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1960 Desoto  

Estimable Member

H All,

The 1947 Desoto Suburban that we have been driving, as our daily driver - no modern car, since 2003 is in real need of some work. It will also need a new paint job which to do it correct means I have to take the whole thing apart.

With our new place out of San Francisco, that has a lift :-), that will make it a little more easy on my aging back.

Between now and then however, I need something to drive. I do not want to drive every day here in San Francisco my restored 1949 Desoto Convertible.

I noted a 1960 Fireflite in the club classified. It says it has a 261 with 2-4BBls. I thought the 383 was the only engine that year with 2-4BBL's.

It is a 4 door sedan, although we are mostly looking at 1956 to 1961 Desoto or Chrysler or Imperial 4 door hardtops. Lots of trunk and easy access for the guys when we go to lunch.

I had a LOT of 1963 Chrysler 300-K's in the 1980's and 1990's. Both hardtops and convertibles. So, I know the basics of the cars.

Can anyone who has a good working knowledge of the 1956 to 1960 Desoto's chime in and tell me what to look for if I want to inquire on this car or a Desoto of that time frame?

I am well versed in the 1963 to 1966 MOPAR's from my youth and of course the 1946 to 1951 Desoto and Chryslers. But the late 50's and early 60's is not my strong suit. Each generation of these cars has the good and bad points. Some education on these would be helpful.

Thanks, James.

Posted : October 25, 2018 9:20 pm
Reputable Member

Hello James,

'55s through '59s had lots of rust issues: front fender caps over the headlights, lower front fenders, rocker panels, rear quarter dog legs, rear quarter lower panels behind the wheel opening, front cowl, lower trunk lid, and some had rust issues around the rear back glass. If you can find one of these that has spent its life outside the rustbelt and/or away from salt water, you will be much better off.

Mechanically, they were pretty darn good. '55s still had 6 volt electrical systems. Push button automatics started with the '56 models (Powerflite) with Torqueflite available on the '57s and up. Yeah I know, some late '56 Imperials and 300s supposedly had Torqueflites but were not that common.

'60 models went to the unibody construction but most of the mechanicals carried over from previous models and were still quite good. '55s through '61s are the Forward Look family of Chrysler products.

I'm sure others will have some good insight as well. Keep your eyes and ears open and find the best one you can within your budget. 4 door sedans are the most plentiful it seems and your chances of finding a good one of these are better than the hardtops - especially the 2 door models which generally command higher prices. Station Wagons and convertibles fall into this "high dollar" category as well. I can guarantee you from personal experience, one of these in a 4 door sedan that is attractive in good to excellent condition will get you all the fun, excitement, and attention you can stand at a more reasonable cost.

With all the modern cars being mostly 4 door sedans these days, the ones of the Forward Look era hold their own very well with the modern day crowd.

Good luck in your search.

"It's delightful, it's delovely, it's DeSoto"

Posted : October 30, 2018 1:53 am
Trusted Member

I'll just add to Fred's comments about rust that the '60 and '61 Chryslers and DeSotos were notorious for rusting around the trunk lip under/near the rubber seal.

Posted : November 2, 2018 3:54 am