100% Original: 1953 DeSoto Powermaster Club Coupe

The life-span of the DeSoto Powermaster Club Coupe was a mere three model years, with the car being introduced in 1952, and phased out at the end of 1954. DeSoto made this decision as it moved to make the V8 engine standard fitment across its entire range, meaning that the Powermaster no longer had a place within the company’s product line-up. Barn Finder Ikey H referred this survivor to us, so thank you so much for that. The Powermaster is located in Portland, Oregon, and is listed for sale here on Craigslist. The owner has set a sales price of $6,500 for this survivor-grade car.

The Powermaster is said to be 100% original and unmodified, but it is showing a few of the ravages of time. The original Forest Green paint is now looking quite baked and sad. The good news is that while there is a noticeable amount of surface corrosion across many parts of the vehicle, the owner says that there is no rot. The body itself looks pretty straight, although the owner does state that there is a dent on the front fender on the passenger side, and you can just see this below the headlight in the last photo. Encouragingly, all of the external trim and chrome looks to be present, although the rear bumper looks like it will require a trip to the plater. The factory tinted glass appears to be in good condition, with no sign of any major cracks or chips. It looks like a little bit of panel work and a fresh coat of paint should see the DeSoto looking quite nice once again.

The interior of the Powermaster is a bit of a mixed bag. The shopping list is going to extend to a carpet set and a headliner. The rest of the upholstered surfaces look to be quite serviceable, but it would be interesting to see how they respond to a deep clean. Some of them are a bit touch-and-go, and might be okay, but also might require replacement in the long term. The dash looks fantastic and is definitely a highlight of the interior. The cover on the dash pad is starting to come loose, but this should also be able to be repaired.

With no engine photos, what I can tell you is that hiding under the hood is a 251ci 6-cylinder engine, and this car has been equipped with the optional manual transmission with Overdrive. With a vehicle weight of just on 3,600lbs and a power figure of 116hp, the Powermaster is not a high-performance vehicle. It was these sorts of figures which were part of the motivation for DeSoto to standardize the V8 across their model range from 1955. The owner states that everything on the car works as it should and that the car runs and drives very well.

With such a short model life, the DeSoto Powermaster is simply not a car that comes onto the market that often, especially in Club Coupe form. This one appears to be an honest survivor, and the owner does say that it gets plenty of attention wherever it goes. This has the potential to be a very nice looking car with relatively little effort. For someone looking to take on a fairly straightforward project car, this looks like it might not be a bad option.


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  1. Will Fox

    Being basically a base-model 6 cyl. coupe, I can see this being given new live with a V8 of some sort, an swapping the std. shift for an automatic. I would leave all trim intact, but give it a nice modern paintjob and some nice rims/tires. Make it a ‘driveable’ mild custom you can enjoy more often. `52-`54 DeSoto grilles are a work of art in themselves, so I wouldn’t change that at all. A very solid car without bad rust to patch.

    Like 2
    • Duaney

      The big six with overdrive is a very adequate performer, would easily cruise any highway speed with good fuel economy, and respectable acceleration from the stop light. With not quite the performance of a Hudson Hornet, (which beat ALL the V-8’s in it’s day), this DeSoto wouldn’t disappoint anyone.

      Like 9
    • rallyace

      No need to put in a V-8 or an automatic. These old Mopars are a blast to drive. I have a 51 Plymouth that is stock and a fun car to drive, and by drive I mean take long trips, not just go to a cruise in or car show.

      Like 8
    • Poppapork

      So many cars of this era were butchered by a SBC/th350 plus muscle car wheels and you want to do exactly the same this 100%original example? And you want to get rid of the manual to put an auto in there?? Wtf! Just find yourself one that was already butchered by tasteless people, prolly with a flame paint job too…

      Like 12
      • Duaney

        You’ve gave me a good laugh. I kind of said the same thing, only a little more diplomatically.

        Like 2
      • Billieg

        Why don’t you tell him how you really feel?

  2. rallyace

    Still a lot of parts available for these. This is a good car at a good price. The flat head 6 is simple to work on. If I was on the west coast I would grab this in a NY minute.

    • Lance

      rallyrace is is on the west coast-Portland, Ore. if I read it right.

      Like 1
  3. Kurt

    Very nice. Keep it stock, top quality paint job, win lots of prizes!

    Like 2
  4. Jeff

    Perfect, just the way it is. Wouldn’t change a thing, except maybe the carpet and headliner.

    Like 2
  5. the one

    Killer grill..

    Like 6
  6. TimM

    Front grill and bumper are worth the asking price!! Love the desoto and mercury grills from this era!!!

    Like 3
  7. Pete Phillips

    Very unusual to find one of these with three-speed and overdrive instead of Fluid Drive. That alone should require the buyer to leave the drive train as-is. Some auto journalist wrote recently that Fluid Drive combined the worst features of standard and automatic transmissions (laughing)!

    Like 2
  8. Dave

    “As we rolled down the long and winding Interstate in a ’53 DeSota
    We’re heading for the biggest ball of twine in Minnesota.”

    Fix what needs fixed, improve the brakes, and get going!

    Like 1
  9. Speedo

    Is that a ’49 Dodge I see in the garage? Our family had a ’51 Wayfarer Business Coupe. Someone ran into it at a stop light and we couldn’t find the humongous trunk lid anywhere. So….my brother turned it into a rumble seat coupe!

    • Pete Phillips

      I believe it is a 1950 Dodge lurking in the garage.

  10. Del

    Nice. New paint and go

  11. Kingpin

    When I turned 16 my father gave me my grandfather’s ’53 Desoto. The engine was locked up so I bought another one ( flat had it scrapphead 6) from a friend who owned a junk yard. Me and a friend put it all together and got it running. It was quite a car.for me in 1968. I gotta say that the back seat was a lovers dream. Unfortunately, the torque flute gave it up and I joined the Army. My father had it scrapped. This car brings back the sweetest memories and the love lost
    I wish I wasnt on the east coast. I’d buy it. What a beautiful car!

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