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New DeSoto owner and new Club member
I purchased a 1941 De Soto Custom on June 30th. I have four other vintage cars; 31 Model A, 54 Chrysler Windsor Deluxe, 73 Mustang Conv, and a 79 El Camino SS. In very quick order I've come to appreciate the design beauty of the De Soto. Obviously I'm eclectic when it comes to vintage cars (my wife has other words for it, but that's not for this forum!)
The De Soto has been in Syracuse, NY for the last 17 years and belonged to a elderly gentlemen who restored the exterior paint, interior, and the engine compartment. He did a very nice job. The car came to him from San Diego. He shared a story about the hood ornament (Godess) with me - when his seven year old grand daughter first laid eyes on the car she looked over the car and with particular attention to the Godess she commented "My grandpa, what big elbows she has!) I think I'm naming this car ELBOWS!
I'm hoping to track the history of this car so if anyone can help me find more information, please reply. The VIN is S818789.
Looking forward to many miles of enjoyment.
Welcome to the club! That is a great looking 1941 Coupe! I'd love to hear more about it- like what transmission is in it, what radio and what heater.
I was a bit surprised by the serial number you quoted. Then a thought occurred to me- you may have the same condition I had when I bought my 1952 DeSoto Firedome. My car had originally been registered in the State of Oregon by the engine number, not the vehicle serial number. I owned the car for 35 years before I noticed it!
Prior to 1955 when laws were passed mandating vehicle brand and model year on serial numbers (and requiring states to only register by serial numbers), this was a common practice, particularly on the west coast.
The number you quote matches the format for an engine number for a 1941 DeSoto. The "S8" is the series code; S= DeSoto, 8= 8th series since S1 in 1935. The remaining number is the sequential engine number. I'm guessing that if you check the left side of the engine block you will find a flat surface with that number stamped on it. I'm going farther out on a limb and suggesting that if you check the right door post (hinge-side)you will find the vehicle serial number on a dedicated plate riveted to the door post. It should be in a format like "57XXXXX" where the X's are a sequential number between 20401 and 70981. The 57 identifies a "Custom" series car made at the DeSoto plant on Wyoming avenue in Detroit. The remaining number would be the sequential build number the beginning and end of which bracket the 1941 series cars.
Please post what you find, as I am curious.
Owner of a 1952 Desoto Firedome
Thanks for the information, as Gene Winfield (60's hod rod and custom car guy from Calif) says, "Every day's a school day!"
My car came from California to New York. I think your explanation of the serial/engine number confusion is right on. I checked the prior owners NY registration and it did use the engine number. Per your instructions I located the door pillar plate and the serial (VIN) is actually 57-29694. NY has been using the engine number all along. I don't know if I should try to correct this. It's likely to cause more pain that its worth.
The '41 has the FluidDrive transmission. It's a real departure from my '31 Model A Tudor. No double clutching this one. It's smooth and very easy to use.
I don't know how to identify the radio and heater box by type other than a brief description. The AM radio is mounted mid dash with six vertical push buttons and two rotary knobs. The station identifier plate and needle are to the left of the push buttons. The two rotary knobs are below the vertical stacked push buttons. The entire assembly is about 2.5 inches wide and about 7 inches high. I'm getting static only when I turn it on so more investigation and testing will be required.
The heater box is mounted under the dash on the passenger outside kick panel. It has a defrost and heat door on it. The inside windshield garnish is split like a hotdog bun along the bottom edge which must provide a channel for the heat to the windshield glass. I haven't spent much time looking at this feature yet and obviously have lot's to learn. I'm expecting this heater to work fine as all other details on the car have been in excellent operational status.
Thanks for the tips.
You may want to check with the state of New York on your serial number. Here in Michigan it is illegal to title on anything other than the serial number, and so I retitled and re-registered my 1952.
It would be interesting to many in the club to see a photograph or two of your dashboard and engine compartment.
It sounds like your car still has the original "simplimatic" vacuum shift transmission. An underhood shot might confirm some of the electric controls that system used. Many of those were replaced with the later hydraulic shift controls.
Owner of a 1952 Desoto Firedome
hey Duane, great 41 Desoto. It looks so good in black! You got a great car. Everyone gets confused about this, but when someone asks you what trans. is in the car, the correct answer would be the Semi-automatic or the Vacumatic, I think. The term Fluid Drive refers to the clutch with a fluid connection. But everyone calls it Fluid Drive, but then they are the same people who say it's a three speed trans. It's a four speed actually. The reason I say that is an owner of a 41 Dodge could also say he has the Fluid Drive trans and you would think you both have the same transmission when his trans. would be a three speed manual! I own a 48 DeSoto business coupe and used to be the President of the San Diego DeSoto Club. I wish I had found your 41 before you did! I also hosted the 1988 National DeSoto Club convention in Carlsbad, CA. Hope to see you in San Diego later this month. Marc Capralis
Hopefully you will see this note, I have a few questions about your car. Would you be willing to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can talk?
1941 DeSoto Deluxe 2 Door Sedan
It's Delightful, It's DeLovely, It's DeSoto!