Dating back to 1928, the DeSoto marque was a division of the Chrysler Corporation. Following the brand’s launch, DeSoto had a solid few decades’ worth of sales (with over two million vehicles produced), but Chrysler shifted strategy in 1961 and phased DeSoto out of existence. A few standout vehicles are still out on the roads from the tail end of DeSoto’s lifespan. Here is one of them:
The Pick of the Day is a 1959 DeSoto Firesweep two-door hardtop listed for sale on ClassicCars.com by a private seller in Kingsport, Tennessee. (Click the link to view the listing)
“1959 DeSoto Firesweep Sportsman show car,” the listing begins. “Mild custom. It’s lowered on nostalgic Astro Supremes with both custom paint and interior for the light custom look in 2006.”
The body lines of the Firesweep conveyed a classic 1950s silhouette, complete with sky-high tailfins and plenty of chrome brightwork. The Firesweep’s lifespan was short-lived, however, starting in 1957 and lasting only until 1959. During that window of time, the car served as an entry-level model that rode on a Dodge chassis and shared design language with the Coronet. Even though it was low on the model hierarchy, the Firesweep came well-equipped for its time with power steering and power brakes.
This 1959 Firesweep went through the restoration in 2006 and received custom treatment including neon lighting in the grille. Seating is available for six on the interior, and the front seat has a unique swivel arrangement for easy ingress and egress. The interior upgraded with gray tweed upholstery, a SunPro tachometer, an upholstered dash, and a modern Pioneer audio system.
Under the hood, power comes from a Mopar Performance 361cid V8 – the largest of three engines that could be ordered for the Firesweep over its model lifespan. The two smaller options were a 325cid V8 and a 350cid V8. A TorqueFlite push-button automatic transmission sends power to the pavement.
One interesting bit of trivia: for 1959, Firesweep models only carried “DeSoto” badging with nothing referencing the model name. Perhaps the writing was already on the wall by then about the DeSoto brand being phased out, since it would only last for two more years.
Now that DeSoto has been gone for over sixty years, finding a nice one is getting tougher, so this example could be a suitable addition to a collector’s garage. “An exceptionally fun car,” the seller states. “Have seen only three in 25 years. Looks great, drives great!”
The seller is asking $34,900 for this Firesweep from the end of the DeSoto era.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.
We think of the first Malaise era as the early 1970’s when cars started to look like crap.
That was actually Malaise 2.0 with the late 1950’s being Version 1. This DeSoto could
scarcely be uglier. We had a 1957 Chrysler Imperial for a very short time ( We won it in a raffle
in High School 1970’s). It was the biggest piece of crap ever in the universe, except for the
Hemi engine which was sought after by hot rodders.
A journalist coined the term to reflect government intrusion and automakers’ inability to get over the hump of emissions. As such, no part of the 1950s qualifies.
That being said, 1957 Chrysler products initiated the brand’s poor build reputation. This is one reason why the company save Imperial (note that it’s not a Chrysler in those years) went with monocoque builds.
I myself don’t find the 1959 DeSoto offensive in the least. It’s a typical Exner facelift and only pales in comparison to its 1957-58 versions.
How funny. I actually find this Desoto (and most of the other Mopars in this era) drop-dead gorgeous. Putting this in perspective…I also find the ’62 Dart beautiful – in a weird, nostalgic, ugly duckling kinda way. But, hey! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And being an owner of a ’64 Polara and ’66 300, I’m clearly biased.
Many of these came with of bunch of crazed dogs in the trunk.