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DeLightful, DeLovely, DeSoto Two-Fer


Here’s a couple of Hemi-powered projects. This first one is a 1956 DeSoto. The seller doesn’t say, but I believe this is a Firedome Sportsman. He’s asking $2,000 here on craigslist and the car is located a little north of Poplar Bluff, Missouri.



The photos were probably taken by the seller’s dime store watch-phone, or perhaps lawnmower-phone, but might have been better drawn and colored by hand. But at least they’re good enough to see the Hemi, which looks to be complete. The seller says it turns by hand, but isn’t running. No word on why, or how much effort he went to to try and start it. The $7 ignition condenser from AutoZone remains one of the best-kept secrets of vintage car enthusiasts everywhere.



The seller also doesn’t mention the presence of any of the stainless side trim (or even the entire passenger side of the car, for that matter), so let’s hope it’s in the trunk.


Just an engine donor car, you say? There’s no need to pay that much for it. The second car in our two-fer feature is this 1956 DeSoto four door sedan, located in Corinth, Mississippi. It’s offered for sale here on craigslist with a bargain asking price of $900 or best offer.


This one has more of its stainless-steel trim still installed on it, and it dovetails in nicely with the other recent early and mid-50s Mopar cars we have featured lately.


Hmmn… Maybe this one should have been the feature car? The grille, trim, and front bumper are intact, and a quick look under the hood reveals the Hemi drivetrain also still in place. Except for the missing air cleaner, this one appears to be even more untouched, with a vintage  battery still in place. I believe this was Chrysler’s first year for the 12 volt system, so replacing this very old battery would be no big deal. I’m guessing there will be no extra charge for the copious quantity of pine needles included.


This one does look better, and this seller could teach that first one a thing or two about how to take pictures, or maybe loan him a camera. Because of its four doors, many would see this as merely a drivetrain donor car. But it appears to have been two-tone turquoise and white, and would be very attractive if the planets ever aligned correctly enough for this car to receive a good restoration. The few missing trim items are not impossible to find.


The rear is different from the first car, and I’m hoping our readers will help educate all of us as to why. Is this one really a 1955? Or is it a different model between the Firedome, Fireflite, or Adventurer? Knowledgeable Mopar lovers, help us out.


Here’s a vintage commercial for the “delightful, delovely DeSoto”! Parts cars or beautiful 1950s vintage Chrysler products that need love. Which do you think these are?


  1. Avatar photo Roland

    Not really up on Desoto models other than dash shift or push button. My thought a 55 & 56

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    • Avatar photo Fred

      Learned to drive in a 52 & a 56. The 55 had the shift lever in the dash to the right of the speedo. The 56 had push buttons on the left side. The 52 was the first year DeSoto had a hemi,and a semi-automatic called a fluid drive.DeSoto was a great car.
      PS none of those transmissions had a park position,just a hand operated em-brake. The 56 had a duel point distributer,and was the first year for a 12 volt batt.Yes, I’m an old fart,but I’ve owned,driven and fixed many cars in my day.

      Like 1
  2. Avatar photo Justin Boyle

    The 2 door looks to be a 56, but it is hard to tell from the pics. The 4 door is definitely a 55 model. The 56 had a different grille. Also, if I’m not mistaken, the 2 door and 4 door were different enough to tell them apart from the rear, and that should explain the difference in the rear pics.

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  3. Avatar photo Ed P

    The 56 Desoto has a ‘U’ shape stamped into the rear bumper directly under the tail lights. The 55 does not have this feature. That makes the 2 door a 56 and the 4door a 55. The 4 door looks more complete to me. The 2 door is missing a lot of trim.

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  4. Avatar photo minikrew

    thats a 6 volt batt. not a 12 volt

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  5. Avatar photo Jason Houston

    The easiest way to tell a ’55 from a ’56: Model for model, the ’56 has tailfins, the ’55 doesn’t. Simple!

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  6. Avatar photo Chad

    The second one is a 6 volt system by looking at the battery.

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  7. Avatar photo stillrunners

    Why are we beating down people for non-camera knowledge ? At least they are trying to sell instead of just letting it sit. Hardtop versus a 4 door – come on guys – and a loose motor beats a stuck one on any table/bench “and for some reason why we don’t drive it anymore” ? And don’t get me started…56 hardtop….55 a more door….and the last year for the high dollar grille….

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  8. Avatar photo Geoffrey Stein

    The sedan is a 1955 (without tail fins). The 1956 two-door has tail fins as on all the 1956 DeSotos. Also, 1956 went to the 12-volt system.

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  9. Avatar photo Barry Rasmussen

    The 4 door is a 55 fireflite 6 volt 4 barrel and the 2 door is a 56 fireflite 12 volt also 4 barrel. Love them both.

    Like 0

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