Rust-Free DeSoto: 1957 DeSoto Firedome 2-Door Hardtop

Barn Finder Ikey H has had those eagle eyes working well and has spotted this 1957 DeSoto Firedome for us to look at, so thank you for that Ikey. The Firedome was an automotive “yo-yo” in the DeSoto range from its introduction in 1952, until production ended in 1959. By this, I mean that when it was introduced, the Firedome was the range-topping car within the DeSoto range. During 1955 and 1956 it was repositioned as the least expensive model, before becoming DeSoto’s mid-range car between 1957 and 1959. This Firedome is just sitting there in Norfolk, Nebraska, with a clean title, and is waiting for a new owner. You will find it listed for sale here on Craigslist.

As project cars go, this Firedome looks like it could be a good one. Not only does it appear to be complete, but it also seems to be a solid car. It has spent most of its life in California, and the new owner will be able to reap the benefits of this. The body appears to be rust-free, and the only corrosion issue that the owner identifies is some rust in the front floor on the passenger side from the heater leaking, although this hasn’t deteriorated to rot-through. We know that the wheels aren’t original, but the rest of the car seems to be. As a point of interest, by the end of the 1950s, DeSoto was battling to secure new car sales. By 1959, in a bid to increase sales of the Firedome, DeSoto offered the car finished in a total of 26 solid colors and 190 two-tone finishes. In spite of potential buyers being offered such a range of choices, sales of the Firedome never picked up, and the model was discontinued at the end of 1959.

The interior of the Firedome is quite usable as it is, but it could really use some restoration work at some stage. The dash pad is not cracked, but it looks like the padding has collapsed, giving the pad an odd and deflated look. The door trims, headliner, and other interior trim items look good, but the seats could do with new covers. There is also no carpet at present. Still, restoring the interior doesn’t look like it is going to be a big job.

Okay, hands up those who don’t like a Hemi. Hmm, that’s not many of you. Our Firedome comes equipped with its numbers matching 341ci Hemi V8 and 3-Speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission. The car is also fitted with power steering. The car doesn’t run, but the owner says that the engine does turn freely. The car also rolls freely, but the brakes currently don’t work. At 4,000lbs, the Firedome is not a light car, but with that Hemi pumping out 270hp, combined with an automatic transmission and power steering, this would have been one effortless cruiser.

This Firedome really does look like a solid restoration prospect. The fact that it is basically complete and rust-free is one positive aspect. The second aspect that makes it so viable is the fact that it is a 2-Door Hardtop. Within the Firedome range, it is the Convertible that will always attract the big dollars, but the 2-Door Hardtop trumps the rest of the range. It is possible to buy a reasonable car similar to this one for around $11,000, but a good one will set you back closer to $25,000. The owner of this one is asking $14,500. With so little restoration work required, there are some real possibilities in this Firedome.

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Comments

  1. mlm

    After all these years this body style still looks good IMO.No wonder GM went back to the drawing boards after seeing Virgil Exner’s finned wonders of ’57.

    Like 8
  2. Bob C.

    SUDDENLY IT’S 1960 was their slogan of the day. By 1961 however, this basic design was starting to look passe, compared to its competition.

    Like 1
  3. Dave

    Keep it original…fab up some 340 Hemi badges, and have a blast on the Power Tour…or take the family on a pilgrimage to the Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota😁

    Like 7
    • DaveMc

      Darwin Minnesota. My granpaps used to bank there.

      Like 3
  4. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    Nice…saved our only hardtop 57 Desoto when we crushed our yard in the 90’s along with the 57/58 Chrysler’s….took awhile but of of our customers traded me out of it. Nice ones are hard to find.

    Like 6
  5. Kenneth Carney

    This would be the last non-Cadillac car
    my Mom drove when I was younger.
    After the DeSoto broke down and left
    her stranded one too many times, Dad
    put her in barely used Caddys instead.
    Our DeSoto was brick red with a Desert
    Sand top and sidespear. It looked pretty
    sharp to me, but a nightmare to Dad.
    Seems that the distributor gave him fits
    as driving the car through a puddle would
    drown out the points and stall the car out.
    Sad to say that the rust monster got most
    of them. Just glad I got to ride in one.

    Like 6
  6. Ben T. Spanner

    Hemi backed up by a 3 speed Torqueflight. Add front disk brakes and its a daily driver.

    Like 5
  7. DaveMc

    This was my dream car lately until I realized how popular (spendy) they are getting. Ahead of their time compared to the tubs. Virge was an artist.

    Like 4
  8. Burger

    My favorite post-war automotive design.

    I keep a 58 in the shop. 👍

    Like 8
    • moosie Craig M Bryda

      Hey Burger, That is one dynamite looking Desoto. Nice, very nice

      Like 1
      • Burger

        Thanks, Craig. I think so too.

  9. Alexco

    Has anybody seen a 1957 Desoto Adventurer. Love it to be in the condition as this one. thanks

  10. Burger

    57 Adventurers survived in pretty large numbers, considering how few were built. People knew they were special and a much higher percentage were tucked away than the other more mundane models. Don’t expect the pay $14,500 for a decent one today. They are very much “in demand” !

    Like 1
  11. Alexco

    There were purported to be only 100 made in ’57, all the same color, same engine, trans, not sure how many have survived. ’58 was a whole different story. I have a affinity for this car as it was the first engine I ever overhauled at 16. The head weighed as much as I did, bit of a problem in fitting it. The first car I ever traveled at 135 mph. It was a fantastic car. Belong to my best friend at the time. His dad gave it him in ’62. Saw a totally restored one going up for auction, estimated sell price around $180K-200K. Not sure what it brought.

    Like 2
  12. Burger

    In 57, 1650 Adventurer hardtops were built. 300 convertibles.
    In 58, 350 hardtops and 82 convertibles rolled out the door.

    One had their choice of three colors, white, gold, and black, pick two …. giving a total of six color combinations. White with gold top and sweep was, by far, the most common. Almost no one ordered a black/white example, although a 56 has survived that is white with black top and sweep, so it did happen.

    Like 1
  13. Burger

    Today, at least with the convertibles, the Adventurers survive in larger numbers than the similar Fireflites, on which the Adventurer model was based. You could not give any of these cars away in the 70’s and early 80’s, and as a result, many were crushed the moment they rolled past the wrecking yard gate. Today they bring stupid money. A majestic car, milestone design, rust issues and falling DEEPLY out of favor for their fins for many years, all contributed to making those that survived hotly sought after today.

    Like 3
  14. Del

    Love that Forward Look

    From pics it appears that it has not run in a long time.

    Again price high for a non-runner

  15. Burger

    Rusted-out beater sedans sell for half this guy’s asking price. What’s a decently solid coupe body, and what appears to be a complete car worth ? Complete core Hemi’s are bringing $2500. Some cars you cannot shop around to find a better one at a better price. Friends thought I was out of my mind spending $10K for my convertible decades ago when a hardtop or sedan *might” bring $1000. Some things you just buy when they present themselves or you will never get another chance. This is a REAL DeSoto, sitting on the 126″ wheelbase. It’s a coupe, it’s a minimal rust car, and it’s complete, and it might even be an all black car (?). It is the cheapie Firedome, so the interior is a little spartan and it has the
    low backglass, but when will a better example show up ?

    Like 3
  16. RicK

    Love the twin antennas

    Like 1
  17. dweezilaz

    Seeing these on the roads as 9-10 year old cars when I was the same age, they creeped me out. They looked like monsters, even though I liked them.

    Very out of place and ancient looking to me as a kid.

    I used to pretend my bike was one of these.Very sinister.

    • Burger

      You and I must be about the same age. I was a car nut from a very early age, trained up by my elders to ID any car on the road. My parents and grandparents would point to a car (in front of their friends) and ask me what it was, so I could “show off” for them. I was under the age of five. But back then, how could anyone NOT tell a Dodge from a Chevy, a 54 from a 58 ? It was easy.

      I never really attached the “monster” thing to them, but now that you mention it, it is easy to imagine. I used to ride my Stingray (still have it) around the area and stop to look at all the older cars people had in their driveways, yards, fields, etc. I was entranced by how cool some were. I wonder what these adults thought of the weird kid on a bicycle asking all these questions of them about their 59 Buick or 37 Terraplane ?

      With today’s styling based around a suppository, pre-70 cars seem so quaint and “Mayberry”.

      Like 1
  18. SLR

    I was lucky to snag a very similar condition ’57 Fireflite 2 door I stumbled across in Nevada while traveling with my wife two years ago. Like this one, wasn’t running, rubber brake hoses shot, etc, but has A/C, power brakes, power windows, and even power seat! Not many of these around, relatively speaking, so I suppose his asking price is a good start. I bought the ‘Flite for just under $10k and stuck it in storage until I went and got it this year. I

    • Burger

      A 57-58 Fireflite coupe/convertible is quite a car. One that is loaded like this is exponentially special. I have seen several dozen of these over the last 40-some years and the number I have seen with power seats and windows is less than 5. You may find these options on a sedan, but it seems that few of the 2-doors were optioned up with the real plush items. Nice find ! 👍

      • SLR

        Thank you sir. If the convertible ’58 pictured above is yours, it’s beautiful. As a former ’57 Imperial and ’58 Windsor owner, I feel very fortunate to have found the ‘Flite, which still needs to get running and driving now that it’s in Florida.

        Like 1

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