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A Rare Delight: 1955 DeSoto Station Wagon


Thanks to reader Peter R for sending us word of this rare and unusual 1955 DeSoto station wagon. It’s located in the beautifully named town of Terrebonne, Oregon and is for sale on eBay, with a Buy-It-Now of what seems to be a fair asking price of $4,000.

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Bidding has only reached $1,550 with less than five days to go. It will be interesting to watch this auction unfold.

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This is a very rare car. Only 1,803 DeSoto wagons were manufactured in 1955. According to one of the commenters on eBay, this one must have been made early in the model year as it has Chrysler-appearing tail lights that later in the year were switched out to more DeSoto-appearing tail lights because of protests by DeSoto dealers.

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The seller has provided a great number of detailed photographs, indicating the condition of the car, which is overall in solid shape, but needs considerable work. This car is worth both the cost and the effort, in my opinion.

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The seller says this is an original wagon that is 95% complete. It has the factory 291 cid hemi V8 and an automatic transmission. It has been stored many years and has some extra parts that are not on the car, including glass pieces. Potential buyers will be happy to know that the wagon-specific parts appear to be all there.

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According to the seller, the rear seats fold down easily and have all their original stainless runners. The rear seat still has a plastic cover on it but the front seat bottom has been changed.

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There is some rust described, and probably a bit more – the front floors and one side of the rear floor have some rust holes but the sellers says that the rest of the floors are nice, including the spare tire well. There is rust in the rear wheel wells behind the wheels and some in the lower right rocker.

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The worst news for a restorer is that the engine is probably stuck, so a rebuild will be in order, and that probably extends to the brakes, and many other operating systems in this car. The rear differential is not original, it comes from a 1955 Chrysler, which means that the rear wheel bolt pattern is not standard to DeSotos. A picky restorer might want to source a DeSoto rear axle.

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Overall, this is a great basis for doing a full restoration. It’s a fifties station wagon, and a truly rare example, and doubtless will find a buyer to take it to the next level.


If you want to see what one of these cars can look like in restored condition (which apparently was owned by Dan Ackroyd), you can find it on Hemmings, where it was for sale in 2014. Hopefully someone will restore this rough example to the same level as the one above, it sure is a great looking car!


  1. Rick

    Must have been absolutely stunning as a new car in the fall of ’54, especially when compared to anything else (except maybe a it’s lookalike twin Chrysler) anyhow, love those psychedelic tailgate hinges, looks like they came off of an old steamer trunk, and especially like the Powerflite emblem. Bet it was a joy to drive, too.

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  2. JW454

    That metal plate that mounts the rear seat cushion at the pivot… Wow. That design wouldn’t fly today. How many kids killed their ankles on that thing. Interesting looking project.

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  3. Vince Habel

    I love the grille on the 55 De Soto. Looks good in a 49 or 50 Merc.

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    • jaygryph

      I have a 55 grill, in case you know anyone looking to buy one for their merc :)

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      • Td

        Still have the grill?

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  4. Doug M. (West Coast) Member

    Terrebonne is on the dry side of Oregon, so that is going to work well for this cool wagon!

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    Smart looking car but to much rust.

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    • DrinkinGasoline

      C’mon Steve….up here in Northeast Ohio…that’s a survivor ! I would be inclined to break out the lead and torch. Oh wait, lead is verboten,
      never mind….ssshhhh.

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  6. charlie Member

    And it was a great road car – friend’s father had one, we regularly drove up the Maine Turnpike at a steady 80 on Friday’s to go to their camp on weekends – bias tires and drum brakes and all.

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  7. stillrunners

    Not a bad rare wagon…..I sold a 56 Chry Windsor wagon – it ran with a poly 331 and moved okay and has little rust on body for $3000 about two years ago at the swap meet….the guy drove it on the trailer !

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  8. Charles

    Cool old wagon!

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  9. Wayne

    Ugly, just doesn’t describe those taillights

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  10. Bruce Fischer

    I would LOVE to Tackle project.That .Bruce.

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  11. Bruce Fischer

    I meant .I would that project. Bruce.

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  12. Bruce Fischer

    DARN!!!! I meant I would LOVE to tackle that project!!!LOL. Bruce.

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