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Anankin

Help identifying Desoto

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Anankin    1

Hi there

 

For a while now, we have a Desoto in our possesion. However, we call it an anamoly.

I have never seen a Desoto like this before and I cannot find anything similar on the internet. It is a very large limousine with two bog rear doors.

Our papers (original ones) tells us its a Desoto Diplomat De Luxe M/58 of 1959. Dashboard has Fireflite emblems.

FCA America and FCA Canada were unable to help us.

Anyone who can help us?

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Anankin    1

Oh, we didn't know you could request custom built body Desotos. Is it worth anything and can you still find parts for it (for example, from a fireflite)?

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keiser31    976

It is quite different and I would say, yes, it wold be a good one to restore. Of course, it is like any other car project. It will probably never get back the money you will put into it. I like oddball and rare cars, so I would do it. I would say that most of the parts could be found aside from the special rear door trim. That would have to be saved.

Edited by keiser31 (see edit history)

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nzcarnerd    206

Interesting that the owner says the original papers list it as a Diplomat.  The rear end features look more like a regular US DeSoto.  The Diplomat is quite different.

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nzcarnerd    206

Curiosity about this one lead me to look up the Diplomat and I found this amongst a bunch of pics on flickr, many taken in my home town Christchurch   -  

1959 DeSoto Diplomat DeLuxe 4 door Sedan

That style of plate, in dark red with a star, was used up to mid 1961 when they were changed to yellow with a full stop  -   PA_NZEA_GI1.jpg

Edited by nzcarnerd (see edit history)

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Anankin    1

Thanks for the help already guys!

Restoring will take long though, so we aren't sure if we want to put our time / money in it. Is there someone out there who can value this car (which has knowledge of it ofcourse)?

FCA wasn't able to provide input (asked the contact person if he has ever seen something like this, didn't really answer), so it's great to receive some answers here!

 

Well, the owner says it is a Diplomat and so does the official booklet of customs (and governement, CoC) that we have. We have all the papers that belonged to this car, which gave us some small hints to search for.

 

The dashboard has a "FireFlite" emblem so we know it shares some parts with that.

If someone wants some more pictures, let me know, I have a couple more!

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Anankin    1

You said it looked like an American Desoto by the looks of the rear, which gots us thinking. We checked out the car, and found out the car VIN does not match the one in the booklet. However, we did find out it is indeed an American built Desoto by looking at the VIN on the chassis. Even found an old DMW paper (title nr, vin nr, ...). Did some Googling around, we are now sure it is a Fireflite. Back to the FCA it is!

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Chrycoman    30

You could ask FCA if they have the build record for your car.  It was built in the U.S. (Fireflites were not built in Canada after 1956) so they might have it.  That would give you some information on who ordered the car and what it had when new.   (If it was exported from Detroit to New Zealand by Chrysler, they might not have it)

 

The car was originally built as a normal Fireflite sedan and some owner had the car extended.   That was not uncommon in the era before the arrival of wagons based on compact truck vans (Dodge Sportsman, for example).  Six and eight door sedans were built for airport limousine use.  These were done by firms such as Armbruster and Stageway who extended sedans and wagons.  These extended vehicles were not built or ordered by Chrysler, but by the customers that purchased the regular vehicles.  Thus FCA would have no knowledge of these vehicles after they left their plants.

 

The export 1957-59 Diplomat used the same front grille as the DeSoto Firesweep, so it is not surprising this DeSoto looks like a Diplomat from the front end.

 

Is there another serial number for this vehicle - other than the one the factory placed on the car in 1959?   There is a possibility another serial number was assigned to the car when it arrived in New Zealand.  Trying to figure out the "M/58"   Chrysler used the letter "M" for the 1959 model year. 

 

Bill

Vancouver, BC

 

 

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uh6077    20

Perhaps it was used as a car to carry around diplomats and that is what the paperwork is referring to. Value is going to hard. A limo will be worth quite a bit less than a stock Fireflite just because it is not a car you can just drive around town easily. BUT if you can find proof that it has a historical connection or was used to carry a famous politician then the value would increase. Restoring would have to be a labor of love because the cost will far exceed any value

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59 Explorer    0

The car started out as a 1959 Desoto Fireflite 4 door sedan and was probably sold by F A Roethke Motors in Norfork VA (from the dealer tag)

 

Car would be shipped to a custom shop for added work

 

There should be a metal tag with the VIN by the driver's side door hinge looking like M451 1xxxxx

 

There should also be a data plate on the radiator splash shield down low to the right or by the driver's side door hinge with the top line looking like 0217 453 M451 1xxxxx 3xx AAA

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kalve    11

See if FCA could tell you who the first owner was or dealership sold the car. Also is it a left or right hand drive car?

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Rusty_OToole    439

You do not give your location so I have to guess, somewhere outside North America. This is based on the fact that the DeSoto Diplomat was an export only model. I believe it had a lot of Plymouth in it, or was a Plymouth with DeSoto trim.

 

DeSoto did not build a limousine. The stretch job must have been done by a local body shop or coachbuilder. We have coachbuilders today who build stretch limousines but never saw one with a back door 2 meters long.

 

Is it possible it was built as an ambulance or to transport disabled people who were confined to a wheelchair? The long door seems very odd.

 

Later... A web search revealed that the Diplomat was a Plymouth body with DeSoto grille and trim. But the car shown has DeSoto rear tail fins and tail lights. So it was evidently an American DeSoto. How it got the Diplomat name I do not know. If you are in the US or Canada, I wonder if the body conversion company called it the Diplomat model because they could get the emblems from DeSoto?

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)

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