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Vintage Mopar #2: 1948 DeSoto


Big Fun, Vintage Mopar #1 was a 1947 DeSoto, we posted recently here on Barn Finds. While we’re all about the rust and the dust, it has come to our attention that nice, shiny cars are worth attention occasionally as well. Whether you’ve asked or not, Barn Finds delivers.


We think this dark green beauty is a nice contrast to the non-restored black 1947 model in the previous post. This one is for sale here on craigslist and is located in southern Illinois. The asking price is $14,000.


It looks as good as it does because it has received a full frame-off restoration. The seller suggests it might be a good idea to own something different than the standard Ford or Chevy everyone else already has at the car show. I can’t disagree with that logic.


The interior is said to have been professionally restored, as well as the mechanical components. I’m not sure I’m in love with the dark green seat fabric, but it does make a visual impact. The suicide doors are always interesting too.


Strong visual impact also comes to mind when I see this steering wheel and dash. Love it or hate it, it looks like no effort was spared reconditioning all of it.


This is one of several photos posted in the ad that shows evidence of that effort, with the bare frame undergoing re-assembly. I suspect the seller has plenty more, and they would be nice to have with the car.


It looks as good under the hood as it does inside. Also apparent that not much expense was spared on chrome plating. And I’d hazard a guess that this was probably a fairly nice car to begin with.


The black car was $1,000. This one is $14,000. While there probably isn’t much debate possible on the raw economics of it, it all depends on what your plans are. Which one of these cars strikes your fancy, and why?


  1. Avatar photo Alan Brase

    Not quite original material, but those seats just make you wish for a drive in theater.

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  2. Avatar photo grant

    Was about to say, the seat material is the same as in my 93 suburban, also I’m pretty sure the steering wheel wasn’t leather wrapped from the factory. So a bit over restored, but who wouldn’t want this in the garage?

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  3. Avatar photo KO

    Buy the nicest affordable example applies here. I’ll take this one and skip the whole resto process.

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  4. Avatar photo Alan Brase

    I’d skip the whole RESTORATION PROCESS as well; just buy the cheap one and fix what needs it.
    I don’t need a car with a shiny frame or engine block to enjoy a drive down the road. Be nice if it steers and stops well. (One of the only changes I’d make would be try to get a dual circuit brake system.) Heater, defroster and glass and seats. Touch up and blend the paint.
    I think you could have functional driving car for $3-4k. Would the nice one be 3.5 times as good? Just because somebody put new bearings in the transmission doesn’t mean it will last longer than the original. There is a pretty steep learning curve on repair of some of these old systems. It is just arrogance thinking a guy with a sandblaster and black paint can do it as good as the guy that built them for 20 years on a line.
    I’ve fixed some things more than once. It’s pretty humbling and makes me not trust just anybody’s work.Just remember, some of those parts will go a million miles. Why buy new? You might just make it worse.

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  5. Avatar photo Ed P

    I would buy this one and enjoy keeping it in this condition. Restoring the black Desoto would probably require more than the price difference, and I like my cars to look like new.

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  6. Avatar photo Ben T Spanner

    I’m old. The first car I remember was my father’s 1948 Desoto convertible. Gray with dark red interior. I do remember the add on turn signal control.
    He had driven junk through WWII and was afraid the Korean War would halt new car production, so he bought a new 1951 Dodge Wayfarer convertible, also gray, off the showroom floor.
    I was thrilled riding through the doors to the lot. There was no back seat, so we went to a junkyard and purchased a bus seat that fit and had it recovered. I really loved the junkyard, and I still like them.

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  7. Avatar photo 68custom

    seems like a real good deal for 14K, owner probably has a lot more in the restoration.

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  8. Avatar photo G 1

    Where are the front arm rests ?

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  9. Avatar photo TC

    Didn’t Mr Cunningham drive one of these on “Happy Days”?

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  10. Avatar photo Curt

    And a nice FULTON SUN SHIELD !! Kinda rare now, but I saw one yesterday on an ugly old car.

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