S3 model production began on October 1, 1936 at the new DeSoto manufacturing facility in Detroit. Dropped from 1936 were the Airflow and Airstream models, now consolidated to one body style. Chrysler, unlike DeSoto, would continue offering the Airflows and Airstreams through the year. For DeSoto, the wheelbase of the standard models decreased from 118 to 116 inches, but the 7-passenger models increased from 130 to 133 inches. Minor engine and transmission updates were made, but they were essentially the same configurations as the previous model year. Design-wise, the headlights were set back further and the grille with "alligator" hood were pushed further forward to create a longer, bolder look. The other big news, besides the body change, was the change in rear axles to the silent hypoid design that did away with the rear floor tunnel. Due to consolidation of models, the prices were actually about $50 lower than the 1936 models.
This year saw the return of the trunkless sedans, presumably to stay competitive with other manufacturers, as well as improvements in through-ventilation. New insulation and Rubber Float body mountings, coupled with the Floating Power engine mounts, created a very quiet ride. A few of the notable options offered that year included a right-hand wiper, right-hand tail lamp, chrome running board, and fender skirts. Also notable was further integration of one-piece front and rear windows, replacing the more traditional two-piece designs.
In addition to a long list of options, there were many body styles to choose from - ten in total. In addition to the previously mentioned "trunkless" vs "trunk" sedans, also offered were multiple convertibles (convertible sedan and convertible coupe) and coupes with or without a rumble seat.
Engine: 228 c.i. 6 cylinder, 93 hp standard, 100 hp w/optional head
Wheelbase: 116 inches (standard), 133 (7+ passenger cars)
Serial Number Start: 5517301
Serial Number End: 5597700
4-Door Fastback Sedans Produced: 2,265
4-Door Touring Sedans Produced: 51,889
4-Door 7-Passenger Sedans Produced: 695
4-Door 7-Passenger Sedan-Limousines Produced: 71
2-Door Fastback Broughams Produced: 1,200
2-Door Touring Broughams Produced: 11,660
2-Door Business Coupes with Rear Luggage Rack Produced: 11,050
2-Door Coupes with Rumble Seat Produced: 1,030
Convertible Sedans Produced: 426
Convertible Coupes Produced: 992
Source: The Plymouth and DeSoto Story by Don Butler