Desoto Special

desoto-special

If you wanted a high performance car back in the fifties and couldn’t afford a sports car from Europe, you could just build your own. Parts were easy to source at local scrapyards and there were even companies producing fiberglass bodies. Many people tried their hand at their own home-brew racers, but few were successful. We have featured a couple of specials over the years, but this one really intrigues us. It was supposedly built in the fifties and has stayed in the same family for over 50 years. The current owner purchased the car from them and has now listed it here on eBay where bidding is already over $15k.

desoto-special-as-found

Here is what the car looked like when the seller found it. The original creator of this beauty started with a 1929 Desoto Coupe. He modified the frame and built the suspension from a box of Ford parts.

desoto-special-finned-heads

Then he installed a hopped up flathead V8 complete with Kogel high compression heads. After the mechanicals were all sorted, he mounted a hand-formed alloy and fiberglass body over it all. The design is simple, but it actually looks quite good and the Desoto grill really ties it all together.

desoto-special-interior

The seller does not mention what the first owner did with the car, but they do mention that he lived in the Salt Lake City area, so we can help but wonder if this little racer saw some salt-flat action. Apparently, the builder sold the car to his grandson in the 70s. His grandson threw on a Chevrolet rear-end and Muncie 4-speed to make the commute to high school a little more comfortable. That was one cool grandpa! It was eventually put into storage in the Seattle area until the current owner found it.

desoto-special-side-profile

We love the looks of this Desoto Special and we bet it is a blast to drive. We would want to track down more information about its past though because we bet there are plenty of good stories to tell. Unfortunately, the seller has very high expectations for this one and mentions on their site that they would like to get around $27k. Seems a little steep for a home-built car that doesn’t have any significant race history. What do you think? Could you build your own Desoto Special for less?

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Comments

  1. geomechs geomechs Member

    This is what hot rods are supposed to be: a collection of parts sorted from various sources and finally put together to make something that went like a striped-a&$ed ape. Too bad the tradition is giving way to the specialty shops and big money.

    • paul

      I bet it goes like stink.

  2. Rancho Bella

    Dang……….this is sweet. And I am a sports car guy.

  3. paul

    Well this is about as close as I will ever get to an Allard J2 even if it’s a look alike, well similar.
    Still working on another Vair, so no more stuff.

    • Robert J

      Paul; There are some very accurate Allard J2 kit cars running around with V8’s in them. I saw a nearly completed project one for less than $4k… Maybe you could squeeze those ‘Vairs forward in the driveway just a bit? :)

      • paul

        Thanks I will look into that, & it’s only one Vair, so this is a bit of a project but the Allard kit could be a very neat next.

      • Jesse

        Well if you find another accurate J2 kit for under $4k, please send it my way!

      • paul

        So Jesse did you ever find out any info?

  4. Dolphin Member

    This is a terrific looking vintage rod that looks about like a home built rod from the ’50s should look. It’s disappointing that there isn’t more history and background to let potential buyers know what they are buying. It’s now three owners from the original builder and there doesn’t seem to be any solid information going back very far. A very big chunk of the collector value of a vintage rod like this is tied up in its history. If it was run on the salt flats that would be a big factor in the sale, but we don’t know.

    Probably the best thing to do would be to talk to a few older rodders and get one or two of them to go look at the car with you, or at least show them the photos and get their opinions. Failing that, the best you can do is decide whether the build and the look is what you like in a vintage rod, and whether that’s worth the $27K the seller wants.

    One personal thing: In high school I had a friend who was parting out a ’39 or ’40 Ford, and he gave me the steering wheel, which was the most impressive one I had ever seen. It looked exactly like the one on this car. It was in the basement and someone in the family gave it to a visitor without my knowledge. I’ve regretted losing it ever since, and seeing these pictures reminds me why.

  5. FRED

    WHAT A WAY TO SHOW UP FOR SCHOOL !! THIS IS NICE BUT THE ONE BEHIND IT IS MORE TO MY LIKING.

  6. Catfish Phil

    I found a book back in the 90’s about building cars from junk yard parts – it was published back in the fifties. Time was you could get a Model A for $35, strip it down and build up a car in your garage with parts from the junk yard. I suppose you could still do this… but wow, a vintage looking racer like this would be just an incredible driving experience. Better wear your goggles and bring a tooth pick to get those bugs out of your smile!

  7. connecticutclassix.com

    great looking special… perfect for doing hillclimbs, the stance is just right and the wheels are sweet.

  8. Never Done

    This car is in Norway. you can see pics from the rear and front here.
    They use it, and it is a realy nice car…Also used in hill climb.

    https://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?fbid=10151587441706229&set=a.10151587439231229.1073741829.653696228&type=3&theater

    Youtube
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SI7kLNmxwM

    Or search for A bombers hill climb on youtube (Sweden)

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Thanks for the update! Looks like this one found a good home.

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