CHASSIS NO: 50424347
• Rare finned 1950s convertible
• Virgil Exner-inspired tail fins
• Best in Class at Keels & Wheels Concours
• Adventurer upgraded drivetrain and trim
345 cid V-8 engine, three-speed automatic transmission, independent front torsion and rear leaf suspension, four-wheel hydraulic power drum brakes; wheelbase: 126”
The DeSoto Division of the Chrysler Corporation was in its 29th year of life when Fireflite proudly displayed its high sweeping fins. Placed as the mid-range brand between the low-priced Plymouth and the higher-end Chrysler, DeSoto was also marketed with bright exterior colors and high-performance engines for the growing enthusiast market. The DeSoto’s styling was an extension of the famed body designer Virgil Exner’s ‘Forward Look’ design language. The upward sweeping fins and lower bodyside color sweep panel enhanced its length and elegance. DeSoto sported several unique engineering features such as the Hemi V-8 engine with its prodigious torque and its smooth Torsion-Aire Ride suspension, which utilizes torsion bars instead of the common coil springs. Another unique feature was the “push-button drive selector” that controlled the now legendary TorqueFlite transmission.
The 1957 Fireflite convertible had a very low production of 1,151. This example received a full restoration in 2002 by one of the foremost restorers of 1950s Chryslers. During its restoration, it was upgraded to the Adventurer drivetrain and trim. This includes the 345 cubic-inch Hemi motor (350 HP) and unique trim such as a steering wheel clock, special order carpeting and factory AM radio.
Following its extensive restoration, it was sold to Maserati collector Alfredo Brener of Houston, Texas. It won Best in Class at the nationally recognized Keels & Wheels Concours in Seabrook, Texas. By 2010, it was in the collection of the founder of an East Coast concours. He would invest $20,000 into cosmetic detailing, including exterior paint, brightwork, engine bay and undercarriage detailing and new convertible fabric for its power top. Original factory options for this Fireflite are present, including power windows, power seats and the padded dashboard. Added during its restoration were power steering and power brakes. This Fireflite, with its premium Adventurer engine and trim, is a superb example of classic American 1950s styling; bold, beautiful and larger-than-life.