1953 Desoto Firedome Wagon – Sold!
For many GuysWithRides readers as well as this author, Chrysler’s DeSoto Division ended in 1961, well before we were born. While in production, Chrysler marketed this division’s cars awkwardly alongside similar Dodge cars that fit between entry-level Plymouths and top-of-the-line Chrysler models. When Chrysler launched its first-generation hemispherical (“hemi”) head V8-engines in the early 1950s, DeSoto branded their models equipped with this motor as “Firedomes.” We came across this nicely restored 1953 model listed on Craigslist in Arvada, Colorado with an asking price of $24,000. Comparing the ask against the current Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms it falls between this guide’s current #3 “good” estimate of $19,300 and its #2 “Excellent” appraisal of $33,500.
Here’s an excerpt from Hagerty’s Insurance online valuation summary about the DeSoto FireDome:
“The DeSoto Firedome first appeared in 1952, heralding the installation of a Hemi V-8 in the Custom Series. The engine had been available in Chryslers since 1951 but it was the first DeSoto V-8 since 1931. The 276-cid engine generated 160 hp and the new Firedome was offered as a convertible, a station wagon, six- and eight-passenger sedans, a club coupe, and a Sportsman hardtop coupe. List prices hovered around $3,000. In all, 45,830 Firedomes sold in 1952, making it the most popular model for the year.
DeSoto’s 25th anniversary in 1953 saw Firedome sales nearly double to 86,502. Styling was slightly changed, and air conditioning was introduced as an option. Changes for 1954 were limited to the introduction of Chrysler’s PowerFlite automatic transmission and a power boost to 170 hp. A high-level Coronado trim was added mid-year to the Firedome sedan, and offered a Sportsman coupe’s interior with a tri-tone paint exterior.”
Here’s a commercial for the 1953 DeSoto model line:
While we love coming across this rare car, we were disappointed the seller neglected to provide any pictures of the glorious Firedome V8. Offsetting that is the nicely restored wood-lined cargo interior of this car. If you prefer driving a rarely seen car that shares many mechanical parts with its more common Plymouth, Dodge, and Chrysler siblings, this Firedome wagon will make a great addition to your early fifties fleet. Good luck with the purchase!
Here’s the seller’s description:
“Restored classic. A true 1950s classic reborn. Everything works including clock and radio. Hemi 276 V8.All 11 chromed grill teeth. Semi-auto transmission rebuilt!. Two-tone copper/cream factory colors. WWW. Power assist brakes/steering. Wood redone inside cargo area. All reupholstered interior. Chromed bumpers, new wiring new generator and oil pump, and much more. Draws a crowd at car shows. You won’t see another one!!
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