1958

The Exciting Look and Feel of the Future

1958 was a down year in sales for most automobile manufacturers and DeSoto was no exception, not helped by the spreading word of build quality issues in 1957. Though the body was largely unchanged from 1957, there were a few noticeable updates. First was the windshield shape on the hardtops, which now curved back into the roof. Also changed was the sweep, which ran on the upper portion of the car and kicked up in the back instead of down. Quad headlights were legal in all 50 states by the beginning of the '58 model year, so every 1958 DeSoto had them. The rear exhaust ports were pinched and the front bumper and parking lots slightly rearranged, amongst several other small details.

Perhaps the largest change for the model year was the hemi being replaced by the new wedge V8, which was lighter and produced the same power as the hemi had in 1957. Also new for 1958 was an attempt at a fuel injection option on the Adventurer model. Ultimately the technology was not ready and the handful of cars that had it were recalled and carburetors were installed instead. Fuel injected cars received a distinctive "Fuel Injection" emblem on each front fender. Spring special trim and colors were also available on all models except the Adventurer as a dress-up package, adding rocker trim, rear vertical trunk strips, and a stainless insert in the sweep.

The '58 model year would also be the last year Groucho Marx and George Fenneman would be spokesmen for the brand and the last year DeSoto sponsored "You Bet Your Life". In '59, celebrities such as Rock Hudson would fill that roll.

The National DeSoto Club maintains a registry for all known 1959 DeSotos. If you have one and would like it added to the list, please contact David Frank at fireflite56@gmail.com.

Firesweep engine: 350 c.i. 2 bbl standard

Firedome engine: 361 c.i. 2 bbl standard

Fireflite engine: 361 c.i. 4 bbl standard

Adventurer engine: 361 c.i. dual 4 bbl standard, 361 w/fuel injection optional

Wheelbase: Firesweep 122 inches, Firedome/Fireflite/Adventurer 126 inches

Los Angeles Firesweep VIN Start:

Los Angeles Firesweep VIN End:

Detroit Firesweep VIN Start:

Detroit Firesweep VIN End:

Los Angeles Firedome VIN Start:

Los Angeles Firedome VIN End:

Detroit Firedome VIN Start:

Detroit Firedome VIN End:

Los Angeles Fireflite VIN Start:

Los Angeles Fireflite VIN End:

Detroit Fireflite VIN Start:

Detroit Fireflite VIN End:

Adventurer VIN Start:

Adventurer VIN End:

Firesweep Shopper (6 Passenger) Wagons Produced: 1,305

Firesweep Explorer (9 Passenger) Wagons Produced: 1,125

Firesweep 4-Door Sedans Produced: 7,646

Firesweep 4-Door Hardtops Produced: 3,003

Firesweep 2-Door Hardtops Produced: 5,635

Firesweep Convertibles Produced: 700

Firedome 4-Door Sedans Produced: 9,505

Firedome 4-Door Hardtops Produced: 3,130

Firedome 2-Door Hardtops Produced: 4,325

Firedome Convertibles Produced: 519

Fireflite Shopper (6 Passenger) Wagons Produced: 318

Fireflite Explorer (9 Passenger) Wagons Produced: 609

Fireflite 4-Door Sedans Produced: 4,192

Fireflite 4-Door Hardtops Produced: 3,243

Fireflite 2-Door Hardtops Produced: 3,284

Fireflite Convertibles Produced: 474

Adventurer 2-Door Hardtops Produced: 350

Adventurer Convertibles Produced: 82

 

Source: The Plymouth and DeSoto Story by Don Butler