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.

Alain Squindo

Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alexander Weaver

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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

Annette Abaci

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With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney Ruprecht graduated from Boston University in 2013 with a degree in Hospitality Administration. In ... read more

Dan Warrener

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Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a car specialist in May 2015. He is a lifelong automobile enthusiast and g... read more

Don Rose

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Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

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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 joined RM Sotheby's in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and re... read more

Ian Kelleher

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Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

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Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Sotheby's in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in ... read more

Jake Auerbach

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Ontario, Canada

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

Jonathan Sierakowski

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Indiana, United States

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby's, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Gra... read more

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

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

Peter Wallman

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United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

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Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

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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

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Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a car specialist. A... read more