Easy First Project: 1955 DeSoto Firedome

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The DeSoto Firedome was one of those great motoring “yo-yos” that we see from time to time. When it was first introduced in 1952, it was DeSoto’s range-topping vehicle and remained that way until 1955. It was then reclassified as the entry-level vehicle in the DeSoto range and was once again reclassified in 1957 as the mid-range vehicle until it was phased out in 1959. Barn Finder Pat L has once again had the radar operating, and spotted this 1955 model for us to look at, so thank you for that Pat. The DeSoto is located in Winthrop Harbor, Illinois, and is listed for sale here on Craigslist.

The owner says that the Firedome is solid and rust-free, and apart from the dark green paint on the sides of the car, the rest of the paint is original. There are a minor ding and scratch on the driver’s door, but the vehicle looks to be quite clean. The bumpers are a bit tarnished now, but the rest of the exterior trim looks like it is in very good condition. The overall condition of the car makes the owner’s claim that it has spent the last 40-years stored in a heated garage seem quite plausible.

The engine and engine-bay present really nicely, and the DeSoto sports the 291ci Firedome V8 engine and automatic transmission. The owner says that the car runs and drives extremely well, and will drive all day either on the highway or around the town with no problems. The car has undergone a raft of recent mechanical work, including new head gaskets, new lifters, new valve seals, a new water pump, new battery, new coil, all new belts and hoses, new tires, new shocks, a new exhaust, and the original carburetor has also been rebuilt.

The interior presents fairly well and is certainly usable as it is. The headliner is intact, but is slightly stained, while both the front and rear seats seem to sport matching tears. You could throw blankets over both and live with them, or you could choose to fit new covers. The owner says that the padding is getting pretty old, so it might be a worthwhile exercise getting the seats completely restored. One of the funky little design features that I love is the gear selector sticking out of the dash just to the right of the wheel. It just looks really cool.

The ’55 Firedome doesn’t come onto the market that often, and there are not many around at present. I found a rough one selling for $7,000, one similar to this for $12,000, and I even found one for $50,000 for reasons that aren’t obvious. This one compares favorably with the $12,000 car, but with an asking price of $9,900, it seems like a much better deal.

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Billy007

    Very nice, though a three speed would be better, the 2 sp auto is just so so. Personally in 1955 I would have preferred a Plymouth with an L Head six with three on the tree, but that is just me.

    Like 1
  2. Bernie

    Cool car that even has a magnetic St. Christopher on the dash!

    Like 2
  3. TimS

    Green everywhere and an automatic. I’ve got a crush on this one.

    Like 3

    Unbelievable Find! This Guy has taken loving care of this Dessie. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of driving one of these Cars, it’s like FLOATING ON AIR. Nothing compares to that Desoto ride, not even Caddies. All I would do is add some wide white walls and store it away for local Mopar Shows. Thank you for taking such great care of a really great Car.

    Like 13
  5. FordGuy1972 Fordguy1972Member

    A nice car for the money as it seems it doesn’t need much to really make it a standout. The engine looks very good and the mechanicals seem to have been addressed so you’re good there. I would replace the headliner and restore/recover the seats and whatever else the interior needs. You could certainly enjoy the car as-is but I’d want the interior refreshed. At some point you could get to whatever the exterior might need with some touch-up work. The chrome you could probably live with, just stay on top of it so things don’t deteriorate further. I think the price is more than fair for a rust-free classic.

    Like 5
  6. Kent

    As another car company once said, “Ask the man who owns one”.

    Like 11
  7. Ben T. Spanner

    My Father bought a 1955 Desoto Firedome 2 dr HT in January of 1956 in this color combination. Note the 6 volt electrical system. The Northeastern Ohio climate and the 6 volts didn’t work so well. He was :frugal” and wouldn’t buy a new battery until he got tired of jumping the Desoto with his 1951 Dodge.
    The brakes were the weak spot, maybe because this was his first V8.
    I remember the dash and the steering wheel, but not the upholstery. Maybe sedans got different cloth. The upscale Fireflights got a clock on stalk in place of the saint.

    Like 3
  8. George

    Lotsa memories here….bought mine in 1965 for $50 and drove it for many years. Added to my Mopar stable. It was like riding on a magic carpet. Gas was cheap then too!

    Not surprised to see those B.C. plates on it. They have more than their share of classic cars.

    BTW….Desotos started with the 1929 year

    Like 3
  9. Del

    This is a wonderfull car.

    Price is great.

    Wish I lived closer

    Like 1
  10. Del

    Wonderfull car.

    Worth the price.

    Wish I lived closer.

    Like 0
  11. Denis Mulheron

    We had an early 50,s De Soto with a straight six side valve used it to tow our stock car to the speedway

    Like 2
  12. Bruce Fischer

    I sure miss my Chrysler. Bruce.

    Like 1

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