Curbside Musings: 1950 DeSoto Deluxe Sedan – For My Grandma

1950 DeSoto Deluxe four-door sedan. Rogers Park, Chicago, Illinois. Sunday, November 6, 2022.

One of the things I learned during quarantine a couple of years ago was that cooler weather does not necessarily have to put an end to the long walks on weekends that I enjoy so much.  If I’m dressed properly for it and keep a decent pace, taking a walk in cooler or cold weather can feel no less comfortable than when it’s really hot outside during the peak of summer.  When I spotted our featured DeSoto at the beginning of this month, it was during that sweet spot in autumn when cracking the windows open about an inch allows cool, fresh air into one’s living space and still allows for a comfortable temperature inside.  Maybe it was in the back of my mind that I had hoped to see at least a few seasonal decorations while walking around the Rogers Park neighborhood that Sunday.

Macy's on State (formerly Marshall Field's). Downtown, The Loop, Chicago, Illinois. Thursday, November 10, 2022.

Macy’s on State Street (formerly Marshall Field’s). Thursday, November 10, 2022.

Some friends and acquaintances on social media had been jokingly chiding others who put up their Christmas or holiday decorations before a certain time.  I used to be one of those people who wouldn’t consider putting up Christmas until after Thanksgiving.  What I’ve found in more recent years, however, is that my former hard-and-fast rules for putting up and taking down my decorations tended to make my Post-Christmas Blues that much more acute.  I’d then sometimes leave my tree up well into January, which probably garnered about the same amount of side-eye.  For the past few years and instead of going that route, I’ve been allowing myself a little extra time with my holiday decorations before Thanksgiving so I can enjoy them longer and be more ready to put them back away once the new year rolls over.

With my grandma.

With my grandma.

Christmas always reminds me of my beloved grandmother, who decorated with such flair and creativity, along with baking such a fun and super-delicious array of cookies from scratch.  Any DeSoto will also probably always remind me of her for no other reason than she was my first introduction to that make when I was a young kid expressing an interest in cars.  She pronounced the make the way she pronounced “Missouri” or “Naomi”, ending with an “-uh” vowel sound at the end.  She would speak fondly of the “De-SO-tah” she and Grandpa had owned, how it had been such a pretty color green, and how she loved its interior.  She didn’t always pronounce “DeSoto” that way, but maybe her alternate pronunciation was just her way of adding emphasis in her colorful, animated way of speaking.

1950 DeSoto brochure cover, as sourced from

I didn’t inherit any pictures of Grandma’s and Grandpa’s DeSoto and would have no idea if theirs was a 1950, but that would have been entirely plausible, as they would have been young-ish parents around the time this car was new.  The Deluxe model, of which our beige beauty is a fine example, was the lower of the two tiers of DeSoto for 1950, with the Custom being the premier model.  The ’50 DeSoto was available in a range of body styles, among them being two- and four-door sedans, a wagon, an extended eight-passenger sedan (which rode on a 139.5-inch wheelbase that was fourteen inches longer than on the standard models), and a convertible.

1950 DeSoto Deluxe four-door sedan. Rogers Park, Chicago, Illinois. Sunday, November 6, 2022.

Power came from a 112-horsepower six-cylinder engine displacing 236.6 cubic inches.  Total DeSoto production for 1950 was just around 136,000 units, which was good for twelfth place in the industry, sandwiched between Nash and Hudson (the latter two of which would famously merge in 1954 to become American Motors Corporation).  The four-door like the car pictured above was the most popular Deluxe model, with about 18,500 units sold out of about 33,300 Deluxes, or roughly 55%.  Nineteen-fifty was a good year for the division, with sales up 43% over prior year 1949, when all of Chrysler’s makes featured new designs.  DeSoto sales would drop in ’51 by over 30,000 units and 22%.

1950 DeSoto brochure page, as sourced from

There’s a certain nostalgia built right into the winter holidays, which I love.  For many of us, regardless of walk of life, family background or status, etc., the holidays don’t necessarily have to be about maintaining traditions passed down from one’s parents, but rather can also be about creating one’s own, new traditions and celebrating them from year to year.  It can be a synthesis of the best of what we remember and who, what, and where we are today.  I had once told myself that I would never be one of those people who would decorate for Christmas like Rudolph himself had barfed all over the living room.  Maybe it was being in a more celebratory state of mind, but this year I spent more of my weekend allowance money on some great, new decorations, some of which remind me of what it felt like to be at my grandparents’ farm for Christmas and the magic and joy of celebrating with them there among extended family.

1950 DeSoto Deluxe four-door sedan. Rogers Park, Chicago, Illinois. Sunday, November 6, 2022.

It’s wonderful to be nearing the end of the year with everything looking, sounding, smelling, and tasting so amazing (thank you, Aldi, for selling Pfeffernusse cookies, one of my favorites of Grandma’s cookie recipes), also in conjunction with having spotted a nice example of a long-defunct division of the former Chrysler Corporation.  Grandpa used to talk about his old Chevrolet with fondness as the first (used) car he had ever owned.  Of all the cars I remember my grandma talking about, however, the DeSoto always seems to come right to the forefront.  I loved her so much.  The holidays can be tricky to navigate for some of us and for various reasons, but my hope for those for whom that is the case is that you may find ways to celebrate those good people and things that have brought you true joy.  A new year and another clean slate are right around the corner.

Rogers Park, Chicago, Illinois.
Sunday, November 6, 2022.

Brochure photos as sourced from