Photos by Jerry Heasley.
DeSoto was the mid-point brand in the Chrysler Corporation hierarchy (Plymouth, Dodge, DeSoto, Chrysler, Imperial). Production ran from 1928 to 1961. The mid-Fifties were good times for DeSoto, and those years produced some of the most daring, handsome Mopars ever.
Of particular interest were the DeSoto Adventurer models that debuted in 1956. The Adventurer was the brand’s first supercar, designed as a more affordable version of the legendary Chrysler 300 letter series. The 1956 Adventurer was highlighted with gold paint (two-tone white and gold) with gold anodized trim items including the wheel covers.
The gold and white theme was continued on the totally restyled 1957 Adventurer, as seen here on Milton Robson’s stunning gold convertible. The gold theme is used throughout the interior, including the steering wheel. The showpiece wheel covers with the “DeS” logo look like a monogram on an expensively tailored dress shirt.
Chrysler’s year of big fins was in 1957. The DeSoto fins start at the back of the doors and soar, jet-like, to the stacked triple lens taillights. The chrome-encased taillights could stand alone as sculptures. Such was the influence of Virgil Exner, who was made Vice President of Styling in 1957. Quad headlights appeared on most Mopar products in 1957, beating GM and Ford by a year.
Besides being a long, swoopy car, the 1957 DeSoto was also a wide one. From the rear, the fins canted outward, and the massive bumper had exhaust ports at each end. The long, thin bumper/grille accentuated the width of the car’s nose, as did the quad headlights.
Daring design continued under the hood, where a 345hp Hemi resided. The twin Carter four-barrel carburetors are topped by offset individual air cleaners.
All 1957-1959 DeSoto Adventurers (hardtops and convertibles) are very desirable, but the very limited convertible production (less than 500 over three years) makes them among the most sought-after Fifties Mopars.
Owner: Milton Robson, Oakwood, Georgia
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The mid-Fifties were good times for DeSoto.
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Published Dec 31st, 1969