When it came time to introduce their redesigned for 1959 model, Desoto called upon movie star Rock Hudson to give a convincing "off screen" endorsement. Between the styling, swivel seats and "back lot" off road testing in this vintage commercial, we think the 1959 Desoto might have been okay selling itself.
Coming off their worst sales year since the 1930s in 1958, Desoto pulled out all the stops to promote their redesigned for 1959 models. As Rock Hudson explains it "Everything you see, everything you touch is brand new" for ‘59. Unfortunately for Desoto, not even Rock Hudson could reverse the company's drastic sales decline. It was announced that the Desoto brand would be discontinued in late 1960, less than two months after the 1961 Desoto models were introduced.
Like many other Virgil Exner designed Mopar products, the 1959 Desoto was blessed with plenty of style while being cursed with a rust prone nature and build quality issues galore. Not surprisingly, these factors combined translate into a fairly low survival rate for the one year only 1959 models.
Perhaps it is the after effects of a childhood spent reading the trials and tribulations of '59 Desoto ownership as told by a cartoon ostrich or the result of spotting a pair of rare and desirable Sportsman's on Ebay, but dreams of 1959 Desoto ownership haven't been far from my thoughts recently. 52 years after it was introduced, even if the 1959 Desoto isn't the smartest way to go places anymore, it is certainly still one of the most stylish.