Just over 3,000 De Soto Adventurer hardtops were made in 1960, but how many do you think a
It’s been a while since the Chrysler Corporation dropped the De Soto from their line of passenger cars, but the brand is still deserving of our attention for its true Mopar heritage. And while many of us weren’t around to see these automobiles driving on the roads, the styling, performance, and features of the De Soto developed quite a following while they were being produced. In 1961 the De Soto brand was dropped from the Chrysler lineup after more than 32 years of being in business, and production of the ’61 De Soto was halted in November 1960, making the 1960 model the last year for a fully produced line of De Soto vehicles. Many loyal customers kept the brand alive, however, by maintaining and driving their De Sotos for years after production halted, and some never really let go.
Phil Stalling Jr. of Newark, Ohio, discovered a piece of De Soto’s history, when one such elderly owner was moved to a rest home and his family members were called in to liquidate his assets. While consolidating and selling the gentleman’s belongings, the house was sold with a garage full of boxes, trash, and debris that had accumulated over many years. It was only when the new owners of the house began cleaning the garage that they discovered a time capsule of a vehicle hidden under the piles of junk. Not knowing what the old vehicle was or if it was worth selling, the owners called Phil, the owner of a nearby business called Phil Stalling Classic Cars. When he arrived at the house and opened the garage door, he could only see the grille and bumper of the car, but knew immediately that it was a ’60 De Soto.
The license plate hanging from the front bumper is indicative of the last time this car wa
It was a couple of weeks before the home owner got the garage cleaned out enough to remove the car, and Phil went back to the house to bring the De Soto into the daylight for the first time in nearly 40 years. Finally seeing the car in its entirety, Phil discovered that this wasn’t just any De Soto, but a 1960 Adventurer two-door hardtop model. Even better, the car was in amazing shape and was still wearing a license plate from 1973, the year it was parked. After negotiating the purchase for a price that reflected fair market value, Phil towed the Adventurer to his shop where he began the process of seeing if the car would run.
After soaking the engine with Kerosene, installing new oil, a battery, and a temporary fuel tank, Phil slowly turned the engine by hand to ensure it was free. He then cleaned the points to achieve ignition, and the 361 big-block came to life, running roughly at first but as the lifters pumped up the noise abated and the 361 began to purr. Amazingly, the car has very little rust, just in the areas over the headlights, and as the paperwork in the car documents, is a one-owner vehicle that was purchased in nearby Columbus, Ohio. In fact, the owner kept every receipt for the money he spent on his De Soto, including maintenance and car wash bills and the original window sticker indicating a price of $4,100 in 1960. Opening the trunk, there was even a wrapped Christmas present that had been there since the car was parked in 1973, the last year it was registered and driven. Phil plans to make repairs and get the car drivable, and will likely enjoy the car for a while before offering it for sale. We think it’s cool that this De Soto will be on the road again, and we thank Phil for sharing his Hidden Treasure with us.
We love the look of the ’60 De Soto, especially the tailfins and huge trunk area. Once rem
When the original owner was moved to a rest home, his family sold the house without even k
Nobody knows why the owner kept his De Soto all these years, but he must have loved the ca
The paperwork found in the car documents everything, from car washes to routine maintenanc
After a little work, the 361 big-block and pushbutton TorqueFlite work as they should. The