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Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)
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macedon
Posted 2018-02-26 5:01 PM (#558853)
Subject: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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Well after many years of languishing on the way, way back burner I've restarted this project. Life and other cars always seemed to get ahead of this one. Well I'm ready to get into it now. Here's a few pics of what I have to work with. I do have everything that's taken off. It's complete with the major exception of the motor and trany. I do have a S25 motor but it is apart and I know missing some parts. No trany, bummer. I do have a full set of floors from a donor car, with power seat troughs. And a new trunk floor.

So, yeah I've got my work cut out for me. Although I've seen you guys perform miracles on much, much worse.

Edited by macedon 2018-02-26 6:28 PM




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KcImperial
Posted 2018-02-26 8:34 PM (#558868 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: RE: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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You have waaayy too many projects!
I don't know how you ever find the time especially with the level of detail you always accomplish
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macedon
Posted 2018-02-27 11:18 AM (#558910 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: Re: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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Haha. This takes me back to my old Navy days. Been a long time since I had a needle gun in my hands.



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macedon
Posted 2018-02-27 12:39 PM (#558917 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: Re: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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Here's a picture survey after some needle gun time. I knew the floors were toast before I started. What I was really interested in were the edges, specifically the rockers.

If any of you that have been down this road care to share any lessons learned or tips I'd be more than happy to listen. Especially any techniques or suggested cut lines.



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firedome
Posted 2018-02-27 4:03 PM (#558934 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: Re: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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Wow that is quite the project indeed, due credit for taking it on. When done though you'll have one of the most beautiful 50s cars ever made, 4 dr hardtops are THE best imo. I'd consult with John Big M Fowlie, he's the man for FL bodywork, along with Jan Fridberg in Sweden!
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mikes2nd
Posted 2018-02-27 11:27 PM (#558954 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: Re: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)


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I did the rockers first and made sure I kept the shape, I cut the outer and then inner. I replaced the inner in two pieces. Do you have inner and outer rockers? Inner rockers and door sill support is fairly easy to make yourself. I got my outers from schott.

The facebook guy does make nice inners

https://www.facebook.com/RealSteelReplacments/?ref=gs&fref=gs&dti=38054984481&hc_location=group

I assume you know dont try to save any of that flooring or trunk, it all has to go. 189$ for premade inners? doesnt seem to bad. Scott outers are like 75$



Edited by mikes2nd 2018-02-27 11:31 PM




(189-innerrockers.jpg)



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macedon
Posted 2018-02-28 6:15 AM (#558966 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: Re: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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No plans to save any of that flooring or trunk. I've got replacement for both. I'll start cutting them out this week
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macedon
Posted 2018-02-28 9:22 AM (#558974 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: RE: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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Figured it wouldn't hurt to take a few measurements before I start cutting. Especially since my replacement floors came from an Imp so I'll need to make some mods. The seat brackets and others as well I'm sure.

I think my biggest concern is the condition of the B pillars. I'm REALLY hoping I can do enough to restore without removing them. They look solid, but I'll know more after cutting out the floors. We shall see.




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macedon
Posted 2018-03-05 9:31 AM (#559256 - in reply to #558974)
Subject: RE: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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Back side of headliner. I don't think it's too big a leap to assume that 4D stands for four door.



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mikes2nd
Posted 2018-03-05 10:17 AM (#559259 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: Re: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)


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they really needed bar code scanners back in the day but I guess a pencil works also.
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macedon
Posted 2018-03-05 12:05 PM (#559269 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: RE: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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Zoiks! That's a lot of stainless. That will certainly keep me busy polishing.



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macedon
Posted 2018-03-09 4:37 PM (#559538 - in reply to #559269)
Subject: RE: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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Still have lots of detail cut work to do yet, but I've got the big chunks out.



(trunk cut.JPG)



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mikes2nd
Posted 2018-03-09 7:59 PM (#559558 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: Re: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)


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that hurts, the amount of work... uhg
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macedon
Posted 2018-03-12 8:45 AM (#559721 - in reply to #559558)
Subject: Re: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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Ok, so why did they do it this way? In the trunk the two support braces that run fore/aft. Why do they end just short of the transverse piece of metal at the back of the trunk?? Wouldn't it make more sense when I redo that bracket to make it an inch or two longer and then weld it to the back piece? I mean other than a departure from originality that I'm sure I could live with. It just seems that it would be stronger that way. Am I missing something? I looked at my sedan and it's just the same.



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mikes2nd
Posted 2018-03-12 10:58 AM (#559732 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: Re: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)


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everything i see on this car was to maximize the use of a spot welder.

That piece probably got attached first to the trunk pan and they didn't want to have to worry about returning to it and that tail piece is pretty thick, so they would have gone through 3 pieces.

I think it also was already "strong" enough. I doubt they even tested these bodies really for flex/strength to a point.

They used "eyeball" engineering to an extent. Youll notice on a 58 they put a quarter panel bracket in the middle of the 2 dr ht wheel well to stop flexing, the fixes they do in the 58 proves they were kind of trial and erroring on certain things. Lets not get into "water leaks" This completely new car was a serious task for Chrysler, they flipped the script but obviously keeping up with demand and the radical changes they put into place had to be a ton of effort.

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macedon
Posted 2018-03-12 11:42 AM (#559740 - in reply to #559732)
Subject: Re: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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You're spot on about the spot welder use. Sorry for the pun, couldn't resist.

I'll be using a wire welder so we'll see how it goes when I rebuild my car.

thanks
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mikes2nd
Posted 2018-03-12 11:34 PM (#559790 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: Re: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)


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here for example is the quarter panel brace added to the 1958's. They must have seen some flexing in the 57 car bodies. This is 2 door hardtop so i expect the sedans were fine.

I will be adding this to my 57... 



Edited by mikes2nd 2018-03-12 11:44 PM




(582doorHTDodgeQuarterBrace.jpg)



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macedon
Posted 2018-03-22 5:43 PM (#560322 - in reply to #559790)
Subject: Re: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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Hey, you guys won't give me any trouble if I tell you I'm going to use some Buick steel for some of my smaller patches. 'cause if you are then I'm not going to tell you. Haha at least it's the correct year.



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scottbit
Posted 2018-03-22 8:11 PM (#560328 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: RE: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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I would agree with tying the gas tanks supports to the rear trunk cross piece. Most of the cars I have seen were developing stress cracks at that point even if the trunk floors were not rusty. Mike what model of car is your picture from? I have never noticed that brace on any of my cars. In cutting up a lot cars for patch panels I have noticed that the 57 cars seem to have braces at the body mounts in the floor pan at the back of the front seat area, bolt on braces that tie the front cowl to inner rocker and frame, a reinforcement at the front trunk pan body mount that rests on the rubber bumper between it and the frame rail and a full width one piece cross member that goes up over the drive shaft tunnel that were eliminated in the 58's.
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macedon
Posted 2018-03-26 10:11 AM (#560503 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: RE: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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I have no idea how or why these survived... I am just really grateful they did.



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macedon
Posted 2018-05-21 8:45 PM (#563792 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: RE: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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Progressing slowly. Pulled the heater/evap today. Happy to see the firewall rust isn't too bad



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Powerflite
Posted 2018-05-21 9:48 PM (#563797 - in reply to #560503)
Subject: RE: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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macedon - 2018-03-26 7:11 AM

I have no idea how or why these survived... I am just really grateful they did.


What are those, the center post between the doors maybe?

Another addition to '58 in the DeSoto & Chrysler is the addition of long, bolt-on cross braces from the cowl to the inner fenders.
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macedon
Posted 2018-05-22 12:59 AM (#563803 - in reply to #563797)
Subject: RE: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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Powerflite - 2018-05-21 8:48 PM

What are those, the center post between the doors maybe?

Right. They are the plastic covers for the B pillars

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macedon
Posted 2018-05-22 11:53 AM (#563828 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: RE: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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I know it will go back together much more slowly...



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Powerflite
Posted 2018-05-22 1:31 PM (#563834 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: Re: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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Removable vent. Your car must be an earlier build.
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miquelonbrad
Posted 2018-05-22 11:54 PM (#563857 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: Re: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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Not necessarily. I did a survey of many 57-58 cars- Plymouth-Dodge-DeSoto-Chrysler...and it depended on plant it was built in, A/C, what body came down the line...

I did a post on this a while ago. I'll see if I can find it.
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miquelonbrad
Posted 2018-05-22 11:56 PM (#563858 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: Re: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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BTW, my '57 Fireflite Ambulance has floors like yours...and Flintstone brakes. :D
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Powerflite
Posted 2018-05-23 12:36 AM (#563859 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: Re: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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Your post on it was my post on it. Yes, it had other factors that influenced it (like A/C of course), but build date was a big factor.

http://www.forwardlook.net/forums/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=66044&...

Edited by Powerflite 2018-05-23 12:43 AM
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macedon
Posted 2018-05-23 7:59 AM (#563873 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: Re: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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My car is a factory A/C car. Detroit car with a VIN that's right smack in the middle of the range for that year.
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macedon
Posted 2018-05-24 5:11 PM (#563980 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: RE: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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Stuck this in just test the fit. I'm pretty happy with it. Driver's side is on it's way. Hopefully it is just as nice.



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mikes2nd
Posted 2018-05-24 8:49 PM (#563989 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: Re: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)


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nice fit!
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macedon
Posted 2018-11-09 2:49 PM (#573234 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: RE: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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Never done this to a car before. Kinda fun.



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57burb
Posted 2018-11-09 3:16 PM (#573236 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: Re: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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...and kinda scary too, eh?

Looking good!
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macedon
Posted 2018-11-29 11:29 AM (#574334 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: RE: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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Day dreaming... my choices in order of preference for the car. Someday I'll get there. Definitely going with the original 543 Westminster Tweed and off white vinyl interior. Car was originally all Frost white.

1) Spice Brown Metallic & Frost White 2) Muscatel Maroon Metallic & Frost White 3) Charcoal Cray Metallic & Frost White


Edited by macedon 2018-11-29 11:36 AM




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Powerflite
Posted 2018-11-29 1:26 PM (#574346 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: Re: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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How about mixing it up a little with charcoal/maroon or charcoal/spice brown?
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macedon
Posted 2018-11-29 3:22 PM (#574354 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: RE: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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Not for me, but here it is. The Maroon Spice is not so nice to my eye.

Edited by macedon 2018-11-29 3:29 PM




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Imp58Alpes
Posted 2018-11-30 8:25 AM (#574399 - in reply to #574354)
Subject: Re: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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If I had to customize the paint (i.e. not put it back to original), my preferred paint scheme would be Sunlit yellow with black sweep and roof. Always loved that combo.
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macedon
Posted 2018-11-30 11:12 AM (#574407 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: RE: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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That would be bold. I do like the lighter body with the darker roof/sweep myself. However I already have a yellow/black one... my Rumble Bee.

Edited by macedon 2018-11-30 11:16 AM




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1960fury
Posted 2018-12-04 7:25 AM (#574600 - in reply to #574407)
Subject: RE: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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Love pale yellow and black. Especially when the roof and inserts are black. The black makes the roof appear smaller. Can't stand new car colors on 50s cars, like charcoal. Also the "spice maroon" above is just terrible.

Here is a perfect example of typical 50s pastel paint with a black roof. Love the blue/grey/greenish body color of this car together with the black roof, great wheels too:

Edited by 1960fury 2018-12-04 7:28 AM




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57burb
Posted 2018-12-04 8:21 AM (#574602 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: RE: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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Charcoal is one-half of THE most iconic 1950s paint scheme, Coral and Shadow Gray on the 1955 Chevy. It was available on the most expensive car of the 1950s, the '57 Cadillac Brougham. It was available on Dave's Fireflite when new. It's a subdued, sophisticated color and it could be argued that goes against the whimsy of the '57 Desoto design. But they were laying down charcoal gray paint every day of the '50s my friend!

If you're still trying to decide, I'd suggest taking a look at period advertisements for the color schemes those professional artists and designers were using to sell them. Stand back, squint, get an overall 'feel' for how the colors and proportions work together. And remember the cars are nearly 20 feet long and you have to look at it forever!

I like the pastel yellow and white Fireflite convertible in the dealer book. The same color scheme may not work as well on a sedan though. That's why the squint thing is so important...

Edited by 57burb 2018-12-04 8:26 AM




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1960fury
Posted 2018-12-04 2:24 PM (#574628 - in reply to #574602)
Subject: RE: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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57burb - 2018-12-04 8:21 AM

Charcoal is one-half of THE most iconic 1950s paint scheme, Coral and Shadow Gray on the 1955 Chevy.


Yes, okay, that doesn't look bad along with Coral.
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1960fury
Posted 2018-12-04 2:32 PM (#574630 - in reply to #574602)
Subject: RE: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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57burb - 2018-12-04 8:21 AM

But they were laying down charcoal gray paint every day of the '50s my friend!



Never said the contrary, but what does that prove? If you read old car mags, then you know that even in the 50s some people hated the styling of the finned cars they had to buy and disliked everything typical 50s. That charcoal (grey) would look perfect on any new Toyota. I just prefer the crazy 50s pastel shades. It goes along well with the whole styling-theme of the decade.
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57burb
Posted 2018-12-04 3:40 PM (#574635 - in reply to #574630)
Subject: RE: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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Color is a very subjective thing. IMO black can contrast harshly with soft colors, and in many cases you can get a more mellow contrast with a gray.

I am not saying one is better than the other - just that gray is period-appropriate, and it can look really good.


Edited by 57burb 2018-12-04 3:42 PM




(180994_Side_Profile_Web.jpg)



(268565_1957-DeSoto-Fireflite-Sportsman_low_res.jpg)



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macedon
Posted 2018-12-04 6:21 PM (#574654 - in reply to #558853)
Subject: Re: Dave's 57 DeSoto Fireflite 4dr hdtp (project)



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Well I've got plenty of time to figure out what color to paint my four door hardtop. Still have to finish the trunk and floors. I might end up back at the cars original color. All Frost White. I do like that Charcoal though
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