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1958 Fireflite Convertible
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2013-07-17 12:26 AM (#386187)
Subject: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



5000500050005000100050010010010025
Location: Parts Unknown
Going to start a dedicated thread to the restoration of the DeSoto. I have owned this particular
car since the early 90's. I had been building a basket case 58 Adventurer convertible for years
and found this car in my search for parts for the Adventurer. When it came up for sale I sold the
Adventurer project and dumped all my energies into a far more complete car.

After a couple busy months of work on the Fireflite, it was a pretty presentable driver and after
so many years of hunting unobtainium parts to build the Adventurer, I was happy to just enjoy the
Fireflite "as is" for a while before really doing it right. The car was together and driven regularly
for about 9 months, including a cross-country trip before a drugged driver rear ended me as I sat
at a red light. The car was immediately torn down to the frame and a new body was built around
a pile of rust-free parts I had saved, but life got in the way before I had the body completely back
together and the poor car has been mothballed and moved about from place to place for 15+ years.

Last week I began digging the shop out and figured it would be fun to look back from the very beginning
and see how this progressed from the start. It will start slow, as the priority is to finish the 58 Plaza,
but in doing that work, some work will push forward on the DeSoto as a matter of doing the Plymouth.

Photos to follow.
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christine-lover
Posted 2013-07-17 5:42 AM (#386204 - in reply to #386187)
Subject: Re: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



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Posts: 2762
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Location: Sept. 1958
Brent, it will be nice to see your Desoto restoration. Are you back over here for good or are you going back?
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2013-07-17 11:39 AM (#386231 - in reply to #386204)
Subject: Re: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



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Location: Parts Unknown
I am finished. Got hurt out at al Pasab and that pretty much set the wheels in motion for
"game over".
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big m
Posted 2013-07-17 12:04 PM (#386238 - in reply to #386231)
Subject: Re: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



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Doctor DeSoto - 2013-07-17 8:39 AM

I am finished. Got hurt out at al Pasab and that pretty much set the wheels in motion for
"game over".


Glad to have you back, Brent.

---John
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christine-lover
Posted 2013-07-17 12:24 PM (#386241 - in reply to #386238)
Subject: Re: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



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Posts: 2762
20005001001002525
Location: Sept. 1958
Cool.

Your gonna miss the burkas right?
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Lancer Mike
Posted 2013-07-17 1:28 PM (#386248 - in reply to #386241)
Subject: Re: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



5000200010002525
Location: Queen City of the Plains
Welcome back, Doc! Now get those pictures going! Let's see some Re Soto-ation in progress!
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Boris56
Posted 2013-07-17 1:38 PM (#386250 - in reply to #386187)
Subject: Re: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



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Posts: 394
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Location: Royal Oak, MI
Thank you for your service, Doctor. Good luck with the DeSoto restoration.
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2013-07-22 1:52 PM (#386964 - in reply to #386250)
Subject: Re: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



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Location: Parts Unknown
IT mind needed !

While I was deployed, the wifeperson got herself an HP Photosmart Plus scanner and dialed it in
to her Mac desktop computer.

Since demobilizing, I found one of my boxes of old car photos and thought I'd carry out on a threat
to tease you guys with car spotting photos from the old days. Here's the rub ....

I scan the photos to her desktop, I then send an email to my computer with the photos attached and
place in a desktop folder. From there, I post the photos to the Forward Look site, where I am told that
the photos are successfully uploaded. Everything looks great EXCEPT the photos do not show !!!!

It shows them in the post as being downloaded. It shows the extension code, etc. Just no photos !

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

As a matter of reference, if I had photos of the Plaza work sent to me from the restoration shop, I could
download and post with no issues. If the same email from the restoration shop were sent to the wifeperson,
and then forwarded to me in AFG, it had the same issue.

I called a super-mac fan and asked for advice this AM and then went back in to check some settings on the
wifeperson's computer such as sizing, Windows-friendly, and extension settings, and all looks OK. Sent a test
run and still a no-go.

Ideas ????
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2013-07-22 3:58 PM (#386988 - in reply to #386964)
Subject: Re: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



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Location: Parts Unknown
Kudos to Bigblkmopar for figuring out that the wifeperson's computer mysteriously adds a
non-functional "jpeg" extension (not accepted by the FL site software) instead of a "jpg" which
apparently allows the FL site software to read the photo and show it, instead of just showing the
linked attachment.

Out of curiosity, can anyone see this photo without clicking on the link ? Or can you open the
link at all ?




Attachments
----------------
Attachments 58 Ply's and 60 Flite .jpeg (91KB - 247 downloads)
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springsweptwing
Posted 2013-07-22 4:05 PM (#386992 - in reply to #386187)
Subject: RE: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



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Posts: 950
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Location: Blackpool, United Kingdom.
Cannot see photo without downloading it?





(58 Ply's and 60 Flite (1).JPG)



Attachments
----------------
Attachments 58 Ply's and 60 Flite (1).JPG (51KB - 213 downloads)
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2013-07-22 5:49 PM (#387025 - in reply to #386992)
Subject: RE: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



5000500050005000100050010010010025
Location: Parts Unknown
Thanks. That's what I thought.
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57burb
Posted 2013-07-23 10:36 AM (#387187 - in reply to #386992)
Subject: RE: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



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Posts: 3132
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Location: DFW, TX
The Forward Look site is very archaic, by internet forum standards. As stated, it does not allow .jpeg files to be viewed in their native state, but it does allow them to be uploaded and downloaded for viewing. Which is strange, because the Joint Photographic Experts Group, which created the image compression standard that we know collectively as "jaypeg" intended the .jpg .jpeg file types to be interchangeable (along with a couple of others). The intent was to continue to allow Mac and Unix operating systems to use four-digit file extensions, while also supporting early Windows systems which used the 8.3 file naming convention (a maximum of eight character file names, and three character file types).

------Long story short, .jpg and .jpeg files are one and the same.------

Brent, I recommend saving them as .jpg files when you perform the scan. I am 99.9999% certain this will be an option in the file save settings of your scanner software. I find it a little strange that its default is .jpeg anyway.

That said, the black Desoto in the background is mighty tasty. Keep em coming!

Edited by 57burb 2013-07-23 10:37 AM
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2013-07-23 12:32 PM (#387219 - in reply to #387187)
Subject: RE: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



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Location: Parts Unknown
All under control. Just been super busy doing job search stuff.

That black Fireflite is the 383 crossram, 3-onda-floor car.
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Chrys 68
Posted 2013-09-22 3:12 PM (#399090 - in reply to #386187)
Subject: RE: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



Elite Veteran

Posts: 623
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Location: Malung, SWEDEN
More 1958 Fireflite Convertible pics please!
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2013-09-23 12:22 AM (#399151 - in reply to #399090)
Subject: RE: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



5000500050005000100050010010010025
Location: Parts Unknown
I have put this on a back burner .... was having problems with my scan sizing.

Let's see how this works .....

Photo taken on the farm where I bought a 58 Coronet Spring Special coupe. I think that
would have been 1996 ?




(Skagit Farm 1.jpg)



Attachments
----------------
Attachments Skagit Farm 1.jpg (50KB - 218 downloads)
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2013-09-23 12:24 AM (#399152 - in reply to #399151)
Subject: RE: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



5000500050005000100050010010010025
Location: Parts Unknown
Alright, .... still doing something wrong. Photo too small and resolution too low.

I am using an HP Photosmart Plus scanner. I am seeing few options for editing.

Ideas ?
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Chrys 68
Posted 2013-09-23 1:52 AM (#399166 - in reply to #386187)
Subject: Re: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



Elite Veteran

Posts: 623
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Location: Malung, SWEDEN
No experience with scanners. I usually photograph old pictures to make them digital.
Nice picture of your 58!
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2013-10-11 12:05 PM (#402895 - in reply to #399166)
Subject: Re: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



5000500050005000100050010010010025
Location: Parts Unknown
Okey-doke ! Off to a slow start, but that was always the plan anyway. Been organizing the
mass of collected junk I had to pack into the shop when I deployed 3 years ago, and as a result,
more and more room comes available to further organize.

With the snows coming, it was my goal to get the Coronet dug out of its burial spot and outside,
so I could move the rear clip I had leaned up against a front wall to the back of the shop where
the tools, power, and light are. The weather turned rapidly this year, and it has been cold and
raining now for weeks, so I took a sunny moment, moved some stuff around, grabbed a few
errant neighbors, and we tipped the big lunk of metal down and carried it into position for dissecting
over the winter.

I will now remove the undercoating and cut / drill out the spot welds to turn the clip into the panels
I need to finish the rebuild of my DeSoto.

It had been my vision to have the shop all beautiful and nice for doing this work, but my experience
working in rough conditions in AFG, and the desire to get this project back on the rails has me pushing
forward, even if it won't be comfortable. The space that the rear clip took up can now be used to store
the compressors, welder, torches, etc. that now make the DeSoto appear buried. All is good.




(66 coro rag in shop.jpg)



(66 coro rag out of shop.jpg)



(59 r clip for Ethyl.jpg)



(Ethyl buried Oct 2013.jpg)



Attachments
----------------
Attachments 66 coro rag in shop.jpg (63KB - 215 downloads)
Attachments 66 coro rag out of shop.jpg (75KB - 219 downloads)
Attachments 59 r clip for Ethyl.jpg (55KB - 225 downloads)
Attachments Ethyl buried Oct 2013.jpg (74KB - 171 downloads)
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2013-10-13 1:11 AM (#403214 - in reply to #402895)
Subject: Re: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



5000500050005000100050010010010025
Location: Parts Unknown
Got a little time this afternoon and began removing the undercoating before I separate the
various panels. This car had another car set on top of it, crushing it in certain contact points.
I will have some rust repair to do here and there, but the dents and creases should be relatively
easy to pound out when the panels are separated.

Only one area (brownish area on right) required the use of a heat gun to soften the goo. All
the rest came off easy enough with my 5-in-1 tool.





(peeling undercoat 1.jpg)



(peeling undercoat 2.jpg)



(peeling undercoat 3.jpg)



Attachments
----------------
Attachments peeling undercoat 1.jpg (56KB - 186 downloads)
Attachments peeling undercoat 2.jpg (61KB - 218 downloads)
Attachments peeling undercoat 3.jpg (66KB - 173 downloads)
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2013-10-16 12:50 AM (#403900 - in reply to #403214)
Subject: Re: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



5000500050005000100050010010010025
Location: Parts Unknown
With the undercoating peeled off the bottom of the body, I decided to push forward and separate
the panels and peel the topside as needed.

This can be a bit of challenge to find the spot welds. By using low light with a bright light running
across the surface at an oblique angle, most are made visible by the slight dimple or shadow. I have
developed a strategy of drilling them out with a 1/4" bit with a centering point and chasing the seam
from one end to the other with a bee hive tool that I slightly blunt the tip on. By driving this tool down
the joined seam, it pops any residual bite the drill might have missed, or quickly lets you know you
missed one altogether.

As the panels come apart, they tend to release a tension that makes the job go a little easier as you
move along by indicating where that next weld might be hiding. While most welds leave indentations,
others leave high bumps and some are downright invisible until you put separating pressure up to it.

Here I am working from the rear bumper cutaway forward to the door jamb. Since the 59 has a different
profile/contour at the back edge, I will have to cut this off square and extend the metal back about 4".

As my wheel tub is wasted to a point about 4" from the lip, I face the worst challenge of building rear
quarters back - building the tub lip back into thin air (no outer skin to mate it to) - I chose to do the outer
skin in three pieces, the wheel opening, and the two panels fore and aft, and cut the outer skin accordingly.

I ran out of battery on my grinder, so I left that part incomplete and moved forward in cleaning the
inside of the wheel tub in preparation for dissecting that piece next. As the convertible has unique
wheel tubs, I must do my repairs low enough on them to catch it in that area where they are the same
with the non-convertibles.

It is my plan to do any rust repairs to the wheel well lip (outer skin) first, then mock it up in place to
dial that tub lip in for length (as it hangs down from the existing upper tub). Once happy with that, I can
remove the outer skin and weld the tub lip in . This will take 500 on-and-off test drives to get right.
.... but, as the rear wheel lip is such a striking detail of the Forward Look cars, and is so often done wrong
on lesser restorations, it is one of those bullets you just gotta bite.


Edited by Doctor DeSoto 2013-10-16 12:56 AM




(DSC02687.jpg)



(drilling welds 2.jpg)



(drilling welds 3.jpg)



(drilling welds 4.jpg)



Attachments
----------------
Attachments DSC02687.jpg (38KB - 198 downloads)
Attachments drilling welds 2.jpg (51KB - 241 downloads)
Attachments drilling welds 3.jpg (41KB - 202 downloads)
Attachments drilling welds 4.jpg (39KB - 206 downloads)
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big m
Posted 2013-10-16 12:51 PM (#403964 - in reply to #386187)
Subject: Re: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



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Location: Williams California
Good to see you going on your Desoto, Brent. Looking forward to your restoration here.

---John
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2013-10-16 3:41 PM (#404006 - in reply to #403964)
Subject: Re: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



5000500050005000100050010010010025
Location: Parts Unknown
I'll be "working in the dirt" for a while, so it will be a slow process. But slow progress is better
than NO progress, right ? Hey, if Denis can do the work he does, I can certainly give this a good
shake.

Just chopping up this rear clip into the workable parts will free up a 15' x 15' floor space, which
is moving forward in itself. If I want to install a wood stove for over the winter, I gotta have some
open space. Fabbing in 20f degree weather with no heat sucks !

One day at a time.
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ttotired
Posted 2013-10-16 7:18 PM (#404046 - in reply to #386187)
Subject: Re: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



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Amazing how much more a mis hit with the hammer hurts when its cold as well

Hate drilling spot welds, There was no consistancy when they did them, just banged them in as fast as they could

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big m
Posted 2013-10-16 7:37 PM (#404048 - in reply to #404006)
Subject: Re: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



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Location: Williams California
Doctor DeSoto - 2013-10-16 12:41 PM

I'll be "working in the dirt" for a while, so it will be a slow process. But slow progress is better
than NO progress, right ? Hey, if Denis can do the work he does, I can certainly give this a good
shake.

Just chopping up this rear clip into the workable parts will free up a 15' x 15' floor space, which
is moving forward in itself. If I want to install a wood stove for over the winter, I gotta have some
open space. Fabbing in 20f degree weather with no heat sucks !

One day at a time.


I hear ya- With no door on the big barn, even here in Ca, it gets to 30-40 degrees, and the wind whips in sometimes. I have a couple smudge pots I burn oil in to make it a tad warmer.

---John
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2013-10-21 12:24 AM (#405015 - in reply to #404048)
Subject: Re: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



5000500050005000100050010010010025
Location: Parts Unknown
Had about an hour of free time tonight and hit the DeSoto project for a short run. Decided to
unbury the DeSoto and see what the trunk looks like under all those parts and undercoating.
Happy news, there are some ugly amateur patches welded in over the top of the original metal,
but a surprising amount of the original floor is very much intact and still in shiny metal/grey
primer. By removing these patches first, I can determine what I need to extract from the parts
clip. I expected this to to be a total wash, but may get a break here.
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60 Imp
Posted 2013-10-21 9:17 AM (#405052 - in reply to #386187)
Subject: Re: 1958 Fireflite Convertible


20005001002525
Location: North Australia
Been a long time coming, this 58 Fireflite.

Keen to see more photo's, so..........

Go Man go!

Steve.
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60 Imp
Posted 2013-10-21 9:27 AM (#405053 - in reply to #386187)
Subject: Re: 1958 Fireflite Convertible


20005001002525
Location: North Australia
What's the plan Doctor?

Built to look original as possible (with subtle upgrades)?

Steve.
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2013-10-21 12:29 PM (#405082 - in reply to #405053)
Subject: Re: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



5000500050005000100050010010010025
Location: Parts Unknown
Short term goal is to finish putting the body back together. Once done, I will pull it off
the frame and do the chassis. As this was already made mechanically good, it should be
more cosmetic than anything. However, the engine and trans will get yanked and the
tricks I plan for maximum fuel economy will be put into place ... namely a bunch of internal
engine stuff and a modern 5-speed transmission. The rear gears will get a raise to 2.76
in the process too. That finished, the body goes back on and we button it up in an atypical
color combo that represents a uniquely late 50's sort of paint scheme. As of now, the plan
is lavender metallic with charcoal sweep and black top.
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hemidave
Posted 2013-10-21 10:57 PM (#405203 - in reply to #405082)
Subject: Re: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



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Doctor DeSoto - 2013-10-21 12:29 PM

Short term goal is to finish putting the body back together. Once done, I will pull it off
the frame and do the chassis. As this was already made mechanically good, it should be
more cosmetic than anything. However, the engine and trans will get yanked and the
tricks I plan for maximum fuel economy will be put into place ... namely a bunch of internal
engine stuff and a modern 5-speed transmission. The rear gears will get a raise to 2.76
in the process too. That finished, the body goes back on and we button it up in an atypical
color combo that represents a uniquely late 50's sort of paint scheme. As of now, the plan
is lavender metallic with charcoal sweep and black top.


And dog dish hubcaps ???
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2013-10-22 1:26 AM (#405214 - in reply to #405203)
Subject: Re: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



5000500050005000100050010010010025
Location: Parts Unknown
I have them, but no, dog dishies were not available on Fireflites and would look inappropriate
on a top line car. That's where the Plaza comes in ....

Not sure what I'll run. I hate the standard wheel covers, which leaves 2 options ... wires, or
the spinners. I have always run wires and love them, but with the way every FL convertible now
seems to wear them, my interest is waning. Perhaps have some 15" wheels custom made to hold
that 14" spinner ???
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57Kelii
Posted 2013-10-22 4:54 AM (#405223 - in reply to #405214)
Subject: Re: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



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Posts: 678
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Location: Los Angeles, California
I like the wires, its a slap in the face and a reminder to all the other FL converts with your unique color scheme which sets yours apart.
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60 Imp
Posted 2013-10-22 9:35 AM (#405243 - in reply to #386187)
Subject: RE: 1958 Fireflite Convertible


20005001002525
Location: North Australia
Chrysler made some good looking full wheel covers in the 60's (and maybe in the 70's), Maybe there is some that would suit the car? last link is the 58 type you don't like?

Steve.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1966-1967-1968-CHRYSLER-USED-NICE-WHEEL-COV...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1962-CHRYSLER-NEW-YORKER-FIFTH-AVE-NEWPORT-...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/NOS-1972-1978-Chrysler-Wheel-Cover-/1506780...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1967-68-NOS-DODGE-POLARA-MONACO-CORONET-14-...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1976-80-NOS-PLYMOUTH-DODGE-VOLARE-ASPEN-14-...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1965-Chrysler-Newport-Wheel-Cover-/16110417...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Our-best-1958-DeSoto-Hub-Cap-Wheel-Cover-/1...

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hemidenis
Posted 2013-10-22 10:24 AM (#405249 - in reply to #386187)
Subject: Re: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



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Good to see you and your project back Doc!
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2013-10-22 1:09 PM (#405273 - in reply to #405243)
Subject: RE: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



5000500050005000100050010010010025
Location: Parts Unknown
The reason I don't care for the 58 DeSoto wheelcovers is the large, flat disc in the center.
Conversely, I like the 57 wheelcover. I'm a picky #@!, and don't like drifting out of period
to maintain a period appearance.

I will take photos of the dog dish and spinner and post here for reference.

I would argue that the 57-58 Dodge spinner is one of the best looking wheelcovers ever made.
57-58 NY'er covers are good looking too. So are the 300 and Imperial covers through those
years.
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2013-10-22 1:11 PM (#405275 - in reply to #405273)
Subject: RE: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



5000500050005000100050010010010025
Location: Parts Unknown
Denis, I credit you with kicking my ass into gear and making this happen. Watching how you
whipped those cars of yours into shape, working in less than ideal conditions. It is time to stop
making excuses. As I said above, slow progress is better than NO progress.
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2013-10-22 10:16 PM (#405394 - in reply to #405275)
Subject: RE: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



5000500050005000100050010010010025
Location: Parts Unknown
I went on a little hunt today and located the 57-61 DeSoto dog dish hubcaps (someone had
asked for a photo of these), and well as the gold half of a Fuel Injection emblem and a handful
of 58 Spring Special trunk bars. Could not find the spinners, but put eyes on them since coming
home, so they are somewhere close. Will post a photo of those when I find them.

The dog dish originally had black paint between the outer rings. It still shows a little, but most
has come off over the years.



Edited by Doctor DeSoto 2013-10-22 10:25 PM




(dog dish.jpg)



(fuel injection emblem.jpg)



Attachments
----------------
Attachments dog dish.jpg (56KB - 191 downloads)
Attachments fuel injection emblem.jpg (43KB - 187 downloads)
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2013-10-22 10:20 PM (#405395 - in reply to #405394)
Subject: RE: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



5000500050005000100050010010010025
Location: Parts Unknown
Photos of the work I did peeling back the trunk floor in the DeSoto to reveal some pretty
decent floor areas and some real amateur patches. I expected far worse, so this is a good
thing !




(trunk floor 1.jpg)



(trunk floor 2.jpg)



Attachments
----------------
Attachments trunk floor 1.jpg (50KB - 188 downloads)
Attachments trunk floor 2.jpg (55KB - 206 downloads)
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58DeSoDodge59
Posted 2013-10-23 12:24 AM (#405425 - in reply to #405395)
Subject: RE: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



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Posts: 664
5001002525
Location: Wild Wonderful
Here is an idea for your wheels. Paint the wheels body color Lavender, use the dog dish caps, but repaint the outer edge (that was black) with the body color, then put a set of beauty rings with them. That way they look like a full hubcap, and it ties in with the car nicely. And it will be unique , and have that 50s feel.
Or if that is not 50s enough, you could paint the wheels and the outer edge of the dog dish black.
.... Just throwing out ideas to ya. Whatever you do will be great, I know it. Good luck.
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2013-10-23 12:53 AM (#405429 - in reply to #386187)
Subject: RE: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



5000500050005000100050010010010025
Location: Parts Unknown
If this were a Firedome, I would not hesitate running the dog dishies. It truly would
be unique. I don't know of a single example of a 57-61 DeSoto running doggies today,
let alone a big body, or a convertible ! But a Fireflite just would be wrong with dog
dishies as an original appearing upline car.

It will boil down to wires or custom wheels and those spinners.
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Lancer Mike
Posted 2013-10-23 10:35 AM (#405479 - in reply to #405429)
Subject: RE: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



5000200010002525
Location: Queen City of the Plains
I might be wrong, but I think the Firedome and the Fireflite both came standard with full wheel covers and the same wheels beneath. If I am not mistaken, the wheels did not have the bumps or tabs around the hub to accommodate a hub cap. Those were only standard (and rare) on the Firesweeps with Dodge wheels.

So, if you had an original Fireflite or Firedome and you wanted to have the hubcaps, you would have to find not only the hubcaps but also a new set of wheels! Good work on the Fireflite, Doc!
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57burb
Posted 2013-10-23 11:12 AM (#405490 - in reply to #405479)
Subject: RE: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



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Posts: 3132
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Location: DFW, TX
I agree with you that the '58 Desoto wheelcovers are bland. The '57 units are more appealing IMO.

The '56 Dodge Lancer spinner hubcaps might be a good choice as well, and they are 15". Just a thought.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dodge-Lancer-1955-1956-Hub-Caps-/1511485664...
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2013-10-23 11:46 AM (#405501 - in reply to #405479)
Subject: RE: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



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Location: Parts Unknown
Lancer Mike - 2013-10-24 7:35 AM

I might be wrong, but I think the Firedome and the Fireflite both came standard with full wheel covers and the same wheels beneath. If I am not mistaken, the wheels did not have the bumps or tabs around the hub to accommodate a hub cap. Those were only standard (and rare) on the Firesweeps with Dodge wheels.

So, if you had an original Fireflite or Firedome and you wanted to have the hubcaps, you would have to find not only the hubcaps but also a new set of wheels! Good work on the Fireflite, Doc!


===================================================

I used to be so up on this, but have been away from it too long now to pull it off the top of my head ....

A regret of mine is not purchasing a 57 Firedome convertible that was a stripper. This car was a pile of
rust in someone's back yard (unmolested) and was equipped with body color wheels and dog dishies. Since
the Firedome was DeSoto's cheapest ragtop for 57, this may have changed for 58 when the Sweep became
the low price ragtop ??? I would have to pour over my old paper to verify, and right now that ain't happening !

For whatever reasons, little thought was given to selling/buying Plymouths with dog dishies back in the day.
But step up to a DeSoto, even a very similar-to-a-Plymouth Firesweep, and it seems few people did not step
up and pay the extra $6 to get the full face wheelcovers. Not sure why.

Personally, I don't think the 58 DeSoto works as a no-sweep car. The 57 side trim worked well with the single
bar, but the 58 just looks like parts are missing. I think a no-sweep ragtop with doggies would be very attractive
in 57 trim, but would look awkward as a 58. I guess if one really wanted an unusual car, that would be the way
to go ? I just could not bring myself to do that to an upline Fireflite. It is too big of a stretch. The dealer would
have sold them a Sweep or Dome.
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2013-10-24 1:21 AM (#405665 - in reply to #405501)
Subject: RE: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



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Location: Parts Unknown
Tonight it was time to finish peeling back the butyl goo (a real b!tch) that the doer of these
terrible patches slimed over all the joints. As long as you can't see the rust underneath, it's
all gone, right ?

Cutting the welds at the patch edge, I used a flatbar to apply pressure and break the welds
before cutting into good floor. I can grind off what welds remain after I cut the metal back to
the point I want to replace. Being careful not to cut too much may save me a little repair later.

You can really see the salt-induced kind of rust here that we don't get in the desert country.
The lap seams are swollen with scale to about 3/8" thick ! .... and gone between the original
spot welds. Do they salt the roads in Syracuse ???

I really need to take some time and get some lights hung. I am using RALS lights just because
I am too eager to get working on the car and don't want to take the time to get some real lights
in place.




(trunk removing old patches L 1.jpg)



(trunk removing old patches L 2.jpg)



(trunk removing old patches L 3.jpg)



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Attachments trunk removing old patches L 1.jpg (43KB - 228 downloads)
Attachments trunk removing old patches L 2.jpg (63KB - 197 downloads)
Attachments trunk removing old patches L 3.jpg (56KB - 217 downloads)
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2013-10-24 1:26 AM (#405666 - in reply to #386187)
Subject: RE: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



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Location: Parts Unknown
Being the only full service DeSoto-Plymouth dealer still in the area, I felt it important to give myself
an award for having such good taste. This arrived in the mail today.




(dealer award.jpg)



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christine-lover
Posted 2013-10-24 12:23 PM (#405730 - in reply to #405666)
Subject: Re: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



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Location: Sept. 1958
It will be cool to see another vert restoration on here.

Btw, here's a pic of my fuelie X, no cut out for the Inj. The correct part number is on the reverse side though.



(image.jpg)



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ttotired
Posted 2013-10-24 5:54 PM (#405805 - in reply to #386187)
Subject: Re: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



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Location: Perth Australia
Without stealing your thread Doc

Wonder where the idea for the 60 dodge emblem came from?





(3325_12.jpg)



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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2013-10-25 12:37 PM (#405990 - in reply to #386187)
Subject: RE: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



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Location: Parts Unknown
Continuing with the trunk floor patch removal, I took some time and fished a light fixture out of the
upstairs storage area and made some hangers to suspend it right there off the underside of the deck
lid. A few new tubes, as the ones in the fixture were toast, and I had good light to work with. The RALS
still helped in areas where the grinder shadowed the work. All is good.

It seems the passenger side is a bit uglier than the driver side !

The worst part of this job is digging the butyl sealer out of the seams. The artist that did this work
apparently had no shortage of the stuff and applied it liberally to disguise his fine craftsmanship. It
takes me half the time to remove the metal that it does to get that nasty stuff out of there. It holds
REAL good and requires a finesse of pulling on the loose end while cutting away at the stuck part with
the 5-in-1 tool. Pull too hard, and it breaks, and then I am left with nothing to pull. But I am almost
finished, and then it is time to trim back my edges and start the rebuild.




(trunk removing old patches 4.jpg)



(trunk removing old patches 5.jpg)



(trunk removing old patches 6.jpg)



(trunk removing old patches 7.jpg)



(trunk removing old patches 8.jpg)



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Attachments trunk removing old patches 4.jpg (61KB - 187 downloads)
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Attachments trunk removing old patches 6.jpg (58KB - 187 downloads)
Attachments trunk removing old patches 7.jpg (62KB - 175 downloads)
Attachments trunk removing old patches 8.jpg (62KB - 167 downloads)
Attachments trunk removing old patches 9.jpg (61KB - 211 downloads)
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big m
Posted 2013-10-25 1:22 PM (#405998 - in reply to #386187)
Subject: Re: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



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Location: Williams California
Looks like a real mess there!
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2013-10-25 4:19 PM (#406038 - in reply to #405998)
Subject: Re: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



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Location: Parts Unknown
I am surprised to see the level of still-in-paint metal here, right alongside totally wasted areas.
I am accustomed to seeing a more uniform rust throughout. Cars from Seattle typically need the
entire trunk pan and side drops replaced, as the rear window trough leaked and allowed water to
just sit on the flat surface, the drops going gunnysack with the outer quarter skin from the wet debris
that always accumulates in that "sump"-like pocket.

I will need to hone my own rusty welding skills, but with this much metal still present, it will be more
of a patch job than a build-it-out-of-nothing adventure. Those are always fun because you are building
out into thin air with no straight lines for reference points. This should not be TOO bad.
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hemidenis
Posted 2013-10-25 6:21 PM (#406070 - in reply to #386187)
Subject: Re: 1958 Fireflite Convertible



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Location: Northen Virginia
Good work Doc, I wish my Imperial was in the US so I can keep working on the sheet metal like you are doing now.
Doc, don't worry about the hubcaps now, when the car is ready your decision about them will be too.
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