AJ’s Car of the Day: 1957 Desoto Fireflite Sportsman

AJ’s Car of the Day: 1957 Desoto Fireflite Sportsman

Car: DeSoto Fireflite Sportsman

Year: 1957

What makes it special: Fireflite produced by DeSoto from 1955 to 1960. Introduced in 1955, it was De Soto’s flagship model. It was wider and longer than previous DeSoto models and it came equipped with a V8 engine producing 200 hp when equipped with the 4-barrel carburetor and PowerFlite automatic transmission. The transmission was operated by a Flite-Control lever located on the dashboard. The car weighed 4,070 lbs and cost $3,544. Equipping it with an AM radio was a $110 option.

What made it famous: Fireflite’s appearance for 1957 was redesigned with the help of Chrysler Corporation head stylist, Virgil Exner. The design was bold and radical with large tail fins, dual oval exhaust and triple-lens taillights. The tail fins were not only aesthetic, but helped to stabilize the car at high speeds. A four-headlight system was optional for both the Fireflite and DeSoto Firedome models that year. The DeSoto Firesweep Polyhead V8’s were introduced with a bore and stroke of 3.6875 in X 3.800 in. for 325 cid. 2-barrel V8 was rated at 240 hp while the 4-barrel version produced 260 hp. The 330 cid Hemi engine was replaced by a Hemi which was 341 cid. The 2-barrel carburetor produced 270 hp while the 4-barrel version was rated at 295 hp. Both engines had a 9.25:1 compression ratio. Also in 1957, a station wagon was added to the Fireflite’s lineup. Back-up lights became standard.

Why I would want one: The fins. Those incredibly cool fins just make this car.

Fun fact: In 1957 the Fireflite was superseded by the DeSoto Adventurer as the premium DeSoto model. Nevertheless, Fireflites continued to offer high-grade appointments in a full line of body styles.
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