DeSoto Firedome

1958 DeSoto Firedome Convertible

Offered by Mecum | Kissimmee, Florida | January 4-15, 2022

Photo – Mecum

The DeSoto marque was founded by Walter Chrysler shortly after he took over Maxwell and founded Chrysler. DeSoto was set to compete with the likes of Pontiac and Willys in the mid-price range. Well, they did so for the next 30 years, but the brand was wound up in 1961.

In the late 1950s, Chrysler’s brands were competing against each other, which was a major reason DeSoto was axed. DeSoto introduced a few upmarket, expensive cars during that time, including the Firedome and Fireflite. DeSoto’s 1957-1959 styling was one of Chrysler’s great ideas of the 1950s. In 1958, The Firedome was powered by a 5.9-liter V8 rated at 295 horsepower. The Firedome slotted in the lineup below the Fireflite and Adventurer.

Convertible production in 1958 totaled just 519 units for the Firedome, making the body style rarer on this platform than in the upmarket Fireflite. This one is finished in a lovely ’50s two-tone green paint scheme with a matching interior. You can check out more about it here.

Update: Sold $198,000.

’56 DeSoto Fireflite

1956 DeSoto Fireflite Convertible

Offered by Barrett-Jackson | Palm Beach, Florida | April 12-15, 2018

Photo – Barrett-Jackson

DeSoto was introduced as a new marque by Walter Chrysler for the 1929 model year and in 1933 Chrysler took it upmarket. In 1955 they introduced the Fireflite as their top-level car. For 1956 the cars were mostly carried over, but the introduction of the Adventurer put the Fireflite as the mid-level car in DeSoto’s lineup.

For 1956 the Fireflite could be had in four different body styles (plus a limited package on the convertible to commemorate the car’s use as the Indy 500 Pace car in 1956). A non-Pacesetter Convertible would’ve run you $3,454 in 1956 and 1,485 were built (pace cars included).

Power came from a 255 horsepower, 5.4-liter V-8. A no expense spared frame-off restoration was performed and the car wears two-tone Shell Pink and Charcoal. It looks like ice cream on wheels. DeSoto Convertibles always bring big money at Barrett-Jackson auctions, but most of those are ’57 or ’58 cars. It’ll be interesting to see if this beautiful car brings as much. It is coming from the famous John Staluppi Cars of Dreams Collection. You can read more here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Sold $225,500.

April 2013 Auction Round-Up

We’ll start with Mecum’s Houston sale which included our featured, all-original Mercury Voyager wagon, which failed to sell. Our featured pair of NASCAR-themed Mercury Cyclone Spoiler IIs both sold – the Yarborough Special bringing $26,000, while the Gurney special only brought $22,000. Top sale went to this 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 429 Fastback for $220,000.

1970 Ford Mustang Boss 429 Fastback photo 1970FordMustangBoss429Fastback_zps5e9a2272.jpg

And from the “anything can show up at one of these sales” file, this 1972 Toyota Corona Mark II Wagon, which sold for $8,500. For full results, click here.

1972 Toyota Corona Mark II Wagon photo 1972ToyotaCoronaMarkIIWagon_zpsa6099b8d.jpg

On to Barrett-Jackson’s annual Palm Beach sale. Our featured Opel GT sold for $6,050. I was right on with my “how to buy a foreign sports coupe on the cheap” comment. Our featured Dodge D-100 Sweptside pickup brought $73,700. The top (real) sale was this 1968 Shelby GT500 Convertible for $330,000. (I say “real” because cars sold for charity always bring inflated results. There are no brand-new Corvette convertibles worth $1 million. Not even serial #001. Rich people pay big money for these cars to get a tax write off… I mean “to donate to a good cause”).

1968 Shelby GT500 Convertible photo 1968ShelbyGT500Convertible_zps67206b45.jpg

If I had to pick an “interesting sale” I would go with this gorgeous 1956 DeSoto Fireflite Sportsman that sold for $40,150 – which is a good price for a car that looks this good. Check out complete results here.

1956 DeSoto Fireflite Sportsman photo 1956DeSotoFirefliteSportsman_zpse7f0f12b.jpg

Next up was H&H’s sale at the Imperial War Museum in England. Top sale went to this 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing for $1,021,000.

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL photo 1955Mercedes-Benz300SL_zps44f99fcd.jpg

Our featured Jaguar XJ220 Prototype failed to sell. “Interesting results” honors are split between two cars. First this 1969 Mazda Luce R130 Coupe sold for $25,500.

1969 Mazda Luce R130 Coupe photo 1969MazdaLuceR130Coupe_zpsd53e65b9.jpg

And finally, this 1989 Eltrans Mini-El sold for $2,200. Check out full results here.

1989 Eltrans Mini-El photo 1989EltransMini-El_zpsca2f5df3.jpg

Next up is Mecum’s Kansas City sale. Our featured Mitsubishi 3000GT Convertible conversion sold for $14,500. Interesting sales were led by this affordable and attractive 1969 Mercury Cyclone Fastback for $12,250.

1969 Mercury Cyclone Fastback photo 1969MercuryCycloneFastback_zps5135ffa8.jpg

Top sale went to this 1936 Ahrens-Fox BT Fire Truck. Early Ahrens-Fox fire engines are some of the most collectible fire trucks out there. This one sold for $125,000 (yes, I realize the photo shows it crossing the block for $135,000). Check out full results here.

1936 Ahrens-Fox BT Fire Truck photo 1936Ahrens-FoxBTFireTruck_zps65010ff9.jpg

Next up is the Don Davis Collection, which was offered at no reserve by RM Auctions on April 27. The top sale went to this 1967 Ferrari 330 GTS for $1,936,000. Pictured below that was a million-dollar car (just barely): a 1965 Shelby Cobra 289 which brought $1,001,000.

1967 Ferrari 330 GTS photo ScreenHunter_04_zpsea32638e.jpg

1965 Shelby Cobra 289 photo ScreenHunter_05_zpsf4ab5723.jpg

Our featured Toyota 2000GT brought an eye-popping $1,155,000 – surely a world record for a Japanese car at auction. Anther feature car, the Porsche 356 by Drauz, sold for $137,500. This 1955 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing sold for $1,237,500.

1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL photo 1955Mercedes-Benz300SL_zps9f2627c4.jpg

Other feature cars that sold included a pair of Chryslers. First, the Newport Dual-Cowl Indy 500 Pace Car sold for $880,000. Then the GS-1 Special by Ghia brought $616,000. This 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spider sold for $1,650,000.

1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spider photo 1973Ferrari365GTB4DaytonaSpider_zps73f93d7f.jpg

Our final two feature cars are the F-Code Ford Thunderbird which sold for $198,000. And the BMW M1 went for $ 242,000. Check out complete results here.

Now we move on to Auctions America’s 2013 Spring Carlisle sale. The top sale (by a recent margin) went to this 1959 Chevrolet Corvette Big Brake Fuelie for $148,500.

1959 Chevrolet Corvette Big Brake Fuelie photo 1959ChevroletCorvetteBigBrakeFuelie_zpsa16ae50f.jpg

Finally, Bonhams sale at the RAF Museum in Hendon, U.K. The top sale there was a 1955 Jaguar XK140 Drophead Coupe for $194,500.

1955 Jaguar XK140 Drophead Coupe photo 1955JaguarXK140DropheadCoupe_zps0da2f79b.jpg

The most interesting car at this sale was this 1917 Fiat 15/20hp Tipo 2B Wagonette. I love the dually rear wheels. It sold for $34,000. Our featured AC Royal brought $26,900. Click here for full results.

1917 Fiat 15/20hp Tipo 2B Wagonette photo 1917Fiat15-20hpTipo2BWagonette_zps84cbc668.jpg

Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Highlights Pt. II

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday – but especially Saturday – are the big days at Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale, Arizona. The past few years have seen this event be strictly a No Reserve auction with every car that crosses the block selling, but this year there were some heavy-hitters in the auction’s new “5000 Series” of classics that did in fact have a reserve. And not all of them were met – like the 1955 Flajole Forerunner we featured a few weeks ago: it was a no-sale.

A few of the other cars we featured did sell – and for a boatload of money. The 1930 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A by Castagna sold for $1,100,000. The 1928 Daimler Double Six P.1.50 Limousine brought $1,155,000. The 1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Town Car was hammered sold for $1,045,000. Another “bargain” was the 1954 DeSoto Adventurer II which sold for $1,430,000. Keep in mind, all of this happened within about an hour’s time.

One car we didn’t feature was this 1947 Bentley Mark VI by Franay:

It came from the collection of collector Ron Pratte and sold for $2,750,000, which was just barely more than I was going to offer to pay for it. The other mega-sales included the 1933 Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow. The live television broadcast of the auction showed an overhead shot of the Silver Arrow and the lines of that car are actually perfect. It is breathtaking. It sold for $2,200,000. And the top sale of the entire auction was the 1948 Tucker Torpedo (also from Ron Pratte’s collection) which was hammered away for an astounding $2,915,000 – about three times my estimate of $1 million.

The only other million dollar sale was this all-original 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing:

$2,200,000 brought this car home. It only had 4,149 original miles on it and was one of 146 Gullwings built that year. Other highlights from Saturday included a 2009 Devon GTX – one of just two produced. It’s a Dodge Viper-based supercar that went out of production as quickly as it entered it because the Viper was axed just after the GTX was announced.

A 650 horsepower American supercar that was originally supposed to cost $500,000 sold for $220,000.

Another car that has started to interest me a little more is this Chevrolet Corvette 2003 Commemorative Edition built by Advanced Automotive Technologies. It’s a standard 2002 Corvette with a custom built body. Coachbuilding isn’t quite as vogue as it used to be but I think over time these cars won’t depreciate wildly like some other “customs.” It sold for $66,000. Another one sold on Friday for $88,000.

And of course ultra-rare muscle cars are the order of the day at Barrett-Jackson. Among Saturdays highlights was this barn-find (yet mechanically “refreshed”) 1965 Shelby GT350. I hope whoever bought it doesn’t restore it – although they paid a pretty penny for it at $385,000. 

Another rare Ford was this 1969 Ford Talladega Prototype. This car was built by Ford for Ford. It’s the only red Ram Air Talladega built. Regular Talladegas aren’t something you see everyday, much less a factory prototype. $137,500 sale price. Oh, and do everyone a favor. If you’re going to sell your car at auction and you‘re responsible for the photography: get a quality camera.

Friday also had its share of highlights including the Nash Bridges Cuda we featured. Last time it sold it was right at about $150,000. This time it sold for $88,000. Other interesting Friday cars included this 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge Ram Air III Convertible ($158,400).

There were a pair of ultra-rare and very famous 1960s drag cars. First, this 1964 Ford Thunderbolt sold for $242,000.

And right after that crossed the block, this 1968 Plymouth Barracuda Super Stock rolled across. It’s an actual “Mr. Five & Fifty” drag car built by Hurst for Chrysler. It also sold for $242,000.

Something from the quirky side was this 1929 Ford Model A Snow Bird built by B.P. Arps Company of Wisconsin. This was something that was done back in 1929 and there are multiple of them out there. It could have been yours for $66,000.

In 1987, Buick took their not-your-daddy’s-Regal Grand National and souped it up to 276 horsepower and 360 lb-ft torque and called it the GNX. They built 547 of them and recently that have become the most collectible American car of the 1980s. This time capsule example with only 1,200 miles on it sold for $88,000. For a 1980s Buick.

The only thing truly odd to cross the block on Sunday was this 1971 Kelsen Sports Rider Electric. It was a street-legal microcar built in from 1963-1973 in California. There were a number of companies who built similar vehicles and I’m not sure I’d drive any of them on the street. A golf course, maybe. When new in 1971 it cost $1,295. It sold on Sunday for $1,540. It’s not really appreciation if you’ve had to sit on it for 40 years to make $250. I used to have a ’92 Century – maybe I should have held on to it and used it to start a retirement fund.

There were also hundreds of other interesting cars. Check out full results at Barrett-Jackson’s website.

DeSoto Adventurer II Concept Car

1954 DeSoto Adventurer II Coupe

Offered by Barrett-Jackson, Scottsdale, Arizona, January 15-22, 2012

The DeSoto Adventurer was a regular production model sold from 1956 through 1960. During it’s run, it was the best DeSoto you could buy. However, a few years prior to its introduction, Chrysler commissioned a series of beautiful concept cars, The DeSotos bore the Adventurer name (the Dodges were called Firearrows).

This is the Adventurer II – and it’s the only one. It has a sleek, jet-age body designed and built by Ghia in Italy. This car is an extension of the Ghia Supersonic cars that they built around the Fiat 8V – and the 1955 Ghia Gilda borrows a lot from the Adventurer II. It featured the Hemi engine of the day and was originally owned by King Mohammed V or Morocco.

This is another car coming from The Blackhawk Collection so you know it’s in fantastic shape and has been lovingly cared for. A few years ago Barrett-Jackson sold a Dodge Firearrow concept car for about $1 million. This car is far better looking and worth every penny of the Dodge, if not more. Fore more info, click here and more on the Barrett-Jackson auction here.

Update: Sold $1,430,000.