Brand Loyalty

31-DeSoto “Come on, there must be a Ford guy out there somewhere,” the auctioneer announced sharply as bidding stalled at $3,500 for a beautifully restored Model T.

Years ago we traveled nearly 250 miles to attend an auction of two private collectors who, before their deaths, amassed a collection of DeSoto automobiles that included at least one example of every year they were manufactured (1928-1961). Chris and Connie Binder of Spencer, IA, had quietly built their collection of DeSoto cars. They faithfully restored many, and routinely serviced all of them. The Binders shared the knowledge of their collection with only a few of their closest friends and fellow enthusiasts over the years, choosing to enjoy their passion for the make mostly with each other.

After Chris passed away in 1994, Connie held onto their beloved DeSoto collection, perhaps to keep the memory of her departed husband alive, or simply to continue their shared passion alone. In 2006, Connie joined her husband, but not before clarifying that her last wishes were to keep the collection together if possible, or auctioned off with the proceeds benefiting their church.

I have to admit, I have a soft spot for the brand as well, after purchasing my first DeSoto with my wife only two weeks after we married. The words of my in-laws still rattle through my head some 35-plus years later, “You kids can’t afford that! You’ll just end up having to sell it…” Many cars have come and gone over the years, but our ’31 DeSoto Model SA remains. Perhaps it symbolizes our resolve, or maybe we share some of the same passion that fueled Chris and Connie for so many years.

The long walk from where we parked our truck to the auction location revealed license plates from nearly every state as well as Canada; a fitting testament to just how strong the pull of brand loyalty can be. The late October morning air was crisp as the sun slowly rose over the parking lot, revealing the broad collection of DeSotos.

As we methodically worked our way through the rows of cars, stopping at each for a photograph, it soon became apparent we were not alone. In fact, fellow enthusiasts who shared our interest for this forgotten marque surrounded us. As stories and insights were shared, I couldn’t help but think of how proud Chris and Connie would have been, knowing they had brought so many enthusiasts together. Many had traveled hundreds of miles with no intentions of buying, but rather for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view the Binder’s impressive collection and, for a moment, share in their life’s passion.

Whether you’re a Ford, Chevy, or Mopar guy or gal, take the time to share your passion with fellow enthusiasts at local car shows, swap meets, cruise nights, and on your Club website (classiccarrestorationclub.com). You’ll likely find the experience just as rewarding as any night in the garage. Despite our differences in brand loyalty, we’re all car guys.

Discussion
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24 Responses to “Brand Loyalty”
  1. Dennis Burdue

    Learning to like Dodges from my father, my first car in high school had to be one. I still have that 1967 Dodge Coronet 500 that I bought in the summer of 1969. Original paint and interior yet. It is now joined by 9 others.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Jim. If I recall correctly the final hammer price on the Model T came in at $5,800.

      The car was well restored and I thought to myself at the time “you couldn’t hardly restore the car for that money”.

      Reply
  2. Troy McCutcheon

    My Great Grandma had a 54 DeSoto Firedome with the he hi and sat up on blocks since 1974. Car had 24000 miles on it. Unfortunately it was sold at her estate auction. My father tracts the car and knows who has it today. I want to buy it when the owner is ready to sell. Have to wait and see.

    Reply
  3. Ron Ayers JR

    I once had a 54 Dodge Royal Convertible and a 56 DeSoto Fireflie Convertible that were Indy 500 Pace Car replicas. That was a LONG time ago. I have had several 69 Camaro Pace cars and one 79 Mustang Indy Pace car. After the big hit that the 78 Corvette Indy Pace cars were such a big hit, I ordered one of the 79 Mustang Indy Pace cars from a dealer in North Carolina. I ordered it with the 302 V8 and factory Air Conditioning. When the car came in, it did not have the factory air. I was never so happy and I did not take it.

    Reply
  4. GORD

    I was once fiercely loyal to Mopar muscle cars. It started in the 80’s as I didn’t want to be one more of those Camaro owners. I now enjoy all old cars but much prefer those modified to go fast not restorations. I got into the hobby to go fast not to relive the good old days. Was recently separated from my muscle car that I had owned from 1988.

    Reply
  5. THOMAS

    I like variety
    1 Rambler, 2 Chevys, 1 Ford, 1 Imperial. Modern cars are Caddy & Dodge truck. I am loyal to all these makes any just plain like classic cars and appreciate each one for its own styling and features.

    Reply
  6. William

    My mom’s Dad was a Ford Dealer,my Dad was his head of service, both past within a year of each other (way too young) my Mom is still living, still has a Ford, My sister drives a Ford. I have three Fords. Just couldn’t look at anything else.

    Reply
  7. john rowell

    A shame to see a nice lot of collector cars just get spread to the 4 winds . The same thing has & will happen again unless family involvement is there from the cradle up.

    Reply
  8. harry

    i am a studebaker nut have 3 1953 starlite coupe have had it 28yrs a 60 champ p/u a1963champ 3/4ton all wiht chev.engines and tran all are drivers drove the 1960 today its 121deg. here today
    all done cars and trucks all with chev

    Reply
  9. matt little

    I have seen the tide turn on beautifully restored Model A’s and T’s. Seems like there is always a market for them but the days of getting high teens or even 20’s have come and gone. Most of the great cars are being turned over to street rods so seller be warned if you don’t want your ride chopped up make sure its going to a collector and not a classic car guy who’s going to convert it to a street rod! We have sold many classic A’s and T’s at http://www.americanclassicsandhotrods.com and till try to make the right car go in the right garage.

    Reply
  10. Richard J

    That was a great auction. I thought most of the cars went too cheap. Too bad the town turned them down on the offer to donate the collection to it. There was also a ’34 Dodge PU that was really sweet.

    Reply
  11. Richard J

    That was a great auction. I thought most of the cars went too cheap. Too bad the town turned them down on the offer to donate the collection to it.

    Reply
  12. Lou Helbling

    I started off in the hobby admiring all American muscle cars from the big 3 + AMC. I was an admirer of the inherent beauty behind the 60’s and 70’s muscle machines. When I bought my first muscle car in August 1986, a 1971 Plymouth Roadrunner, I discovered, bit by bit, loyalty to the brand for the first time ever. Still love all muscle cars. Still have the car……and yes, we’re all car guys.

    Reply
  13. Peter

    I was watching the “Pickers” cable TV show and they were picking in an overstuffed garage and I caught a glimpse of a DeSoto pickup in the background. It wasn’t on camera for more than a flash. Did I see it right? Never knew they made a pickup. If I had to guess I would sy it was a late 30’s early 40’s. Any information on this?

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello Peter,

      The DeSoto Truck is certainly a real thing.

      Years ago some countries required unique brands on imports, and sometimes it’s done so there can be no direct comparison between U.S. models and exports for any number of reasons.

      The DeSoto Truck was a rebranded Dodge and became first available in 1937. Dodge trucks were also rebranded as Fargo Trucks for export to Canada.
      DeSoto trucks continued to be made into the seventies and were chiefly exported to Australia, Argentina, Spain, Turkey and the U.K.

      It is reasonable to believe some of those DeSoto trucks found their way to the U.S.
      It’s always fun to see some of those export cars and trucks show up at car shows and many enthusiasts have to give them a double take.

      Wrench Safe,
      Mark CCRC Video Membership

      Reply
  14. zjsagurs

    My Aunt and Uncle were Packard Car fans, and used to hold a Car Show on their Farm in Delaware. I had only heard about the 1921Packard from my Mother and other Family Members.
    It was while visiting another set of close Family Members, when my Uncle Charlie called me to ask if I was interested in going to a car show with him the following weekend. I was a fan of the old cars by this time, and jumped at the opportunity to go along. I stayed the night with him and my Aunt, and the next morning his Son came over to help him take the 1921 Packard off the car jacks. It was normally kept on the jacks to take pressure off the original wooden spoked wheels. After a bit of fettling, they attached the hand crank, and after a few swings, the Packard came alive. This was the most exciting time of my life, as we drove down the highway to the show with the throttle fully open at 55mph. What a ride…..in a 1921 Packard ….oh, did i tell you; it was a convertible. We were met with many thumbs up coming from more modern cars who over took us, and finally arrived at the show. My Uncle Charlie was well known in this circle, and we were met with a load of, “hey Charlie, great to see you out in the Packard” comments. My Uncle introduced me to so many people, I couldn’t remember their names, but boy; what a day of fun I had. I’ll never forget that day, my Uncle Charlie, or the 1921 Packard.

    Reply