Carmel Artomobilia 2017

Pentax ME, 50mm f/2 SMC Pentax-M
Fujicolor 100

DeSoto seems like such an odd name for an automobile. But until it went defunct in the early 1960s, I’m sure it seemed as normal as Chevrolet.

Film Photography, Old Cars, Photography

single frame: DeSoto



21 thoughts on “single frame: DeSoto

  1. Dan Cluley says:

    Nice shot. I believe that the two headlights & Dodge style fenders make this a 1957 Firesweep.

    I also think your initial feeling is correct. DeSoto is an odd name for a car. Off hand the only other car I can think of that was named after an explorer is Cadillac, and he was the founder of Detroit.

  2. In follow up to Dan, I can also think of the LaSalle as another car named for an explorer. Chrysler introduced DeSoto the year after GM introduced the LaSalle, so I wonder if the early explorer theme was hot at the time.

    DeSoto was also one of the few cars named for a Spaniard at a time when English and French names seemed to predominate.

    And is it just me, or is Oldsmobile knocking on the door of the Odd Name For A Car club?

    • Dan Cluley says:

      I knew somebody would come up with more. GM also briefly had Marquette, but again he had Michigan connections.

      Buick & Studebaker don’t really roll off the tongue either.

      It’s hard to believe that nobody named Smith or Jones ever started a car company.

  3. That’s inspiring work with the Pentax ME. I’m hoping to get some more pictures from mine shortly.

    My parents bought a new ’56 DeSoto wagon when I was sixteen, so I spent a lot of time driving it. The main thing about it I remember is the push-button gear shifter. Otherwise, it seemed pretty unexciting for a sixteen-year-old.

  4. DougD says:

    Love those late fifties Mopars. I looked for your reflection in the chrome but don’t see you, a well set up shot that you hid the photographer.

    My Dad’s first car was a 1938 DeSoto, so the name has always seemed normal to me. I would love to find one.

    • I heard of the automobile long before I ever knew of the man. So when I hear “DeSoto discovers the Mississippi” I imagine a car parked at the banks!

  5. Buick was founded by David Dunbar Buick and was the original division of General Motors. Chevrolet was founded by Louis Chevrolet, a noted race driver who competed in the Indianapolis 500 four times, and William Durant, Chevrolet became part of General Motors sometime after 1915. The Oldsmobile, as mentioned, was invented by Ransom E. Olds, as was the REO truck. The Pontiac was named after Chief Pontiac of the Ottawas.

    Rene-Robert Cavelier de La Salle was the French explorer who first traveled down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico, claiming the territory for France and giving it the name “Louisiana,” for King Louis XIV of France. This was the territory the U.S. acquired from France in 1803 as the Louisiana Purchase.

    We had a LaSalle, a 1934 model, I think, in the late 1940s. It was a very luxurious car for its time, but well-used when we got it.

  6. jon campo says:

    Very nice picture Jim. I’ve noticed folks really respond to your car photos. You do seem to have a talent for it.

  7. Heide says:

    Wonderful photo, Jim — you really have a knack for bringing out the most beautiful angles in old cars! Just as you have a knack for making me reconsider the world in new ways. I expect I’ll spend my evening commute thinking about strange product names. Thank you for that. :)

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