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1953 Chrysler De Soto Survivor


Here’s a nice old DeSoto that’s listed on craigslist in El Paso, Texas for a seemingly reasonable $5,800. It’s been in storage since 1974 and appears to be original and is also reported to be rust-free. The underside does look pretty good!

The owner hasn’t tried to start it or done any mechanical work on it yet. This appears to be a car you could do the work necessary and just drive it. I’d love to get this running and drive it home to Sacramento on the two lane  back roads. I grew up in El Paso and know all the great roads, like 60 through the Salt River Canyon going to Phoenix. The roads are pretty much empty. It would be like going back to the fifties!


  1. Cassidy

    I find it very curious that so many of these flippers haven’t tried to start the car. Are we to believe they had it towed to their home and that was the last thing they did with it? At least he did wash it and thankfully no photos of it on a trailer, but doesn’t it make sense if this guy was able to find this car, isn’t he a car nut of some order? Trying to start the car just seems logical. That battery is sure pretty clean for a car that’s been stored for 35 years; the batteries in my current “fleet” could sure learn something from this battery as they can’t go very long at all before the terminals need some help.

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  2. Chebby

    Love that shade of green.

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  3. Fred

    40 years is a long time for an engine to sit. If it happened to be properly stored with Marvel Mystery oil poured in the cylinders back then, maybe it will be an easy fix. Otherwise, will probably be seized. A real shame.

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  4. joeinthousandoaks

    The fact that there is a somewhat fresh battery in it and the radiator removed tells me they attempted to get this running and realized the engine was seized and would not start easily. This is a unusual bod duly as most DeSotos were either hard tops or sedans. I really like this one.

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  5. Mark S

    Before I’d give up on that engine I’d try pulling the plugs filling the cylinders with diesel let soak for a week or so. After soaking I’d try turning the engine with a socket and breaker bar. If there frozen in rust eventually the engine should free up, and even run. As for the car nice looking clean car, but After spending time messing around with doors and door seals on my hard top dodge I half wise it was a coupe with (B) pillars.

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  6. Bruno M

    That shade of green is just gorgeous!

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  7. Brad

    Never enough chrome on these for my taste, compared to the side view of the Chrysler version with its long, 3-dimensional spears (which in ’53 wrapped all the way around the nose and down the other side). Nice to see its big toothy grin is intact, though – seems most have been removed to use in lowrider / kustom projects.

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  8. Ed P

    Nice solid body. My big concern is the engine. Why did they clean up the car so well and not try to turn the engine?

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  9. Tundra/BMW Guy

    Is that little orange thing in the engine compartment supposed to actually move this behemoth of a dinosaur? Like with what, a tow strap on the front, some big guys on the back pushing? I got it, only drive down hill!!!! That’s the answer. So with that being said, I’d be hoping it’s locked up tight, easily justified real engine swap!! The rest of the car is beautiful but I’m with Brad on the more chrome needed idea. (even though on my personal vehicles, not collector cars, I do everything in my power to rid them of their plastic chrome)

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  10. Eric

    I own the car and just so you know, I ended up doing an engine rebuild. The engine not having been turned on for 40 years was just too much. I might end up keeping this car afterall. Cars in this condition are hard to come by.

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