CC For Sale: 1961 De Soto 2-Door Hardtop–Rare and Unrestored

Imagine you’re walking or driving down an unfamiliar street, and you see this!

For sale in West Babylon, NY (shown on Craigslist);  a 1961 De Soto 2-door hardtop coupe, in what is probably Surf Turquoise and Glacier White–a really stunning combination.  If you ever imagined going back in time to the late ’60s/early ’70s, these photos give me that feeling:  an unusual old car from the “Gorp Era” parked in someone’s driveway, worn and weathered but presumably still driveable.  A memorable car you might wistfully recall, but with the realization that it’s probably long gone.  But not this one!  By some miracle, it survives!

The rather bizarre front-end styling with diagonal headlights is reminiscent of the ’59 Lincolns.


1961 was the last year for De Soto.  But in fact, all ’61 De Sotos were built between mid-October and November 30th 1960 when the plug was prematurely pulled on this illustrious marque, which was positioned above a Dodge, but below a Chrysler.  1961 De Soto model year sales amounted to only 3,039 units (after selling 26,081 cars the year before, and roughly 117,000 in 1957!)   For 1961, there were just two models:  a 2-door hardtop and and 4-door hardtop.  There were no model names like Fireflite or Adventurer;  they were just “De Sotos”.   And only 911 of the 2-doors like this one were sold, making this quite a rare car indeed!

Original upholstery appears to be beautifully intact!


Extravagant “space-age” instrument panel is very similar to the ’61 Dodge.


Under the hood: a 361 cubic inch, 265 horsepower V-8 with 2 barrel carburetor (minus the original air cleaner).


Except for some styling and trim differences, this car and a ’61 Chrysler Newport are very similar.  (Did you notice the cute little kitty cat?)


A previous CC post attempts to find the last surviving 1961 De Soto ever made.  For all I know this could be it, although we’d need a VIN number to determine when during the brief production run this particular example was made.

This brings up another interesting point:  Did the original owners/buyers of these last-of-the-line, super-low production cars realize (or even care about) the rarity and special-ness of what they had?

1958 Packard


1957 Hudson Hornet


1955 Kaiser Manhattan


1941 Graham Hollywood


The ’61 De Soto, the ’58 Packard, the ’57 Hudson, the ’55 Kaiser, the ’41 Graham, etc.–was it “just another car” to these people, or did they realize they were driving a scarce, historical oddity?  Typical owners, not having access to modern reference works, were probably unable to look up production numbers–and, not knowing (or caring) much about automotive history, such persons may not have even considered the fact that their particular car was “the last of the line.”  How many people today are even aware of when the last Plymouth, Mercury, or Pontiac was made?

The selling price of $7500 seems reasonable to me, assuming there are no major rust issues or fatal mechanical problems.  I predict this will sell quickly!

See also:  Curbside History:  The All-Too-Brief History of Diagonally Canted Headlights

CC Unicorn Hunt:  The Last Cars from Packard, Edsel, and Studebaker