Automotive oddity website
Cars I own
Over the years I have had many collector cars but I have finally got a keeper! My pride and joy is a 1957 Desoto Adventurer Convertible. For those of you who might not be familiar with the Adventurer series, it was a limited edition sports model. The sister car to it would have been the Chrysler 300 Series. The series was introduced in 1956 with coupe version only. They were available in combinations of gold and white or black and gold. They came with special interior fabrics and special gold anodized aluminum wheel covers the engine was a dual quad hemi version of the Fireflite eight that put out 320 horsepower from a 341 cubic inch motor.
In 1957 the coupe was joined by a ragtop for the first time. Only 300 of them were made. The series was still available in variations of black and gold or white and gold, with special interior fabrics and again special wheel covers (14" in 57 15" in 56) the motor was a 345 cubic inch 345 horsepower engineering marvel. With the help of a special ¾ race cam the goal of 1 horsepower per cubic inch was attained. And this was in a stock Adventurer! Any production car before it that attained this goal required special or optional equipment. The 1957 Chevy series only made it with the optional Fuel injection system 283 horsepower from 283 cubic inches. They also bragged that they were the first cars to ever attain this goal. And to the letter they were because the 1956 Chrysler 300 passed it! When equipped with an optional exhaust system the Chrysler 300 produced 355 horsepower from a 354 cubic inch motor. Since they went over this does allow Chevy to claim the first to reach the goal of one horsepower per cubic inch first, But on a technicality!
My convertible was produced on March 20th 1957 and left the factory bound for Hollywood Perkins Desoto dealership in Wilmington Delaware on the same day. That is were I loose track of it until 1959 when it came to Iowa from Port Washington on Long Island (New York). It found it's way to the campus of Parsons College in Fairfield Iowa in the hands of Howard Bishop Conkey, I attempted to contact Mr. Conkey a few years ago only to find out from his brother that he had passed. My apologies to anyone who went to Parsons College and actually worked to get their degree, but Parsons was known then and still is today as flunker heaven! A place were all the rich boys and girls from around the country would go after flunking out or getting kicked out of the college of their choice. Not much more was required than to pay your tuition and pick up your degree. That is why parsons lost its accreditation in the 60s. Howard finished school and went back to New York and according to his brother went to work designing racecars at racecar engineering for the Oswego track. If you have any other information on Mr. Conkey I would love to hear from you!
When I found the convertible it was resting in a farmers field with a small tree growing up through the hood, the engine was missing and the weather had not been kind to the car over the years. "But it was a real Adventurer ragtop" I had to have it! The deal was stuck and the car was mine, after hauling it home I started talking about my new find when I ran into someone that knew someone that had an old Desoto motor. (Wild goose chase time) I took the bait and went down to see the gentleman who told me he had a Chrysler Adventurer motor and he described to me the car I had just bought. He had used the engine in a rail at the local drag strip and had broken it down to rebuild it but the parts would not fit (he was using Chrysler parts not Desoto) so the engine went on the shelf. He insisted that I pay him the $100 that he had paid for the motor 10 years earlier and I obliged him! The correct original motor was back were it belonged.
A title search on the car in Iowa brought up a list of 2 more owners in Iowa. After checking the phone book both of them were still listed. I called the first from 1960 and asked for the husband who was listed on the title and in the phone book. After a long silence I was told that her husband had passed away 10 years prior. I asked the lady on the phone if she remembered the 1957 Desoto and her voice took on a noticeable cheerful pitch. Not only did she remember the car but she went as far as to state that if she could find a man that she loved as much as she loved that car she would get married again. She explained to me how in 1960 her and her husband went to the Chrysler dealership in the neighboring town to look at the new 61 station wagons. While they were there the ran across one of the local college boys trying to sell his car to the dealer since his father had cut him off and he needed the money. (The car was well known by the local police department! That might be why dad cut him off) a deal was struck and they bought the convertible instead of the wagon. When I found the motor it only had a single four-barrel manifold and carb. So I asked the lady if she knew what happened to the original dual four barrels? you bet she did! It seemed that she rather liked the way that the car performed but her husband did not. The ladies husband was the city streets director for their hometown and word would eventually get back to him that she had been in another race. One day the race ended with a near accident and when her husband heard about it he took it to the local salvage yard and had them replace the dual fours with a single four. It did not help that she was averaging 6 miles to the gallon also. She to this day still refers to it as public castration! She said that the dual fours sat in the front window of the yard for many years and she would see them every time she drove by and say to herself there are my carbs! While on a trip to see her and talk about the car I also had the opportunity to meet her daughter. This brought back her moms memory that she and her husband had been married for a few years before they owned the car and had never had any children. With a smile on her face she said that it was not long after they got the Desoto that she became pregnant with her daughter. The daughter objected to the topic of discussion so it was ended abruptly but I think the mother made the point that the car had many found memories for her! The next owners could provide me with very little information other than yes they owned the car.
Black or White
When I bought the car it was painted black and gold but you could see that the firewall was white and there was white paint behind some of the trim. The title listed the car as black and gold when it came to Iowa in 1959. But the car left the factory White and gold. Someone had repainted the car before it was 2 years old. When I restore the car it will be put back to the original color.
The convertible is not my only 1957 Adventurer! I bought a coupe first from So. Carolina with full intentions of restoring it. Once I found the ragtop the coupe became a parts car. Not to fear I have acquired many nos parts over the years and I will use as many parts as possible from other cars so that someone will be able to restore the coupe when I am done with it.
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Last Update: 01/28/01
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Welcome to my mis-spelled word file!
These are common and sometimes uncommon ways to mis-spell the primary words on this site! I provide this as a service to the phonically challenged because they are people too! Or maybe they have a typing handicap like myself. Crysler, Chrystler, Christler, Desota, De Sota, Desotoe, Desoda, Dasoda, fibre, fibreglass hiway, hifi, krysler, Mo Par, Peddel, Peddal, Peddle, Plymoth, Plimoth, Plimouth,