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Elegant Hemi: 1956 DeSoto Fireflite Convertible

One of the Chrysler makes that doesn’t seem to get quite as much attention as some of the others is their DeSoto division, which began producing vehicles all the way back in 1929.  Many of these offerings were mid-priced level cars, but one exception was the Fireflite, a full-size premium automobile that was introduced near the end of the company’s run in 1955.  Production lasted through 1960, and just a year later the DeSoto brand was discontinued altogether, with the Fireflite seeming to be fondly remembered as one of its crown jewels.  If you’ve been in the market for a nicely preserved example, this 1956 DeSoto Fireflite Convertible may fit the bill nicely.  The car is located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and can be seen here on eBay with a buy-it-now price tag of $57,500.

Many thanks go out to Barn Finds reader David Schlafer for spotting this one and bringing it to our attention!  We really don’t get much background on the Fireflite or what has been done to get it in the stunning condition it seems to be in as we see it now, but fortunately, we do get a bunch of pictures plus a video. The car presents well from every angle, with the paint appearing to be of good quality and well-preserved, along with a straight body and nice-looking chrome all the way around.  There’s also a new set of wide whitewall tires on the car.

Under the hood is a 330 cubic-inch Hemi V8, and things are looking nice and tidy inside the engine bay as well.  There’s no word on whether or not the engine has ever had an overhaul, but we do get to hear it in action on the video and the motor seems to run just fine.  The seller mentions that the car has recently been completely serviced, including new hoses and a battery, plus we also get to view photos from down below, including this one, and everything we can see on the underside appears to be solid.  I always liked those Cherry Bomb styles of mufflers when I was younger, and still do!

Things inside are looking pretty good overall, especially for a convertible, which was kind of a rare model with only 1,485 of the 30,521 Fireflite autos produced in ’56 sporting the droptop.  All of the gauges are said to be working, including the speedometer, but the odometer is only functioning intermittently.  One of my favorite things about the interior of these cars is that way cool push-button transmission selector staring at you on the left side of the dash.  If you’d like to see this one in your garage but are finding the price a bit steep, there’s also the option to submit a lower offer.  What are your thoughts on this 1956 DeSoto Fireflite Convertible?


  1. Avatar photo Rex Kahrs Member

    Wow, this is a super cool car. Virgil Extra was unquestionably the king of 1950s bling.

    Like 10
  2. Avatar photo bobhess Member

    Hard to get better looking than this one. Beautiful car. Note: On the list of types of exhaust systems and their efficiency, Cherry Bombs are second from the bottom of the list, with Supertraps at the bottom as the most restrictive. Bet that big Hemi has it tongue hanging out every time it’s started.

    Like 9
    • Avatar photo Gene

      True, but the names were the best. I was always a Thrush man but I coveted Sweet Talkin’ Purple Hornies. We were all about the sound, efficiency was a mysterious side effect!

      Like 1
  3. Avatar photo normadesmond

    Beautiful . . . . and GONE!

    Like 5
  4. Avatar photo Camaro Joe

    Mike, the pushbutton gear shifter is cool looking, but not so cool when it blows up and spits out parts. When I was 13 Mom had a 62 Dart. Mom had problems with the shifter so Dad taught me to put the shifter back together when “Stuff happened” and he wasn’t around. I did it a number of times over a few years.

    Eight years later I inherited Dad’s 64 Imperial hunting car to drive for the second half of my senior year at college. I was shocked the first time the pushbuttons flew apart on me, then I realized that I’d been there and done that, so I started assembling the parts.

    It turned out that the problem was the Park leaver was designed to push the neutral button when you stopped in drive and threw the Park leaver. This one didn’t like that, so it worked perfectly as long as you stopped, pushed the Neutral button, and then threw the Park leaver.

    My plan was to bring the car home, pull the 50,000 mile 413 and find a 65 “B Body” for it after I graduated. Dad said no way it’s going home, so he sold it and took the family and my friends out to dinner. Years later I ended up with a 65 Belvedere big block, but that took $30K and a few years worth of work.

    Like 6
    • Avatar photo Greg

      Just a note that the 56 does not have a ‘park lever’…and 2 spd Powerflyte transmission so only D and L buttons for forward options. I think 1962 was the first year for the park lever. I also had a 1962 Dart automatic but never had the shift buttons grenade on me.

      Like 2
  5. Avatar photo JP

    Awesome DeSoto and congrats to the new owner!

    Like 3
  6. Avatar photo Bill McCoskey Member

    I ran a shop specializing in MoPaR cars, and never heard of a push button shifter falling apart, but I have had to repair a few when one button came off, but that’s an easy fix.

    I also noticed this DeSoto doesn’t have the clock anymore. It was standard equipment on the 1956 DeSoto, and it mounts where that small plaque is on the center of the dash.

    One of my tech guys had a 1956 Desoto convertible like this one, and a 1956 Imperial 2-door hardtop. It took him a few years, but he combined the cars to create a 1956 Imperial convertible, something Chrysler never made, but should have!

    Like 2

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