1959 De Soto Firesweep - Reader Ride

By: Guy Allen, Photography by: Guy Allen

Presented by

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The De Soto Firesweep was the price of a house when new

Mick’s old V8 has been with him for 33 years. "The original owner rang the Chrysler Restorers Club and said he had an old car he wanted to get rid of. It’s not the sort of thing you can take to a dealership," he explains.

"It was camped in a garage with possums over the top of it. The hubcaps weren’t on it.

"I ended up going back and negotiating with him. When I picked it up, I took him the money then drove him to the RTA so he could hand in his licence. For him, it was the end of an era. He was 70 and was the oldest 70-year-old I’d ever met. Here I am at 81 still driving his car!

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"I said to him that he must have been rich to be able to afford that car. He said no, he worked for the PMG and on ordinary wages. He had 900 pounds in his pocket and was going to buy a new Ford Zephyr. But a mate told him to go and have a look at Harden & Johnston in William Street. He put his 900 quid down as a deposit, because it cost 3600 pounds (almost the price of a house)! That’s why you don’t see many of them out there.

"I said pity you haven’t got the hubcaps. They were hidden in the house, still in brown paper bags – they’d never been on the car because he was frightened of losing them."

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Mick’s car is largely original, including the interior and 361 V8. He did brighten up the exterior, which was plain grey. The handling and braking also needed attention. "It was on crossplies and the original drums – you needed to make an appointment to get it to stop," he quips. A set of Dodge Phoenix front discs bolted in easily.

He is not afraid of taking the car on adventures, having taken it on numerous long trips from its home base in Sydney, including a jaunt to Perth.

Valuation: Prices are $25-40k, depending on spec and condition.

 

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