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The DeSoto Diplomat is an automobile produced by DeSoto from 1946 to 1962 for sale in export markets other than the United States and Canada.

DeSoto Diplomat
1958 Desoto Diplomat (12403217875).jpg
1958 DeSoto Diplomat 4-Door Sedan
Also calledDeSoto Deluxe
DeSoto Powermaster
DeSoto Firesweep
Production1946 to 1962
AssemblyUnited States
South Africa
New Zealand
Body and chassis
LayoutFR layout

The export DeSoto based on the Plymouth was first introduced in 1937 and was built in Detroit. Chrysler Corporation of Canada did not start building export DeSotos until late in the 1939 model year.

In 1946, the export DeSoto became the DeSoto Diplomat. They were exported to Europe, South Africa, South America, Hawaii, New Zealand, and Australia. In 1955, Chrysler of Canada did not export any cars and all 1955 Diplomats came from Detroit. In the late 1950s, some European taxicab drivers preferred to have a Perkins P4C diesel engine in the Diplomat; these diesel engines were installed on a Belgian assembly line.

From 1938 to 1956, the export DeSoto used Plymouth bodies with a grille that looked similar to the regular DeSoto but fit the Plymouth grille opening. From 1957 to 1959, the DeSoto Diplomat used the DeSoto Firesweep front clip with Plymouth body.

The 1960 and 1961 DeSoto Diplomats were based on the full-size Dodge Dart. Although 1960 was the last year for DeSoto in Canada and 1961 for the United States and export markets, Chrysler South Africa built a number of 1962 DeSoto Diplomats based on the Dodge Dart 440 sedan.

16 years after DeSoto ended production, Chrysler would revive the Diplomat name for an M-body Dodge.

Australian productionEdit

Chrysler Australia introduced a locally produced SP24 series DeSoto Diplomat, based on the 1953 US Plymouth P24 in 1953.[1] This was followed by the SP25 series Diplomat which was based on the 1954 US Plymouth P25 Cambridge/Cranbrook,[2] and was built from 1954 to 1957.[3] The Diplomat was available in "Custom", "Regent" and "Plaza" trim. An Australian developed Coupe Utility version of the Sedan was introduced in 1956.[4] The Diplomat models were an alternative to the Plymouth Savoy and Plymouth Belvedere or the Dodge Kingsway which aside from differences in grilles and badging were essentially the same vehicle. All used the same basic body and all models combined managed to take only 5% of the Australian market in 1955.[5] The Diplomat was replaced by the Australian-built Chrysler Royal from 1957-1963, which was derived from the Australian-built P25 Plymouth platform.


  1. ^ Gavin Farmer, Great Ideas in Motion, 2010, page 17
  2. ^ Gavin Farmer, Great Ideas in Motion, 2010, pages 23-25
  3. ^ The Australian Chrysler Royal, Plainsman, and Wayfarer Retrieved from on 20 April 2010
  4. ^ Automotive oddity website Retrieved from on 20 April 2010.
  5. ^