DeSoto FireFlite Sportsman Hardtop

DeSoto had a terrific year in 1956, with the new Adventurer two-door hardtop challenging the Chrysler 300 and DeSotos pacing both the Indy 500 (at a record speed for a pace car) and Pike’s Peak Hillclimb. The highly-regarded Hemi V-8 could push the FireFlite from 0-60 mph in 10.9 seconds, on its way to 110 mph, while the Adventurer topped out at a healthy 137 mph.

DeSoto had benefited enormously from Chrysler Corporation’s 1956 makeover. Gone was the old frontal appearance, replaced by a mesh grille and a “V” badge. Tailfins altered the appearance as well, and the rear taillights were vertically stacked. Electrics were now 12 volts, with constant-speed windshield wipers; power steering was standard, and automatic transmissions had “typewriter key” push buttons on the dash. A four-door hardtop joined the lineup.

Some outrageous colors were offered too, few as striking as the car on offer. Built in Los Angeles and sold by dealers Colley & Herrick, it has been the subject of a frame-off restoration. It is dazzling in its original colors of Iridescent Lavender over Shell Pink, complemented by a pink and white cloth and leather interior, and sports Kelsey-Hayes chrome wire wheels.

This car has also collected Junior, Senior and National AACA awards, won its class at several concours and been a finalist for the 2007 Collector Car of The Year award. Most significantly it won Best of Show at the National DeSoto Club Convention. For a DeSoto collector, it does not get any better than that!

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in January of 2012 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona.

255 hp, 330 cu. in. OHV Hemi V-8 engine, Carter four-barrel carburetor, pushbutton three-speed automatic transmission, coil spring independent front suspension, semi-elliptic rear springs with live axle, hydraulic four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 126"

Source: RM Auctions

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