Description: Named after the Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto, DeSoto was founded August 4, 1928 by Walter Chrysler as a mid-priced car make to compete with rivals General Motors, Studebaker, and Willys-Knight, and when it was first unveiled in 1957, the DeSoto Firesweep was intended to do just that, to compete against the mid-priced vehicles from Ford and General Motors, among others. Offered as a less expensive alternative to DeSoto's flagship line, the Fireflite, and the newly reclassed Firedome, the Firesweep had a slightly smaller wheelbase than its bigger brothers, and was based off the Dodge Coronet's 122-inch wheelbase whereas the larger Fireflite and Firedome were based off of Chrysler's 126-inch wheelbase. Nonetheless, all three DeSoto models featured the "Forward Look" styling of Chrysler designer Virgil Exner, with lowered rooflines, and sleeker, smoother, and more aggressive styling that culminated at the rear of the cars with their distinctive tailfins, a jet-age design that came to define the automotive market during this era. Exner's new design immediately captured America's new fascination with the jet-age, and quickly catapulted Chrysler ahead of its competitors, so much so, in fact, that in June of 1957 Exner and his team were awarded the Industrial Designers' Institute's Gold Medal Award. 1957 was a blockbuster year for DeSoto sales, and in 1958 DeSoto unveiled a convertible model for the Firesweep, with 700 units made during the first year of production, of which only 12 are still known to exist.
Presented here is a 1959 DeSoto Firesweep with 3270.3 documented, original miles. Powered by a 361 cu. in. Turboflash V8, this Firesweep was ordered with a Powerflite 2-speed automatic transmission, power steering, and power brakes. According to its surviving, original window sticker, this Firesweep was also ordered with an electric clock, Auto-Temp push-button heater, back-up lights, handbrake warning light, left outside rearview mirror, Touch-Tuner radio, wheel covers, Dual-Jet windshield washers and variable speed windshield wipers, stone shields, lower rear deck panel moulding, aluminum sweep inserts with two-tone trim, and a glove box and map light, which is missing the switch. While the exterior of the Firesweep has undergone a frame-off restoration, the interior of the car is completely original. In the trunk is a period-correct spare Goodyear Custom Super Cushion 8.50-14 bias ply tire, which, according to an original Goodyear sales pamphlet, was discontinued in 1966. This coincides with the documented mileage of the car, as the last oil change it had before restoration was at 3056 miles on December 29th, 1964. It then sat for the next 50 years until it was restored by Jerry Kopecky of Classic Collectibles, now known as Kopecky's Klassics, of Iola, Wisconsin. Kopecky, an expert on Chrysler "Forward Look" cars, also restored a 1957 DeSoto that sold at Barrett-Jackson in January 2007 for a record $284,000. As one of only 596 convertibles built in 1959, this Firesweep convertible is decidedly on the rarer end of the spectrum of the Firesweep convertibles, and with only a handful known to still exist of both 1958 and 1959 models, it could well be the rarest surviving model due to its mileage. In 1958, Firesweep convertible production accounted for 3.6% of all production, and although total production went up in 1959, Firesweep convertibles accounted for only 2.8% of all production that year. That low production, along with the low documented mileage of this convertible, make it a truly one-of-a-kind car, and if you have ever wondered what it would be like to drive a brand new car from America's heyday of automobile production, this is it. This Firesweep is the closest thing to a time machine you could possibly ever get!