Barn Found Vintage Mopar: 1947 DeSoto

1947 DeSoto

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Deep in the heart of central Illinois lies the town of Mt. Pulaski, and a quick glance at the map suggests that is the current home of this 1947 DeSoto sedan. It’s advertised for sale here on craigslist, and the asking price is just $1,000.

1947 DeSoto Project

To me, this looks like a great car to tinker around with. First comes the weekend startup party, with one or more guests invited over for BBQ and drinks. Then comes the test drive, to see if there’s a good clutch still to be found here. After that, it would be time to find some tires and portawalls, and then maybe work on the brakes.

1947 DeSoto Sedan

Are the original hub caps in the trunk? We’ll never know until somebody looks. Trunk archaeology is always a good time with an older car like this.

1947 DeSoto Engine

What would it take to get it running? Finding out is half the fun, because the seller’s ad basically tells us nothing. But at least the photos are up to DIY Craigslist industry standards.

1947 DeSoto Grille

So what do you think? Does this vintage Mopar look like something you’d like to tinker around with?

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  1. DAN

    the “happy days” dads car

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  2. DAN


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  3. Rick

    Boy good luck with that one. Back in ’04 I bought a ’51 DeSoto, black in color and really clean rust free super clean California car, with black plates, it had sat for 15 yrs and needed brakes too. Anyhow was way too much $$$ to make it economically feasible to get it running, so I had to get rid of it, think I got my money back out ot it (lucky I didn’t put much in)

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  4. Dave Wright

    What could be so expensive? These had probably the most durable engine made at the time. Parts are reasonable and easy to come by. Some of the semi automatic transmissions can be a challenge to repair economically but many also had manuals. I have seen many garages tell people that cars will be to expensive to repair simply because they didn’t want to work on them but there is little about this car that anyone with a few tools and some ambition couldn’t repair.

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  5. RON

    Would love to have it and the 55 olds in front o it as a bonus!!!!

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    My Father bought a new1953 Firedome 4dr sedan that was tu-tone blue and had the Hemi V8. There was big and then there was Desoto big, 4,000 pounds of chrome and steel and my Dad loved every bit of it. He said winding that monster up was about as good as it gets. I see that Desoto grill and it makes me smile, just like it did my Dad.

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  7. David Montanbeau

    Here is a famous 47 DeSoto that was used to shuttle stars from our town in Jamestown CA and its Foothills to LA. This car has over 1 million miles and still going strong in our area.

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  8. David Montanbeau

    Some of the stars that have ridden in the 47 DeSoto

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  9. Alan Brase

    My first choice would be the 55 Olds ahead of it. I washed my dad’s a few times, would remember it from the smallest detail.
    WRT the 47 Desoto:
    Not at all expensive to repair/ get driving. Perhaps $1500-2000 parts would do it, depending on tires.
    How hard is to put on brake hoses and wheel cylinders? Clean the tank, pump, carb? Buy a battery, file the points? buy gasoline, pour it in?
    Enjoy? Well, then begin the cosmetics.

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  10. speedo

    You are in luck! The Olds is also listed here:

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  11. Ken NelsonMember

    The Olds, the Olds – only way to go. When I was a kid my best friend’s dad bought a new ’55 Olds Rocket 88 & I was SO jealous because my dad got a ’55 Chrysler Windsor Deluxe with Tuna tail fins that didn’t look half as classy as the taillights on that Olds. The Chrysler just didn’t have that space-age appeal that Olds and Caddies did during that Sputnik period. Burt Reynolds did one of his movies in that Olds, but no one did that sort of stuff in a Chrysler! But in spite of my disdain for the Xlr, it served us well, taking us 110K miles without much trouble & was smooth & quiet on long trips, and we took a lot of those all over the west & Canada.

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  12. Alan Brase

    The million mile Desoto is amazing. I had no idea they would go that far. How many overhauls/ rebores? I know those flat 6’s found homes in a lot of industrial equipment and military vehicles.
    But, to hijack the topic- 1955 Olds. My dad bought a 4 year old used one in 1959. I was 10. The car I learned to change tires on, first 4 barrel I ever rebuilt at age 17.
    Dad gave it to me at age 20 when I needed a work car and my 1960 Corvette was apart.
    I sold it a couple years later and probably about 1974 I saw it speeding down the street and chirping the tires hitting 2nd gear. It musta had 160k miles on it then.
    This was a time when most did not make it to 100k miles.

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  13. Danny

    Beautiful cars

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  14. Loco Mikado

    The DeSoto was a favorite of taxi companies and drivers. The was one company in California that all they had were DeSotos .

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  15. Steve

    Love all the chrome on the front grille, which has a resemblance to Buicks of the time of course. In fact my dad used to say the DeSoto was the poor man’s Buick. Within the Chrysler line of cars, DeSotos were definitely upscale from Plymouth and Dodge, so apparently fhere was some truth to what he was saying.

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