The 1955 model year was an exciting one for DeSoto, with all-new Forward Look styling and two muscular hemi V8 engines. Here’s Groucho’s sidekick George Fenneman with the sales pitch.
DeSoto for 1955 featured two model lines: the junior Firedome and the senior Fireflite, and both shared their body shell, 126-inch wheelbase, and all-new Forward Look styling with the corporation’s handsome, top-of-the-line Chrysler. The result was a fairly respectable year for the DeSoto brand with more than 115,000 units sold.
Noteworthy DeSoto selling features that year included a choice of two 291 CID Hemi V8s: the Firedome with two-barrel carb and 185 hp, and the 200-hp Fireflite with Carter WCFB four-barrel. The PowerFlite two-speed automatic transmission, an extra-cost option at $189, featured a Flite Control gear lever mounted directly in the instrument panel. Mopar’s familiar pushbutton shifter would not appear until the following year.
All these features and more are pitched in this original 1955 commercial spot by George Fenneman, announcer and straight man for the beloved Groucho Marx, who of course served as DeSoto’s TV spokesman all through the 1950s. Here’s George.