Adventure In Style: 1961 Desoto Adventurer

Hernando De Soto never went out on an adventure in anything nearly as stylish as this 1961 Desoto Adventurer. Equipped with large fins, an interesting yet intimidating front end, and 2 doors, this car is an adventure all of its own to look at. After sitting for 23 years, the seller has come to the realization that he has too many cars, and that this one needs to go. Stylish, rare, and the last year for the Desoto name, this extraordinary classic is offered for $47,000. Find it here on craigslist out of Yelm, Washington.

Described as “probably the best example left in the world” I would have to say this survivor looks the part. The interior is stunning, rich, and vibrant in color. A red and white plaid graces the seats, and appears unflawed.  Featuring a space age dash with an interesting gauge layout with ribbed aluminum, this Adventurer looks like it is it was ready to explore outer with Sputnik. From this up close and personal photo the paint appears oxidized, but a good detailing should fix that concern.

Shinning wonderfully through the years of dust, this Desoto looks like it will clean up beautifully. There are no pictures of the 361 cubic inch V8, but I imagine that as clean as this car is, that the engine bay is in decent condition as well.  What I truly appreciate about this car other than its styling, is its wonderful condition. Look at the taillight and reverse light lenses. They are clear, and not cracked, which seems like a miracle. The chrome is radiant with a mirror like finish, and the trim is complete and in place. It is a bit bold to say that this is probably the best example left in the world, but from what can be seen, it is not that farfetched of a comment. Rare, and stylish, this last year model Adventurer was a great way to draw the Desoto brand to a close. When is the last time you saw a ’61 Adventurer coupe?


  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    I absolutely love this car, it’s a tour-de-force of late-50s styling. The price does seem a bit ambitious. And, at that asking price, personally I’d polish the car up and put all the hubcaps on, and include photos of the underside, trunk, headliner, back seat etc.

    Like 1
  2. Joe Haska

    Rex, I couldn’t agree more, what a great car As little as 10 or 15 years ago, I probably couldn’t imagine myself saying that. Like you said, clean polish it, that is after you buy it, and all that’s left is do drive it, and I know I could do that, and do it well!

  3. Chuck

    Cool car, but not $47,000 cool !

    • G 1

      Yah, about as cool as a $55,000 67 Camaro.

  4. That Guy

    This seems like an ideal candidate for the high-buck detailing treatment, followed by a trip to B-J. Craigslist won’t get the big bucks, but that route very well could. What a fabulous and scarce car.

  5. boxdin

    Get that dirty air cleaner off of the seat.

  6. nessy

    Last year for the DeSoto. Great looking rare car.. Wait a minute? What? Almost 50 grand for this bomb? Just think about what you could buy for 50 thousand dollars! The seller is a total and complete dreamer. It will never happen, not even all cleaned up and under the auction lights. Where do some people come up with these figures? Hey seller, you are nuts.

  7. Howard A Member

    I agree, as well. I love it. It’s outrageous. As if they threw everything they had in a last ditch effort. I think the DeSoto was doomed anyway, just too many cars to choose from in ’61. While I can’t comment on the price, this much I do know, it’s one rare car. For years, I never even knew they MADE a ’61 DeSoto. (The old man had a ’59) Please, someone put this in a museum as the last gasp of a great marque. What a car, beautiful! ( just wish it wasn’t black, for heavens sake, so many nice colors,,,,blllllack)

    • Howard A Member

      I mean, c’mon, doesn’t this look better than BLLLLLack. Sorry, just so sick of black cars today, as if there’s no imagination anymore.

      • G.P. Member

        I do like that color better, and that looks like one sharp auto.

    • Ed P

      Chrysler had been pricing the low level Chryslers below Desoto. It was as if they wanted to kill the brand.

  8. JW454

    As I said before…. Anything with audacious tail fins has my interest. I don’t know the market but the price does seem high.

  9. Eli

    Nice car. Ridiculous price!

  10. JACKinNWPA Jack NW PA Member

    Nice car, too much $ yet I like how the name has meaning, today it would be called a ” Fiatosoto A2B TF5240X 1662ZRL T “

  11. Kevin Wernick

    61 Chrysler with it’s own dash and grille. A little on the pricey side, although it is quite rare.

    • C.R. Krieger

      Dodge dash.

  12. David Zornig

    There were only 911 `61 2 door DeSoto hardtop’s built.
    I’ve only seen one in person, last Summer.

  13. David Zornig

    BTW, I’m told DeSoto dropped all model names for `61.
    So that technically is not an Adventurer.

    • jsn

      Absolutely correct, David. DeSoto had no model names for the final year of production.

  14. Jim Mc

    If it was good enough for Roy, it’s good enough for me (but to be fair, he’s pic’d in a convertible).

  15. C.R. Krieger

    I owned one. Blue over white with a blue/light blue/white interior, and a friend had an all white one with a black/gray/white interior. Both 2-door hardtops. I looked for those damn backup lamp lenses for ten years until I sold the car in the early 1980s. NOW, you can find them.

    There were no Adventurers in the ’61 model year. No Firesweeps or Firedomes, either. They were all just ‘DeSotos’. The picture is a model I built of the car I had.

    Like 2
    • That Guy

      Wow, that’s a beautiful model. I didn’t even notice it was a model until I read your accompanying post, then looked at the photo more closely.

  16. Burger

    This really is a nice car. My brother and I pulled it out of a basement 30+ years ago. It was a creampuff survivor. I painted it black (originally a white car). My brother sold the car to a 61 DeSoto collector, who is selling it now.

    Just for fun intel, the seller we got the car from had a pair of 2 door hardtops. The other was turquoise, with a white roof and was a bare bones stripper, but equally as nice condition. This car, on the other hand, is loaded. The owner would only sell one, so I was unable to buy the second car.

  17. mario

    too much money hes asking over double from hagertys evaluation guide

    1961 DeSoto Adventurer
    2dr Hardtop Coupe 8-cyl. 361cid/265hp 2bbl edit

    $21,900 Avg. Value*

  18. George

    Is the seller insame. I am always impressed when the aircleaner appears in the front seat of a car with a price near $50K which is more than a large % of the peoples’ net worth (excluding the value of their house). A opening glance of picture 1, sans hub caps coupled with dull finish would suggest a tag of $7K. Reading up bring it to about $14K in my book. I don’t see even a restored DeSoto bringing that kind of money unless the market has reached the epitome of craziness. Does anyone agree with me? I want feed back from those who will address the question rather than negatively respond just because I asked it. I was kind of stunned by the personal inroads by some who did not approve past postings–which I have read and found them not to be offe se=ive, but regardless will reluctantly tone down-down my rhetoric in my candid posts of my opinions and in my candid assessments of criticisms thereto so as to hopefully not offend. I have always been a straight-talker feeling it better for the receipient to know what I actually think rather than draw implications which rarely hit anywhere near the mark. I don’t feel that my disagreements with statements of others carry the inference that they could only think that way if running at low wattage or candle power, but iany feel that my remarks about yours or any other post carries that inference, I apolgize as such was not my intent. As I have said, the nly reason I post is because want to share my experiences and opinion. I use writing as a cathartic break from my otherwise difficult work of performing as a competent, and as an outlet for my somewhat jaded sense of humor which I inject hoping it prduces some levity to the readers. Most of the people I meet remark that they find me humorous. Not all agree. When I first started as Asistant Attorney General for Oregon right out of law school @ 30 my parents drove up from Medford. When I introduced the Senior Counsel (the boss or the division I was in) he, enthusastically shook my Dad’s hand stating “George is the funniest guy I know!” The looks on my parent’s faces was one of shock suggesting they had no idea. One of them even uttered an incredulous “George?”
    I have never held myself out as being an expert on any automobile or product. I just know what I like–big American cars. I do look at and read the info on the majority of the other cars listed and may find them cute, interesting, etc. but I know I will never buy it, so I rarely post on those. Thank you.

    • Howard A Member

      Great post, George. Thanks for chiming in.

    • Eric 10Cars

      George, say what you feel. As long as you’re not personally insulting people, being vulgar, or making inappropriate political commentary, I believe we should all have the freedom to speak openly about our opinions on auto topics. People make a big deal about the ‘thumbs’. Personally, I could care less what thumbs appear for my comments. As far as I’m concerned, have at it. If one can’t take the time to make an intelligent counter argument or for that matter any argument at all, their yea or nay thumb carries no weight.

      For example, this last Desoto and the owner’s ad should produce a variety of opinions. Mine is that the 60 and 61 Chryslers were far better looking despite being the exact same body. Desoto was caught in a bad price point, but so was Olds and Mercury and they survived. The Desoto designs failed to motivate buyers. This particular vehicle, cleaned up, and a 2 door hardtop, last of the line, is a $25K-$35K vehicle at auction with the right crowd. The owner is delusional at the $50K level.

    • Woodie Man

      George…dont take this the wrong way.but are YOU insane?

  19. Rustytech Member

    I’ve always thought these were the ugliest Desoto’s ever built. My favorite was the 1957. That said this is a very rare car, and is in good condition, but definitely not $47k worth, 22 to 25 maybe.

  20. Wayne

    And people say the Edsel grille was ugly.

  21. Jeffro

    Love the fins. Steering wheel/dash is awesome. Love the styling.

  22. slimwhitman

    Please do some research before posting the article (or correct the article when we let you know your wrong). As mentioned above, “Adventurer” was not a model in ’61. Your inaccurate writing lives on, confusing young car researchers and creates “alternative facts” in the future. :(

  23. Kevin Wernick

    Speaker grille and RH armrest appear to be missing

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