Live Auctions

Magnificent 1949 DeSoto Deluxe Woodie!

UPDATE – Larry, the seller, has provided us with more details on this DeSoto’s condition, so we thought it would be worth another look! You can find the additional details in his Classified via the link below.

Woodies turn up here on Barn Finds with some amount of regularity, in particular Fords and Chrysler Town and Country models. We have even uncovered rarer models such as a ’47 Pontiac and a ‘50 Plymouth. Located in Quincy, Illinois, this magnificent DeSoto Woodie wagon has been listed here on Barn Finds Classifieds for $85,000.

It’s an oversimplification but DeSoto was a brand created in 1928 by Walter Chrysler and slotted in as a mid-tier model just under the Chrysler brand. Shortly following, the Dodge Brothers brand became available and it was acquired by Chrysler to occupy a similar position as DeSoto. It had a bit of a star-crossed presence in that it vied with Dodge, both above it and below it, over the years but by 1961, DeSoto had run its course and it was discontinued. Total DeSoto production reached approximately 2 million vehicles.

This 51K mile example is one of approximately 750 woodie wagons produced in 1949 and ’50. This example has undergone a very extensive restoration and is nothing short of magnificent.  As a comparison, please review this 1949 DeSoto woodie that my colleague, Russ Dixon, covered just last week. Quite a difference, eh? No telling if our sale example today was at a similar nadir, but if so, you can imagine the amount of time, effort, and $$$ that have gone into this restoration. Best of all, it is finished off in a beautiful, deep green finish so it certainly has my attention. All of the trim is present and the chrome bits are like new. It’s hard to imagine that this DeSoto needs a spec of attention.

Under the hood is the original 112 HP, 237 CI, in-line, six-cylinder engine working through a “Tip-Toe Shift” automatic transmission. The seller gives no indication as to how this wagon runs and drives but feel free to make an inquiry if you are interested in learning more.

The interior of this DeSoto matches the exterior in terms of its almost perfect condition. The only thing that appears out of place is potentially the driver’s side carpet which looks to have become unattached from the trim. Typical of the era is the artful, chrome-laden instrument panel, and in this case, a wood grain applique painted-on finish.  There is a way-back seat in this DeSoto making it what is traditionally referred to as a nine-passenger model, though eight may be the more appropriate number.

The seller states that an easily detected feature of the ’49 model is the presence of the rear-mounted spare tire. Apparently, in ’50, it was moved under the cargo floor. This is a spectacular example of not only a long-gone marque, DeSoto, but also a long-gone body construction style, a station wagon employing genuine wood components. Expensive? Yes, but it’s as good as it gets!


  1. Mark

    Wow! Rare and different. Does anyone know the name of this specific green color?
    Someone is going to get one nice cruiser to enjoy.

    Like 6
  2. Steve Clinton

    $85,000 is pretty steep, but when you take into account how many woodies were turned into ‘surf wagons’ and misused until they were just scrapped, and the number of cars that are left, it might just be a bargain.

    Like 6
  3. Rustytech Member

    I’m not a big fan of high price collector cars, but I can see $85k for this. This is one gorgeous woody!

    Like 10
  4. CJinSD

    I love this car, and I’m always shocked at the evidence of quality in depth evident in Mopars of this era, but I don’t have eighty-five grand to spend on my admiration for beautiful art-deco controls and understressed mechanicals.

    Like 5
  5. John

    Overall it looks like a great vehicle. It must just be me but it looks like some rough imperfections in the paint on the spare and tailgate, don’t know what’s under that. Inside of the tire cover looks fine? The parking light bezels and a lens are on the passenger floor, some wiring dangling and the dash finish looks off-and graining, unless different on a woodie (?) needs to go across the whole dash, clutch pedal for the fluid drive is to the floor. There are odds and ends to sort, but the paint problems cause some concern as to what’s under the rest of it, things do look solid overall. Wood looks beautifully done though.

    Like 3
  6. Woodie Guy

    Here is a case where the seller just places a price based on…. “fantasy”.. nothing sold in the past 3 months or even 12 months supports such a fantasy price.. Let’s look a the Woodie market, the demographic like the 32 roadster market is flooded with older generations leaving the car market..Covid has not helped.. How many 40-60yr old healthy, wealthy with a extra $85k want to buy a woodie station wagon? When you go to venues like Bring a trailer you can find out what these buyers want and are laying money down.. Porsche, Mercedes, even Bentleys’ the older American car market especially pre-war cars are nose diving.. Beautiful vehicles, but I predict this one will sit around for decades unsold.. hopefully I am incorrect

    Like 12
    • Jeff Zekas

      Perfectly stated: ten years ago woodies sold for over $100K, but now those old guys are dying, and their kids don’t want some “weird old car” in the garage. Last time I saw a woodie for sale it was $50K and no takers.

      Like 2
  7. normadesmond

    Always get a kick out of seeing the font that was used on old Chryslers gauges. My ’63 Plymouth used the same one. Guess it was cheaper to not change.

    Like 2
  8. Tom Bell

    Nicely written, Jim–thanks. Have to agree with John above, paint on the spare tire cover and tailgate is suspect, definitely provoking further questions. The engine room also appears neglected after so much effort put into the rest of the car. Still a beautiful thing.

    Like 3
  9. Jeff

    Maybe I’m being picky, but for 85 grand, the rocker moulding is missing, step plates missing. Number of questionable issues not addressed in the ad.

    Like 4
  10. Stan Marks

    This beauty has it all. With that said, if it was mint, it ‘wood’ be worth the 85K.
    Hasn’t this ride been here, before?

    Like 3
  11. Jon

    Have to wonder what constitutes $85,0000. ?

  12. Steve Thompson

    Looks like right rear tire is low on air so I’m out !

    Like 2
  13. Fred

    My parents had a 48 DeSoto sedan. Got it in 49 still on show room floor. Really good car with flat head six.

    Like 2
  14. Kenn

    Looks to me as if the spare tire cover is bent. Dented in across the middle.

    Like 2
  15. tiger66

    “Under the hood is the original 112 HP, 237 CI, in-line, six-cylinder engine working through a “Tip-Toe Shift” automatic transmission.”

    Tip-Toe Shift was a semiautomatic transmission, no? Chrysler did not have a fully automatic transmission until the 1954 model year (PowerFlite).

    Like 2
  16. Tom Bell

    Amazingly large crop of DeSoto’s coming up over the last several days! All that’s needed is a 3-window business coupe to complete the unusual body style inventory.

    • Larry Member

      Tom Bell, I also have a 1949 DeSoto Carryall that I am selling. I will post it here on BarnFinds as soon as I take the photos

      Like 1
    • Larry Member

      Here is a 1947 Dodge 3 Window Business Coupe Pro Street

      Like 1
  17. Jeff Zekas

    I’m 67 years old and would buy a used Porsche or Corvette for $30k before spending $85K on a woodie that needs work done to it, which seems to be the case with this car!

    • Larry Member

      My goodness sake you must be lazy. All the car needs is a glove box liner, the parking lights installed and the breather put back on the carburetor. Everything will be ready to go before the car sells. I have noticed reading thru other folks ads that you have a habit of knocking everyones vehicle on BarnFinds. Crine out loud, get a life.

      Like 2
      • Ed P

        I’m 70 and I would consider buying a car like this if I had a garage and the money.

        Like 1
  18. Rick Member

    I feel that the seller’s hopes are a little high, but you never know. As I have said before, it distresses me to see a carburetor without the air cleaner on it.

  19. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    If all of the trim is there, where are the front parking light lenses?

  20. James Douglad

    “This example has undergone a very extensive restoration and is nothing short of magnificent. ” The writer needs to go find another occupation or spend 10 years as a Concourse Judge if he is going to use sentences like the above to describe a car.

    This car has never been “restored” I can spot so many things wrong with this car just looking at the bad photos that $85K is a joke. Of course there is a sucker born every minute like the man said.

    Since I have a 1949 that is has placed at Hillsborough I have some knowledge of 1946 to 1949 Desoto’s.

    Better to buy a junker for $15K to $20K and do it correct and have $100K-$125K into it and end up with a true restoration than than to pay $85K for this thing.

    This appears to be lipstick on a big. Buyer beware.

    Like 1
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      I’ll call it the way I see it and if you don’t like my synopsis, then don’t read it! Barn Finds is helping with the sale of our customer’s car and you can just take your negativity elsewhere! (Lipstick on a big??)


      Like 6
  21. Lowell Peterson

    You said it all Jim. Keep doin what yer doin! We will sort it out if we want to buy something. Great job always and never easy!

    Like 1
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      Thank you, Lowell!

      Like 1
  22. chrlsful

    nother led sled, better but woody needs maintenance so
    nope. (I like all the orphans too). Plymouth Suburban
    (stellie if they had ’em) or Duette (its european
    copy) ‘s my interest.

  23. Larry Member

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.