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Last of the Breed: 1961 DeSoto Adventurer


This 1961 DeSoto Adventurer is one of the last DeSotos built before the company’s demise. The brand was founded by Chrysler to compete in the highly competitive mid-price market in 1928. The company saw some success, but couldn’t survive the highly aforementioned market of 1960. Reader Chris N. discovered this DeSoto in a field in California. After owning it for the past two years, he has decided to part ways with it so it can now be found here on eBay.


While DeSoto was targeted at the mid-price market, that didn’t stop the brand from designing many uniquely styled cars or from trying to be innovative. The crunch the company experienced in the late 1950’s took some toll on what the company could do, but this coupe still offered some very unique styling inside and out. The interior of this one is looking rather rough, but it does have the desirable A/C option.


The 361 cui V8 came standard and offered a respectable 265 horsepower. This engine currently isn’t running and will likely need to be rebuilt. Chris isn’t sure whether this is the original motor or not and given that the car was repainted and the interior redone at some point, it’s possible that this isn’t the original motor either.


This one is going to need a complete restoration, which could get expensive. There were less than a thousand of these coupes built so parts could be a challenge to find. Hopefully the hard to find bits are all still here and can be saved. This car is an interesting piece of motor history and with any luck it will end up in the hands of someone with the resources to restore it. Thanks to Chris for sharing his field find with us.


  1. rancho bella

    I cannot imagine the cost to restore this………………then what? cuz you will be doin’ it for love. The Chrysler world of design was so far out there……..but not in a bad way……just out there. The problem is you eye is drawn in so many directions it’s confusing.
    But I don’t hate it.

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    • rancho bella

      it’s your eye….sorry. one toooo many drinks……………I meant two

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  2. Trickie Dickie Member

    How nostalgic……….The last car designed by George Jetson before he took that really iffy job with Ford Motor Co., designing that all new radical departure named the Edsel.

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    • David G

      Sorry Dickie but the Edsel was actually designed way back in 56-7 for a 58 model year release, so this 61 Adventurer was wayyyy after that, doh…

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      • Trickie Dickie Member

        Hi David G. I was well aware of all the dates mentioned. I was just trying to evoke a smile or two in this “all too serious” world. My Motto: Silliness is the last refuge of the Damned.

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  3. John Allison

    Kinda reminds me of the Lincoln of the same period??

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  4. Chad O.

    Having been based on the Chrysler Windsor, drivetrain and ither hard parts are not all that rare. Perhaps some of the unique trim, interior parts and those “unique” to Desoto, might be hard to find. Restoration would not be any more difficult than a Tucker, of which, minus the body and engine, utilized scavenged parts from other manufacturers.

    If most of the car is there, which looks to be, restoration will mostly be labor and parts hunting……I wish the new owner the best of luck…he’ll need it. It will be a very nice, if it ever sees the inside of a paint booth anytime soon.

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  5. Dolphin Member

    As a former Desoto owner, a ’57 convertible that was only a few years from new, with push-button drive and fins about 20 ft long—but that great Hemi V8 made up for all that…..getting carried away with good memories of that car…..now where was I?

    I remember now….As a former Desoto owner I can say that I owned one of the best, with coherent lines that were pleasing to the eye because they started at the front and ran smoothly toward the back, with a mild upswing beginning at about the middle. Those smooth fins did something positive for the car, providing you like big fins, which I did—then.

    This ’61 is another story, I’m afraid. Rancho nailed it: there’s no coherence anywhere on it. That giant orifice above the grille, and those crazy-angled headlights, just beg for a reason to exist, but there isn’t one.

    I loved my Desoto, and you never want to see any decades-old brand die a terrible death, but unfortunately that’s what the stylists condemned Desoto to with the ’61 model line. Sad.

    RIP, Desoto.

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    • E Finch

      Styling did not kill this car! Having said that. Some of the coolest cars and music did not sell well! This car is one of the coolest of any era! 1961 Imperial and 60-61 plymouth etc etc also!

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  6. Rene

    I like the patina. It makes the car look very Christine like.

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  7. treeve

    My dad’s buddy had one of these! I remember some sort of trouble on one of our trips to the summer cottage. I think the transmission locked up and we had to be towed home. It was a huge land yacht that I will always have good memories of.

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  8. Chris A.

    The car has a certain presence. You don’t see many Desoto restorations so this would be unique if someone gets into it.This one sort of grew on me and I like the fin presentation and integration better than on the period Ford or GM cars.When I first looked at it, the fin indent looked like it was chromed, but i see there was a little restraint and I was mistaken. I wouldn’t be suprised if out there somewhere there is a late fifties custom car that was entirely chromed on all outside body panels. The windshield looks just like the Chrysler of the time, even down to the trim. The front end is just barely better looking than an Edsel’s. But except for the front end, I like the car. Maybe Rene hit it right with the Christina comment.

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  9. braktrcr

    Being a die hard Chevy man… I love this Desoto. The car to me symbolizes the last of two era’s. Obviously the Desoto era, but also the last of the “rocket ship” appearing car era. I can picture this car in front of the Dunes Hotel in Vegas, or a So-Cal hotel near Disneyland… a middle class couple getting out of the car, the husband with a tie and fedora, the wife with a hat, pearl necklace and whie gloves I like the car a lot, and hope it goes to a great home

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    • Chad O.

      I couldn’t agree more! Very well written. I can imagine this scenario just as you described. Perfect!

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  10. Andrew Minney

    I don’t care what you all say, I want it.
    Please wrap it and post it to England!!


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  11. Spanky57

    Bracket racer! You nailed it! It looks as if it could’ve been the last new car Ward Cleever bought before Leave it to Beaver left the airwaves! With styling suffering it’s no wonder the brand was ditched by Chrysler. The 57’s were the last of the good ones!

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  12. kevin


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  13. E Finch

    Mopars were the Best styled cars of the JET AGE! Especially 1961!!!! Ernest Finch. R I P V. EXNER.

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