Ralf K Outtake: 1942 De Soto – Hidden Headlight Pioneer

Another car makes its first appearance at CC, except for its headlights, which are of course hidden behind their flip-up covers. Dubbed “Airfoil” headlights, the De Soto’s were the second American car to have them after the 1936-1937 Cord 810/812.

Given that only 24.771 ’42s rolled off the lines before they were shut down for the war, these were rare birds from day one.

This rendering of a ’42 De Soto makes it look a whole lot more sleek and futuristic than in person. So much for truth in advertising. But that was par for the course back then.

It’s not hard to figure out where this design came form: the De Soto Cyclone concept by Alex Tremulis.

By the way, the headlight covers were operated manually via cables to a little handle under the dash.


The ’42 De Soto was given credit in Mike Butts’ survey of Hidden Headlights, Part 1.