Cheap Hemi: 1953 Desoto Sedan


A lot of folks these days know nothing or very little about the Desoto brand. Chrysler introduced it in 1929 to compete as a mid-priced car. Desoto held the record for first year sales until the Falcon was introduced in 1960. And, a bit more trivia, the Desoto was the first mass produced car with hidden headlights, introducing the feature in 1942 (the Cord was first, but was not mass produced). You can purchase your very own Desoto here on craigslist for only $1,500. It’s in Darrington, Washington, near Seattle. It’s been in a barn since 1969. The body looks solid in the pictures and there’s no sign of rust.


The interior doesn’t look too bad for having spent 47 years in a garage. It will need the usual refurbishment and at least two door cards.


This old Desoto would likely take a lot more of your money after you buy it but perhaps the low purchase price might help you get it past your spouse. There’s no word on the status of the mechanicals. Hopefully the Hemi engine is rebuildable. The brake and fuel systems will need a lot of work after so many years. If there’s no major rust, this might make a cool old driver. What would you do with it?


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  1. JoeR

    Does it come with the maching horse trailer sitting right next to it?

    You’ll notice the car has a trailer hitch. My guess is that both came out of the same barn.

  2. JW454

    They didn’t show any pictures of the best part… THE HEMI. Oh well, it’s probably destined to be pulled and put into some sort of junk rod anyway.

  3. geomechs geomechs Member

    This car needs a full restoration but is also worth the effort. DeSotos are no more and they deserve to be shown and driven. In regards to JoeR’s question about the trailer, I have my doubts that the car ever pulled a trailer that size but I remember back in the day when cars like this pulled one or two-horse trailers. Off to the horse show we go; put the horse(s) in the trailer and put the horse’s A$$ behind the wheel.

    A member of our car club restored a ’47 DeSoto club coupe. He ran the larger (251) motor and Fluid Drive. He was also a member of the local antique tractor club and often drove to tractor shows towing the trailer with his ’31 Rumley tractor on board…

  4. Larry K

    Love the grill.

  5. kyle skiles

    Hey that mercury grill looks good on this. ;-) alot of car for 1,500!

    • Ronny


  6. GOPAR

    I’m a restoration kind of guy, but I really like the looks of this car as it sits. If I were to buy it I would clean it up,do the necessary mechanical repairs and be proud to drive and show it. I believe it would attract plenty of attention at car shows in its present condition.

  7. Jesper

    Not a word about engine.
    I like it. About horse trailer, i think you are right.

  8. Ranco Racing

    I had a 2 door version of this when I was 14 years old. Drove on the neighbor’s farm fields (when not in crop.) Fluid drive automatic. Mohair interior with drooping headliner. I often wish I still had it. Would make a great restomod.

  9. Gstegall

    Thanks for the history lesson David. I have learned a lot about old cars from Barn Finds!

  10. cyclemikey

    Here’s the problem: One *exactly* like this, in green, just went across the block at Mecum Chicago this morning. Beautifully restored, including the paint, chrome, interior, and woodgraining. They couldn’t get anyone to bid more than $9K for it.

    Does anyone think you get this car to there for 7500 bucks? The chrome alone would eat up most of that. It’s kind of depressing, but the only use for this car is to just drive it as is. Its day has passed. Mine, too, I suppose…..

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