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From 1928 until the 1961 model year, the DeSoto subsidiary of Chrysler Corporation produced and sold American automobiles under the DeSoto nameplate. Throughout its lifetime, the DeSoto brand was used on more than two million vehicles and trucks sold in North American markets.


The de Soto Motor Car Company was founded in Auburn, Indiana, in November 1912 by L.M. Field, Hayes Fry, and Glenn Fry of Iowa City, Iowa; V.H. Van Sickle, and H.J. Clark of Des Moines, Iowa. The Zimmerman Manufacturing Company of Auburn had previously operated from 1908 until 1915 at 440 North Indiana Avenue. In Auburn, Indiana, the Zimmerman Manufacturing Company was established in 1886 as a horse-buggy manufacturer. It started making high wheel vehicles in 1908 and light high wheel trucks in 1912–1916 before switching to normal cars and trucks about the time the Auburn Automobile Company purchased it. The 1910 Zimmerman Z-35 was advertised at $650 to $1,500 ($18,903 to $43,623 in 2021 dollars).

With just US$20,000 (about $548,350 in 2021 currency), the de Soto Company launched and created two models. The de Soto Six, a Zimmerman replica, was sold for US$2,185 ($59,907 in 2021 currency), making it more costly than the Zimmerman it was based on. It provided compressed air engine starters and electric lighting as optional extras, along with a $100 credit ($2,742 in 2021 values) if the purchaser protested. The two-cylinder cyclecar, which was added to the De Soto Six in 1914, could only fit two people riding in tandem, or the driver in front and the passenger behind. It was priced at US$385 ($10,415 in 2021 values).

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