From Storage To Street: 1941 DeSoto Custom Coupe

We all dream of finding some dusty but solid barn find car in the corner of a building that is just waiting to be put back on the road. A little cleaning, a little fixing, a little tinkering, and then back to the highway. Well, the seller of this 1941 DeSoto Custom coupe being sold here on eBay in Arroyo Grande, California has done exactly that. Found under a thick layer of redwood dust, this solid DeSoto proved to be in good shape, and the seller even has brought it back to running and driving condition. With a current bid of $6,011 not yet hitting the reserve, what do you think this gorgeous green DeSoto will eventually sell for?

As you can see from the above two photos, this DeSoto cleaned up really well. The inside storage must have either been climate controlled or the area it came from has a distinct lack of humidity (if it didn’t come from the seller’s location). The chrome and stainless trim are in terrific shape. Both of the bumpers have an appearance that suggests that they just came back from the chrome shop. Even the paint seems to have held up well. Just look at the reflection on the side of the car.

A view from the rear is another testament to the condition of this car. It presents as an older restoration, which it may very well be. Still, all the parts and pieces are where they need to be and in great shape. The running board may need some recovering, but it is hard to tell if the roughness is just some waviness or some pieces of rubber missing.

There is a little bit of roughness to some of the interior. The carpet looks worn and ready for replacement. I also don’t believe the seat coverings are factory original. Still, I’d use them and just replace the carpet. Maybe adding some Dynamat insulation under that carpet wouldn’t be a bad idea. The only other problem visible appears to be a missing bolt in the seat pivot point.

From the other side, we can see that all of the important trim pieces for the dash are present. The dash itself could use some refurbishment, but there is nothing that would prevent you from using the car as it is. The seats and carpet do present better from this side.

A peek into the trunk reveals some aftermarket fabric covering the trunk interior instead of the usual rubber mat. Considering that this is a before cleanup picture, the trim pieces in the box may have been pulled from the dash in the past, or they may be spare pieces. If you had a fairly rare car like this, I am sure you would grab up spare parts whenever opportunities presented themselves.

The great news about this car is that the seller has returned it to running status. Inline six-cylinder Mopar engines are one of the most reliable engines you can find. Many were used in industrial applications that required them to run for hours on end with little maintenance. One thing to look out for in a car that has sat so long is the water distribution tube. This is a long, somewhat triangular-shaped tube that was inserted into the block behind the water pump. It ensured that all of the cylinders received an equal amount of coolant during operation. Unfortunately, these will rust and break apart, clogging up the cooling system in many situations. Removal is not easy when they are in rough shape, and often the front end of the car has to come off to easily get the thing out.

Just looking at this car and knowing that it runs makes one want to buy it and road trip it home. It is an appealingly styled car in a unique body style. Still, the devil is in the details and there will likely be a few issues that will creep up when put into regular service. If you picked this one up you would certainly start with a very good car. Does this DeSoto appeal to you? What would you do with it if it was in your garage?


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  1. Zack

    same guy as 1958 chrylser wagon

    Like 4
  2. Will Fox

    Nearly as stunning as the seller’s `58 New Yorker Town & Country wagon! This `41 DeSoto is extremely clean & solid for its age! Not sure I would say it was ever ‘restored’, but it was kept in a fairly weather-tight storage area, so no real rust issues.It’s also an extremely rare 3-pass. business coupe, as opposed to a 2 or 4dr. sedan. The only bodystyle more scarce is the convertible! This one won’t last long at all. It’s TOO nice and way too rare.

    Like 10
    • Béla

      Totally agree ! This beauty ended up overseas in Switzerland and will eventually undergo a swap with a 392 Hemi with appropriate drivetrain and axle. Other than that shall remain pretty much as is. Hell yeah – can‘t wait for completion of the project one day ! 😎

  3. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry Member

    They sure put long trunks on those cars. It’s the same color my Dads 48 Dodge was. I could tool around Texas in this old beauty. Wouldn’t change much, but it really gets hot here so maybe look into adding a/c.
    God bless America

    Like 7
    • marble

      Had the 1946 version of this car & indeed the trunk was cavernous. Remember sliding a full sized clawfoot tub in & closing the trunk lid.

      Like 5
    • Ron Schweitzer Member

      The trunk is so long because it’s a Business Coupe designed for traveling salesmen. It allowed them plenty of room to carry their samples or inventory. The trade off was that it only had one seat and could only accommodate 2 or 3 people.

  4. Gaspumpchas

    Sure is a sweetie! And presented as a barn find should- show it as it came out of storage and after it was cleaned up. Drive it as is. Nice Mopar for someone!! good luck to the new owner!!!

    Like 7
  5. JRHaelig

    The only thing I’d change on this is the oil!

    Like 11
  6. Tom Bell

    A true single seat coupe–rare indeed along with sedan deliveries and hucksters. Also known as a salesman’s coupe, huge trunk for samples and related gear. As noted above, nice to see one as found and then cleaned up.

    Like 5

    Total restomod…starting with chopping the top off.
    Not sorry.

    • BR

      Duly noted. You may show yourself out now (LOL).

      Like 6
  8. vin basso

    I’m late to the Desoto bandwagon. I’m hooked! Too bad that Desotos rarely show up at car shows.

    Like 1
  9. bigdoc

    Cool looking classic

  10. Del

    Wow. Great find.

    This guy finds great cars.

    And he gets them running.

    Fabulous car

    Like 1
  11. John S

    This car is ugly enough as it is without “cutting the top off”… So ugly it’s cool! I like it!

    Like 1

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