Governor de Soto, your taxi is here

   
Export-model DeSoto is based on a Plymouth – with an added bit of Dodge.
   HERNANDO DE SOTO was appointed governor of Cuba in 1538 but spent just 11 months on the island before leading his expedition into what now is the United States, where he hoped to find gold and instead would encounter hostile natives and eventually the illness – recorded only as "a fever" – to which he would succumb.
   But de Soto's name lives on in Cuba. His image, too, if the stylized conquistador in the logo of the Chrysler DeSoto (sometimes De Soto) bears any likeness to the Spanish explorer.
 

Both DeSoto and Plymouth emblems were applied at the factory.




    DeSoto was a separate line for Chrysler from 1928 to 1961, generally positioned above its mainstream brands but a notch or two below its luxury divisions. For much of that period the Detroit automaker also produced an export-model DeSoto, based on cars from Plymouth or Dodge and usually called the Diplomat.
   Most of Cuba's DeSotos are of the export variety, like this 1948 sedan from the government's Gran Car fleet of tourist-pleasing taxis. It bears both DeSoto and Plymouth badges – it came that way – but even without them, its Plymouth heritage shows through in the blocky fenders and other conservative lines.
 

Gran Car taxi fleet ferries visitors in eye-catching classics.
  The waterfall grille, however, offers at least a nod to its more stylish home-market cousin, even if the signal lights to each side came from the Dodge parts bin. (Chrysler was ever-inventive in its configurations.)
  The export DeSoto was also sold in Australia, Europe, Mexico and South America, though few will remain in those markets. On the island once governed by its namesake, however, it still rules the roads.



See also: 


Hemmings: Made for export – 1947 De Soto


Allpar: The DeSoto Diplomat




Comments

Manuel said…
This DeSoto-Plymouth (or Plymouth-DeSoto)is just a Cuban story: a car built with two different cars.
As the are basically the same car, assembled on the same lines in Detroit or Windsor, this one is for sure just a DeSoto with a Plymouth bootlid, or maybe a Plymouth with a DeSoto grille.
Caristas said…
Thanks Manuel. I have another DeSoto-Plymouth photo that I will be putting up shortly.

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