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My 1948 Custom Club Coupe
I bought a 1948 Custom Club Coupe this past November. As far as I know, she is all original. One minor modification I found is someone has added brake lights in the tail lights. She has roughly 63,000 miles on the odometer and I've driven her about 200 miles so far. All of the chrome had been replated before I bought her.
The things that need to be done that I know of are: putting the trim back on that is not currently on her, install the rubber around the doors and trunk which is currently missing, fix the brakes which currently has to be pumped to stop, fix an oil leak around the drain plug, fix a small leak in the rear, fix a leak at the carburetor, figure out why she doesn't shift properly and why she won't go above 45 mph.
Things I want to do are: rewire everything, replace the gas tank which has been patched, get any components that aren't working repaired (radio, clock, heater, wipers, etc), add any extras that were available back then that she doesn't have (visor, backup lights, fog lights etc) except for the spot lights as I don't want to put those holes in her and I really don't like them.
She is currently covered and waiting for warmer weather to start on any of the projects she needs.
What a great looking car! I love the interior color.
I see you are from Maryland; have you joined the DeSoto Owners Club of Maryland? They are an awesome group and are very knowledgeable on 48 DeSotos and the issue you are having with being limited to 45 mph sounds like a Tip-Toe-Drive not shifting into high range. They can also help you sort out all of the other issues you are having. it's great to be in the National DeSoto Club, but it is even greater to belong to a local chapter that has a group of DeSoto experts to assist you in your issues.
I definitely second getting in touch with the Maryland chapter of the club - they are one of our most active chapters and they do monthly workshops at a member's garage!