Curbside Classic: 1960 DeSoto Adventurer – Late Life Adventures

(Text by Jim Offner, pictures by John Molseed)

If cars could talk, what would an Adventurer say?

This 1960 DeSoto Adventurer four-door sedan might have a story or two to tell. It was sitting outside a parts store in downtown Waterloo, Iowa, and Doug Wubben–a genial resident of nearby Independence, Iowa and the man who brought it back to life–was happy to tell his tale of restoring the car.

First, a little backstory on the model. The Adventurer came into being in 1956 as a subset of DeSoto’s top-of-the-line Fireflite series. The Adventurer was first marketed as a limited-production two-door hardtop that was available only in white-and-gold and black-and-gold color schemes and fitted with a high-output 341 cu in Hemi V8, dual exhausts and custom appointments and trim.

Standard equipment included dual side mirrors, gold wheel covers, radio, electric clock, a padded instrument panel, windshield washers, full instrumentation and heavy duty suspension. DeSoto sold just short of 1,000 units in that first-year run.

This model, one of 11,597 produced in the Adventurer’s final year, is a rare four-door sedan that was offered only in 1960. Wubben has been working toward getting the car back to original condition. Even the wire wheels are similar to OEM versions found on the Adventurers that rolled out of showrooms more than a half-century ago.

Wubben said he found this car some four years ago, in a corn crib outside Fargo, N.D. He didn’t know how long it had sat idle, but said it was “a piece of junk.” As you might surmise from the photos, he has made quite a bit of progress; even so, the restoration process is ongoing. There’s nary a square inch of rust to be found, although Wubben said that when he found the vehicle, oxidation was in full throttle.

It’s not the first DeSoto restoration Wubben has taken on. He recently sold a rare, two-door Adventurer coupe to a buyer in Sweden. “I don’t have any attachments to these cars,” he said.

His wife, on the other hand, says she might want to hang onto this beauty.

And what a car it is, in its shiny jet-black paint. Wubben said he has rebuilt the original 383 cu in power plant; as of the day these photos were taken, he’d put just 250 miles on it.

If cars could talk, what would this Adverturer say? More than likely, thanks. And thanks to the skilled hand of an Iowan who loves to restore old metal, more such Adventures are sure to come.