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Desoto Fireflite Sedan – 2nd Ave (Kips Bay)

May 27th, 2010 by Stu

From tri-tower taillamps to sweeping fins and hooded eyes, you have got to love the details on this DeSoto Fireflite. DeSoto actually tried to make aerodynamic claims about their extravagant tailfins, saying they “added stability at speed,” but we all know that was Motown marketing BS. Virgil Exner had one thing in mind when he penned these fins onto nearly every 57 Chrysler product…getting noticed.  This well-kept and regularly used example still manages to turn heads some 60 years later.

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  • Nice 1958 model. The side two-toning does not appear stock, but what an interesting survivor, all the more so because it appears to be driven and enjoyed. The headlights are neat, like they’re winking at you, and, of course, those fins! The lights were designed so that single or dual deadlamps could be fitted while not requiring two different styles of fender or sheetmetal–back when some states banned dual units. These cars were tested in the wind tunnel, and the fins did improve stability at high speeds–over 70 mph–reducing the effect of cross-winds and requiring fewer steering corrections. Aerodynamics were really at their infancy then, but frontal area and the center of (air) mass were things that were understood and were things taken into consideration at the time.