1956 DeSoto Firedome Seville: East Coaster Today
Chrysler’s DeSoto Division had a big year in 1955 when it redesigned its Firedome models and introduced the flagship model, the Fireflight. DeSoto cars continued to be produced until November 28, 1960 when the brand went the way of the dodo bird, ending 32 years of production.
The 1942 DeSoto is perhaps the most memorable. The car was ahead its time with unique ‘Airfoil’ hideaway headlights, a first for mass-produced vehicles.
We spotted this immaculate 1956 DeSoto Firedome Seville a few months ago in Masstown, Nova Scotia. Powered by a 230-horsepower, 330 cubic inch (5.4L) V-8 engine, when equipped with a three-speed manual transmission, the two-ton, two-door hardtop would accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 9.7 seconds. Quite respectable at the time.
According to the manufacturer, the tailfins, even larger than the 1955 model, helped to stabilize the car at high speeds.
The convertible version of the 1956 DeSoto was the official pace car of the Indianapolis 500 that year. The track committee unanimously chose it for its ‘outstanding performance’ as well as its ‘handling characteristics’.
The car had a long list of available options ranging from a two-speed PowerFlite automatic transmission to an electric clock and power brakes, a $40 option.
Although our East Coaster Desoto may not be pacing the Indy 500 these days, it turns a lot of heads as it cruises the back roads of Atlantic Canada every summer.