1953 DeSoto Firedome 276 V8 Hemi from North America


Amazing hemi purr fronted by the mother of all grilles


After being stored for 2 years, surprisingly little was needed to get this car running. After about 500 miles she has been trouble-free. I need to fix the radio, clock and speedometer cable, but thankfully I can drive her as is. A few rust spots will need to be addressed.

General Comments:

This was my first pre-1960s car purchase. After driving it, it likely won't be my last. I am shocked at the clean purr of the engine and the smooth shifting of the semi-automatic "tip-toe" transmission. It took a little bit of practice to get the tip-toe shift down, but now it's easy and smooth.

This car has the power steering option, making it a joy to drive. You sit up nice and high, like in a mid-sized SUV. Bumps and rough roads are handled comfortably.

This car arguably has the mother of all grilles, with big chrome teeth in a wide grin. I get heads turning and thumbs up everywhere I go...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th June, 2016

16th Jun 2016, 18:36

If you plan on using this as a daily driver, then how about reporting back here with an update in a year or two, when the "bloom is off the rose" so to speak.

17th Jun 2016, 10:50

Love that last comment. Here's my take on collector cars. You need regular insurance if you drive everyday. You worry about leaving them at shopping centers and crowded lots. If you plan on having beers at a tavern, plan on being highly visible driving late. They are easy to steal and have valuable parts on them. You wonder if they will start, especially at night. The old ones still using manual and drum brakes can be a bear to drive. And harder to see with the old beams. With all that in mind, I only own 3 old ones in mint condition! They are on collector insurance and see weekends only.

19th Jun 2016, 21:18

I don't use any of my classics as daily drivers, but I do drive them around 5k miles/year. I plan on holding onto this Desoto for a while, so will certainly report back after 5k miles or so...

22nd Jun 2016, 01:08

I started driving in 1969. I had a few hand me down domestic sedans. One was a 67 Buick Special and later a 68 Cutlass 350. I wanted something sportier after college. These 2 cars were still circulated throughout the family. Daily driven.

My point is the cars from that era were simple and very reliable. Part of the reason many are not driven daily today is rust concerns. Even washing cars, water would become trapped behind the chrome mouldings. Especially the rear window.

I drove these cars many miles without issue. Today I have ones that have mods like headers, different rears etc that are great for performance, but not for everyday. If I had one for everyday, it would be a 350 V8 2 BBL automatic with stock manifolds. And air. And drive anywhere on long trips. It's when you get caught up in performance, high end paint and restorations they languish weekdays in a garage. In turn old elements like manual steering and drum brakes and points etc can do the same.

My favorite cars are mid 60s to 1972. That's a narrow window. After that anti pollution smog devices and electric ignition issues were common in mid 70s. I can pick many domestics that could be considered classics and daily driven however. Not so much from the 50s and prior. Sometimes the 60s cars needed tune ups and plugs, but that was simple as well.