The DeSoto Firesweep was an automobile produced by the Chrysler Corporation and sold under its DeSoto brand from 1957 through 1959.
Interior and exterior description
The Firesweep was a lower-priced entry which combined a Dodge shell and chassis with a DeSoto bumper and grill. 1957 models were sold only as imports in Canada. While the Firesweep featured DeSoto's signature tail fins, the front clip (the front section, forward of the firewall) was based on the Dodge Coronet. The most telling feature was the headlight design, housed under heavily chromed lids typical of Dodge. Firesweep grilles were similar to those on other contemporary DeSoto models.
The Firesweep could seat six passengers and was available as a four-door sedan, five-door station wagon, two-door coupé, and two-door convertible. Depending on the body style, Firesweeps weighed between 3,660 and 3,980 lb (1,660 and 1,674 kg). Power was provided by Chrysler's 361 V8 overhead valve engine capable of 295 hp at 4,600 rpm. A three-speed manual transmission was standard and an optional Torqueflite automatic transmission was also available. The majority of 1959 Firesweeps were equipped with the automatic transmission.
The base price of the Firesweep (1957) was US$3,169 and it was offered in one and two-tone exterior finishes. Features included power steering, power brakes, dashboard clock, push-button radio and whitewall tires.
Production and sales
The first year of the car’s production, 1957, was the best year for Firesweep sales. A decline in DeSoto quality and increasing market pressures led to the end of the Firesweep’s production at the end of the 1959 model year. During 1959 Firesweep cars carried only DeSoto external nameplates.
For 1960 DeSoto automobiles came in two series, Fireflite and the Adventurer.
The final Desoto model, lacking a series name, was offered for the 1961 model year. DeSoto production ended in November 1960.
Engine specifications, transmission, options
In 1957 the DeSoto Firesweep was powered by the Dodge "Poly" 325 V8 with a 2bbl Stromberg down draft carburetor. The 325 was basically a detuned polyspherical combustion chambered version of the Dodge "Red Ram" 325 Hemi. In 1958 and 1959 DeSoto used the Chrysler Corporate 361 wedge style V8.
With the optional power-pack four barrel V8, the 1957 Firesweep produced 260 hp at 4400 rpm. This represented an increase of fifteen horsepower over the two barrel engine.
The Firesweep was offered with three different transmissions as well, a two-speed PowerFlite, a three-speed TorqueFlite, or a three-speed column-shifted manual.
Body styles offered were: Convertible, two-door sportsman hardtop, two-door sedan, four-door sportsman hardtop, four-door sedan, and a nine-passenger Shopper station wagon (complete with rear-facing "death seat").
The Firesweep was available with up to a three-color paint job (the body was a different color than the "sweep" on the side of the body, and the roof was a different color still). DeSoto offered a laundry list of options for the vehicle to include, but not limited to: clock, AM radio, rear speaker, air conditioning, carpeting, deluxe cloth seat inserts, dual rear antennae, deluxe interior lighting, stainless steel stone shields, power steering, and power.