photo Features in its August 2009 issue.

First up is a 1952 Muntz Jet. It looks like a long, sleek, beautiful vitamin tablet with headlights. Very streamlined. Very slab sided like a lot of postwar cars. Very low volume. I’d love to drift my way through the weekly cruise in with this car. I can practically see the question marks over gawkers’ heads.

Next is the 1947 DeSoto Custom Club Coupe. It has one of those painted-on, fake wooden dashboards that were so popular in midsize cars like Nash. Thank God they stopped building tanks for war and reverted to building tanks for the boulevard.

I’m sure it’s no accident that the first picture in this Feature is a closeup of the hood ornament. Naked woman. Hair flowing. Arms extended like wings. And protruding boobs pointing the way forward. It’s the kind of design statement that says, “Wherever you’re going, I’m following.”

The last spread in this issue is a pretty 1941 Hudson pickup. I’ve always liked these trucks along with the ’46-’47 Hudson pickups. Very handsome. The truck bed looks long enough to haul my Metropolitan.

Check out Volume 26, #2 for yourself.