The Don Davis Collection

27 April 2013

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Lot 160

1957 DeSoto Adventurer Convertible

  • Chassis no. 50415283

Sold for $126,500

345 bhp, 345 cu. in. Hemi OHV V-8 engine, three-speed Torqueflite automatic transmission, torsion bar independent front suspension and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel power drum brakes. Wheelbase: 126 in.

  • One of only three-hundred 1957 Adventurer Convertibles produced
  • Legendary Chrysler Hemi power

Although both rode a 126-inch wheelbase, the Chrysler 300 weighed 115 pounds more than the DeSoto Adventurer Convertible, and Chrysler’s 392-cubic inch Hemi developed 375 horses, which outclassed the DeSoto’s 345 with 345 brake horsepower. At $5,359, the Chrysler 300 Convertible cost nearly $1,100 more than the $4,272 Adventurer, but at 484 cars, it was apparently more popular—DeSoto sold only 300 convertibles. One thing stands out for DeSoto: at one-horsepower-per-cubic-inch, it was more efficient than the Chrysler 300.

When it arrived, the Adventurer Convertible followed the theme of its hardtop counterpart. Color combinations followed the black-white-gold pattern of 1956—with the convertible top in a golden hue. The sweep panel of 1956 had been succeeded by spear-shaped trim, and this area was painted in the contrasting color. The car now had prominent fins, like Chrysler’s in shape but with round taillights. Chrysler’s new torsion bars suspended the front end.

The Hemi engine had been bored out by 20 thousandths of an inch, reaching that Holy Grail of efficiency, one-horsepower-per-cubic-inch, thanks to its performance camshaft and dual quads. The new three-speed Torqueflite automatic was standard. The Adventurers debuted later than the rest of the 1957 DeSoto line, so they missed the full-line catalogue. There was no Adventurer brochure either. President Irv Woolson, however, issued an insert for the owner’s manual that welcomed owners to “the elite Adventurer family.”

The Adventurer lasted two more years as a separate specialty series. The year 1958 brought the corporate 361-cubic inch wedge engine with a whopping 10.25:1 compression. In 1959, the engine became a 383. But in 1960, the Adventurer was the top-line DeSoto series, comprising merely two hardtops and a four-door sedan. The convertible was gone. The engine was a two-barrel 383, making just 305 horsepower. As the 1961 model year opened, the Adventurer was absent. Three months later, so was DeSoto.

The example offered here belies its restoration, which was performed in the early-1990s, and it is finished in black with a gold sweep and has a black vinyl top and the correct-type complementary Adventurer interior. Options found on this top-of-the-line Adventurer include an AM radio with dual antennas, a dash clock, a grey padded dash, power windows, a power front seat, power steering, power brakes, and a gold parade boot.

At the time of the restoration, the engine, transmission, brakes, and front end were fully rebuilt. Since then, it has accrued only 1,100 miles, which has allowed for the outstanding level of preservation. The engine bay presents very nicely, with correct components and an excellent finish on such items as the inner fender wells, the air cleaners, and the radiator tank.

The exterior is just as nice, with chrome and very good panel preparation and paint application. The chrome and paint exhibit only light polishing marks, and it is important to note that the rear bumper exhaust tips have not been damaged by exhaust fumes. The interior displays wear only to the driver’s seat, with the door panels and dash pad still fitting very nicely. This Adventurer rides on accessory wire wheels shod with BF Goodrich whitewall tires. As a very respectful older restoration, it could be detailed and freshened incrementally or simply driven and appreciated as one of the most superlative convertibles built during the Forward Look era.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more