This 1955 DeSoto V-8 has been owned by the same owner for 54 years. The car was purchased new in 1955 and remained with the owner its entire life. The car has its original documentation including title, registration and monthly installment payment records.
This was the first year of the 'Forward Look' by Virgil Exner. Currently, it shows 26,000 original miles. It has its original interior with period seat covers installed by the dealer. There is a 'Flite-Control' shifter and has never been used in the winter. By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2009
Sold for $30,800 at 2012 Barrett-Jackson. Sold for $28,600 at 2014 Barrett-Jackson. This vehicle is a DeSoto Fireflite Sportsman 2-Door Hardtop that has been upgraded with the Adventurer 325/345HP Hemi engine. Much of the bright work has either been re-chromed or polished. The radio is the DeSoto optional search model and is currently in working condition. By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2015
In 1955 the DeSoto Fireflite was wider and longer than previous DeSoto models. It came equipped with a V8 engine and PowerFlite automatic transmission. Multiple colors were used to highlight design details such as the fang-shaped panels. The windshield was DeSotos first wrap-around design. The interior was new and slightly radical with a dual cockpit gull wing theme. The PowerFlite automatic was operated by a Flite-Control lever located on the dashboard. There was ample space to accommodate six adults comfortably. The bench seats were long and comfortable, available in leather upholstery. Under the hood lurked a powerful V8 engine producing 255 horsepower. It could propel the car from zero-to-sixty in less than eleven seconds with a top speed of 110 miles-per-hour. This was more standard horsepower than most other manufacturers were offering on their vehicles.
The DeSoto was more than an exercise in design it was a unique riding experience. For the driver and passengers the engine and road noise was practically not existent. The suspension was smooth and there was comfortable performance. It was a lot of car for the money. The 1955 DeSoto's sold extremely well with over 114,765 examples produced, the best for the company since 1946. For 1956 DeSoto continued to climb the automotive industry ladder reaching 11th place in total production with 110,418 examples. However, this trend was temporary for the company; in five years time it was out of business.
In 1956 a gold and white Fireflite convertible was the official pace car for the 1956 Indianapolis 500, a prestigious responsibility. The word 'DeSoto' adorned the doors, painted in large block letters. On the raceway was a fitting slogan, 'DeSoto Sets the Pace.'
For 1957 the DeSoto appearance was modified with the help of Chrysler Corporation's head stylist, Virgil Exner. The design was bold and radical with tail fins, dual oval exhaust, and triple lens taillights. At speed, the tail fins served a purpose by improve stability. The versatility of the Fireflite was expanded with the addition of a station wagon. The cars built during 1957 were spectacular in design but poor in quality. Some of the models leaked and were unable to keep the rain out of the vehicle during a storm. Other had defective transmissions, power steering units, radiators, and a slew of the other problems. Many were prone to early rusting. This was the down fall that DeSoto endured and ultimately, unable to recover.
The DeSoto Fireflite was an exquisite car with bold styling and proven performance. By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2007
Nine rare and important Chrysler Concept Cars from the forties, fifties and sixties will be presented together for the first time at the 19th annual Amelia Island Concours dElegance on March 9, 2014.