Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend

DeSoto 1

After many years of enjoyment, I made the difficult decision to sell my 1957 DeSoto Fireflight 4-door Sportsman. She joined the family in 1978 when Dad purchased her at the Auburn Car Auction in Indiana. This car was part of our family for a long time, many Sunday drives, driveway hand washings, and road trips to Ray’s Tavern in Reading.

I will always remember the unique smell, a mix of old vinyl, dust, and gasoline. This car, labelled an eye sore by some, boasted several unique fixtures: a push button transmission, a Hemi, and no posts between the front and rear windows, creating a unique open space between the front and rear seats.

DeSoto push button

One Sunday when I was 13, I asked Dad if he wanted to enter the DeSoto in the Father’s Day car show in Hillsdale. We began the long process of washing and hand drying all 18 feet of the car. Dad asked me to run inside for some dry rags. I grabbed them and started the long task of drying. I will never forget his shout of horror after I completed the front corner. “Stop! What are you doing?” I accidentally grabbed furniture polish rags and removed most of the wax!

DeSoto me

Chad and I enjoyed a few car shows ourselves, including the Hastings’ Summerfest Show and the Gilmore Car Museum. People would frequently be surprised to see such a rare car and share stories of DeSotos they owned or adventures on the wide open road with a friend. Even our mechanic used to own one and always had a story when it was time for the yearly oil change. I’m grateful for the few years we had, introducing the car to the kids.

DeSoto boys

While I will always miss her, I am thrilled that a passionate car collector recognized the prize sitting in the garage. He has the knowledge, resources, and desire to fulfill a complete restoration. I am proud to be a part of this car’s history and comforted in the fact that she is one of the cars who will be remembered and displayed for future generations.

Thanksgiving Day was bittersweet as the car was picked up, loaded on a trailer, and driven away. Just like Dad used to do when the kids left the house, I watched from the garage until she was no longer in sight. Perhaps the old man was watching too…



  1. Very nice story, Maggie! As “car people” we really appreciate the history and uniqueness of your car. Tom is sorry he never got over to see it in person. We can totally understand your joy that it will be restored and live on for a long time to come. Thank you for sharing the story and pictures.

  2. I’m sure he was watching with you. Probably had his arm around your should. I like the thought anyway. ❤

  3. I enjoyed your story too. My family got a new Desoto when I was 8 or 9 years old in Grand Rapids and I enjoyed riding in the BIG backseat. It was a pretty mint green with very shiny everything else…through the eyes of an eight year old that is. My Daddy died when I was 12 , so I cherish those memories.

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