Rumble Seat Roadster: 1929 DeSoto Barn Find

When talking about pre-war and 1920s era vehicles, most folks minds will go to a Model A or Model T Ford. That makes sense, because they were the most common cars of the time! Thus, more Model As and Ts have survived the test of time than any of their contemporaries, so to see something from the Model A era that isn’t a Model A has become something of a novelty. I don’t have the numbers on every car produced in 1929, but I would imagine DeSoto roadsters are pretty low on the list! Apparently, the DeSoto club believes less than 10 of these remain. Find this DeSoto here on Craigslist in New Jersey with an asking price of $8,000. Thanks to Fred H. for sending this one in!

This DeSoto has a healthy coating of rust on just about every surface! Inside, outside, underside, it’s all covered in rust! Because this is an open car that clearly hasn’t had a good top on it in decades, the amount of interior rust is disappointing but unsurprising. The dash layout looks like it would be really beautiful if restored to original condition.

According to the seller, who has the title and original keys, this car ran and drove when it was parked in the 1950s. That makes me wonder what the seller’s connection is to this car, as it hasn’t been driven under its own power in this century, or even in my lifetime! From the ad, “This car ran and drove perfect when we parked it.” That statement raises the question of why it was parked!

This car is a little rough, but in the grand scheme of things it isn’t doing too bad when you consider its age! I believe the seller is correct in saying that it is a restorable car, but it will definitely require skill and patience. This car has great potential as a pre-war car that will certainly stand out in most crowds. Plus it has those cool fender steps to get into the rumble seat!


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  1. grant

    Hopefully will be restored to its proper state. First, someone put it in a field of wildflowers at sunset and make a calendar. I sound facetious, but I’m not. This is “patina”, and it belongs on faded relics, not road cars. Gorgeous.

  2. Don Diego

    Credits go out to the New Jersey DMV for the quality of the paint used on the license plate.

    • JACKinNWPA Jack in NW PA Member

      Plate could be porcelain, Great restoration project. seems to me 1029 was the first year for Desoto.

  3. On and On On and On Member

    What’s the one in back of it?

    • TBall

      On and On – Are you talking about the one NOT listed and in better shape?

      • On and On On and On Member


  4. doug

    I wish I needed a new project.

  5. On and On On and On Member

    If you look at the extra photos in the craigslist ad, the green coupe next to it is I believe a 1931 Durant………correct me if I’m wrong…….. pretty rare cars indeed left outside.

    • Jim

      Behind that is an ultra rare Chrysler Air Flow. What a bonanza of cars in that yard!


    Maybe it was parked in the 50’s because it was no longer a praticsl means of transportation, ie to slow. No matter what it should be restored.

    • Dovi65

      That was my summation of this car. This car may very well have been a great running/driving car up until the 1950s. By that time the horsepower race was on, and this little poke just couldn’t compete with the modern V8s, modern traffic, so she was parked.
      She deserves to ply the pavement once again, even if only around town.

  7. Classic Steel

    I am a sucker for nice old coupes and this one is super cool!

    Clear coat over the patina paint to stop future rust and live it like it is on looks….

    • grant

      There’s no “patina paint” left, and whoever thought clear coating over old rust looks like anything but redneck trash needs to be strung up. Besides, unless you do both sides of the panel, you aren’t stopping anything. You’re just sealing it in from the top. Take some artsy photos of it in its current state, then give it the restoration it deserves. This whole “patina rat rod” thing needs to be called what it is: excuses for the broke and/or unskilled. Rant over now :-)

      • Canadian Mark S. Eh! Member

        I couldn’t agree more you have nailed it Grant, patina is just a pitch word for rust.

    • Rustowner

      Its a roadster, not a coupe.

  8. Nrg8

    There’s that old black Cadillac coupe that was featured before. Guess these are all destined to be part if that driveway. On the CL ad pics .

  9. Dan

    Not to chance the subject but why does no one look for old barn finds in Kentucky. I am amazed how many I have found without really trying. So far a 56 tbird, 2-55 belairs, 3 packards, and a couple 20s Cadillacs. Kentucky’s full of old barn cars and tractors

  10. GW

    This is one of my cars. I am starting to sell off an 80 year family collection of antique cars. Thanks for featuring this Josh. Correct Nrg8, that black Cadillac coupe was also featured here a few months ago and is the only known survivor of a 2 passenger 26 Cadillac opera coupe. I should have kept that one. It sold through Ebay at a decent price to a museum in Poland. I would like to keep the cars in the US, however, it’s time to move at least some of the cars. This DeSoto roadster held up better than it may look. I have the keys and title. Last inspection sticker is still on the window. It would almost be neat to get the car running again, put on a set of good tires, make it safe for the road and show it as it is at Hershey in the HPOF class. People would go crazy. We did everything we could over time to keep most of the cars inside and dry. However, time does tend to take over and rust never sleeps. In the spring, I will be pulling out more great cars from our barn. As always, Thank you Barn Finds.

    • Whippeteer

      I did notice from some of the pictures that many of the other cars have been under cover for quite a while.

    • On and On On and On Member

      Is it a Durant next to it GW?

      • GW

        Not a Durant, a LaSalle rumble seat convertible coupe with a golf door. There are several LaSalles and Cadillacs here.

      • On and On On and On Member

        Thank you for clearing that up. A nice and rare beautiful car. Good luck with your sales. Very similar to a Durant radiator shroud, vanes, and Logo.

    • Andrew Tanner Member

      Thanks for chiming in GW! I love having seller input on the cars we feature. This is a really cool car!

    • Nrg8

      I don’t think they will have any problem selling. I made an assumption that they were still together. I’m glad there is interest and they will be as they were.

  11. Whippeteer

    “paint color: yellow”

  12. TBall

    While I continue to want for a rumble seat roadster, seller has SIGNIFICANTLY undersold the rust issues on this one. At least they provided some 24 photo’s to form your own opinion – that it need everything to get it road worthy again. Love it, but not $8k worth of love.

    • GW

      TBall, I don’t think the rust was significantly undersold on this car and there are over 20 photos to view. 8k is nothing for any rumble seat roadster from this era. You can not buy a car like this for 1000 bucks anymore. Those days are long gone. It will sell for 8k or close to it.

  13. Jim Norman

    Running when parked? Paint color yellow? Maybe it shoulda said “Yellow when parked.” Never mind that, what a challenging project and what a possibly gorgeous outcome! By the way, NJ license plates in the early to mid 50s were not porcelain, they were painted steel. Our family car plate number was EG31Z, with the EG vertical, as are the first two letters of the plate on this car.

    • Jim Norman

      By the way, under the New Jersey license plate coding system used in 1939-1958, plates starting with the letters JI originated in Essex County. The Livingston area, where this car is being sold, is in Essex County, so this baby didn’t stray far from where it was last used.

  14. Sam

    I’d love to have it, yet, I’m an old man now, without the means to do anything
    good to it.

    • On and On On and On Member

      Seems to me you have the means to admire and dream. I believe that’s what most BFers might have. Don’t stop buddy, you never know what might happen tomorrow.

  15. David Miraglia

    Auto Museum restoration project

  16. 123pugsy

    This car is actually in quite good condition, steel wise.
    For all you fellas that say different, I suggest you get yourself a project and get into it and do some hands on. You will then know good steel when it’s shown to you.

    Man, would this make a nice project. Sure hope these kinds of finds are still out there when I finish my 41.

  17. Jim Benjaminson

    What year is the Airflow in the background?

  18. carsofchaos

    This has been for sale on CL for a long, long time. I’m thinking not because of it’s condition, but because Desoto of that era are just not even remotely as popular as Fords and Chevys. Having said that, I like this much better than either the Fords or Chevys of the era.


    Great car GW worth every penny and hope the new owner restores this rare car. Soda blast then chemical dip will cure all those issues. Nice thing is car looks pretty complete.

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