De Soto convertible steals show at Florida auction

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(Rupp/Flynn auction photo)

You probably couldn’t pay someone to drive it as is when it was new, but
a rare 1958 De Soto Adventurer convertible factory fitted with a Bendix
fuel-injection system sold at the Jan. 2-4 Rupp/Flynn Ft. Lauderdale Beach
Auction for what is likely a DeSoto world record price of $475,000.

In 1958, only five De Sotos were equipped with the electronic Bendix
fuel-injection system, which proved to be a maintenance nightmare. Most of
the cars fitted with these Bendix units quickly had the fuel-injection
removed and replaced with dual four-barrel carburetors. This particular
DeSoto, claimed to be the only fuel-injected car remaining operational, also
has the distinction of being the "pilot" example (production car #1) of only
82 Adventurer convertibles built in ’58.

Second owner of the fuelie Adventurer ragtop, Tom White of Hopkinton,
Mass., bought the car in barn-fresh condition in 1998, where it had been
parked since its original owner traded it for an RV in 1975. White got the
fuel-injection system to work correctly, and did a complete restoration on
the DeSoto, bringing it back to number 1-plus condition. Hopefully, the
undisclosed new owner of the car will have the same mechanical acumen to
keep the Adventurer’s 361-cid/345-hp V-8 snorting with the Bendix unit
top-side.

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