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Featured Customs Wagon hunt may be OVER!!! Now, the stupid questions start...

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by flynbrian48, Jan 11, 2020.

  1. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 6,263

    flynbrian48
    Member

    I'm excited! I've been searching for the wagon that'd be "just right" for us after our Pontiac was totaled by some f---wit on a cell phone in August. The likely victim is a '52 DeSoto (I'd decided a Chrysler or DeSoto would be the perfect replacement) that's in MN.

    I'd been messaging the guy for the past month, with sporadic and vague responses. Turns out, just like me, his father had passed away during this time, other issues got in the way, but now we're connected and I think I'm gonna pull the trigger on it.

    So, my question is: This car has the DeSoto Hemi (291?), which I understand are different from the smaller Dodge, and bigger Chryslers. My thought is I'd like to freshen this up, and put a modern transmission, ideally a 700R4 with overdrive behind this engine, but I don't know enough to know whether the adaptors for a Chrysler 331 fit? I had an early Chrysler 331 with the extended bell housing, is the same as the DeSoto, and are adaptors available for these as well? Would a Chrysler 727 be a better choice? I looked a the "Hot Heads" site but I don't know what works with what...

    We will be towing our '47, 25 foot Spartan trailer with this car like we did the Pontiac, I'm busying myself on an icy Saturday planning and daydreaming.

    80680624_580396052526978_7469358932775927808_n.jpg 80598884_1489745767868176_1493405702717177856_n.jpg 81224098_487308888641585_7682498020574756864_n.jpg
     
    1low52, Okie Pete, brad2v and 24 others like this.
  2. Those are such COOL rides! You may try to ask this guy about the adapting. He may or may not know, but is worth a try.... HEMI card.jpg
     
  3. atch
    Joined: Sep 3, 2002
    Posts: 4,294

    atch
    Member

    If this turns out half as good as the Poncho it'll be killer. Wish I had some answers for you, but I know absolutely nothing about these old MOPARs.

    All I've got for you is encouragement.
     
  4. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 10,884

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    @flynbrian48 ...the engine, if original, is a 276 cu in model (used thru '54 models). Unlike the first Chrysler hemis, the engines DeSoto introduced in '52 and Dodge in '53, the blocks did not have the extended bell configuration. As you may know, Chrysler switched to the 'no bell' block in '54. and all three have the same configuration, block and crankshaft flange bolt pattern. Consequently they all use the same transmission adapter kits;

    Desoto upped the cubes to 291 in '55, 330 in '56, 341/345 in '57. In '57 they also used the 325 Dodge poly head engine.

    Dodges began as 241 in '53/'54....270 in '55....315 in '56, 325 in '57.

    The Desoto engines were only slightly smaller physically than the Chrysler models (a couple of inches or less in all directions) and there is room for any version. So, if you wished, you could upfit the Desoto with a Chrysler to accommodate your towing.

    I love that Mopar wagon body and congratulate you on your good taste and good luck finding a suitable car to build.

    Regards,
    Ray
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2020
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  5. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 6,263

    flynbrian48
    Member

    Thanks! I thought they were 291 or something, but admittedly, I know NOTHING about them. This one, according to the owner, turns over and has compression, but he hasn't tried to get it running at all. I'm assuming complete rebuild, but I'd be up for that if it's rebuildable as opposed to an engine swap, as long as I can put a modern transmission behind it.
     
  6. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 6,263

    flynbrian48
    Member

    BTW, my wife, after agreeing that the DeSoto was a worthy candidate (after vetoing DOZENS of others), pulled up a photo of a '53 Buick woody wagon, and said, "One of these would be fine too, I like the portholes in the fenders." I told her I agreed, but the (at least) $100K buy in price over the DeSoto might be a damper for us getting one of those...
     
  7. daliant
    Joined: Nov 25, 2009
    Posts: 679

    daliant
    Member

    Hot Heads lists adapters for chevy and chrysler automatic transmissions. The extended bell 51-53 chrysler engine is the only oddball in the bunch, all other early hemi's share the same bellhousing bolt pattern.
    There are also adapters available to use more modern fuel pumps and water pumps.
    Also be aware that there are no new camshafts available for the desoto hemi if the engine needs a full rebuild.
     
  8. Good luck Brian, looking forward to following you build. HRP
     
    osage orange and flynbrian48 like this.
  9. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 10,884

    Hnstray
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Quincy, IL

    Yeah, the Buicks are beautiful, but all that real wood can be a PITA over the long run. You could design a very tasteful faux woody décor on the Desoto for a small fraction of the difference.

    The only down side to the Desoto engine is a more limited supply of performance parts vs Dodge or Chrysler. That said, a good complete engine to start with shouldn't present any particular problems.

    Ray
     
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  10. BuckeyeBuicks
    Joined: Jan 4, 2010
    Posts: 1,664

    BuckeyeBuicks
    Member
    from ohio

    If the Buick was only another 100k over the Mopar I would have to go with the Buick. Then again if bullshit was money I would have billions:D Good luck with your wagon project!!
     
  11. Parts are indeed harder to find for a DeSoto, but I was able to access everything except for a camshaft for my 330. I found there are more aftermarket parts for the low deck engine like yours over the tall deck that I have.
     
    flynbrian48 and chryslerfan55 like this.
  12. Wow!!
    That will make a GREAT ride.
     
  13. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 23,731

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

  14. williebill
    Joined: Mar 1, 2004
    Posts: 2,451

    williebill
    Member

    Tell people that it's got a Mercury grille in it.
     
    Hnstray likes this.
  15. partsdawg
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 2,499

    partsdawg
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Minnesota

    Since you will be in Minnesota call these guys and ask about a cam.
    http://berrycammn.com/
    Lester Prairie is about 60 miles north of New Ulm.
     
  16. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 6,263

    flynbrian48
    Member

    brad2v, Johnboy34 and chryslerfan55 like this.
  17. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 6,263

    flynbrian48
    Member

    So, the DeSoto and Dodge engines DON'T have the extended bell housing? Good to know. I've looked at the HotHeads page and it just says "All early Hemi's", so I wasn't sure...
     
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  18. fourspd2quad
    Joined: Jul 6, 2006
    Posts: 618

    fourspd2quad
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Congrats on the find. You deserve it after your misfortunes, just stay away from that A-hole who wrecked you. Best of luck with the build. Wagons rock.
     
    flynbrian48 likes this.
  19. Some more information on that rare beast! IMG_6797 (2).JPG
     
  20. jetnow1
    Joined: Jan 30, 2008
    Posts: 1,358

    jetnow1
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from CT
    1. A-D Truckers

    Looking forward to your adventures with this one, hope they are all happy ones.
     
    flynbrian48 likes this.
  21. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 6,263

    flynbrian48
    Member

    550 made? Well, that's perfect. I like obscure stuff, so this makes my decision even smarter!
     
  22. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 6,263

    flynbrian48
    Member

    4 bbl intakes are available reasonably priced from "HotHeads", and I have a new, never used E-500 cfm carb in the box. That, a check of the bore, rings, bearings, and a valve job ought to get me in business. The adaptors for a modern trans are cheap, I found "Scarebird" disc brake kits, so I think with an interior and some clean up, this car will do. Thanks everybody, we're wagon people again!
     
    Okie Pete, brad2v, das858 and 2 others like this.
  23. flatford39
    Joined: Dec 3, 2006
    Posts: 2,356

    flatford39
    Member

    ^^^^You know it's not going to be that easy now don't you^^^
     
  24. Shhh!... he's on fire.....
     
  25. That's a LUCKY find there Brian, good luck with her. Me, I am still searching for mine. Bruce.
     
    brad2v, chryslerfan55 and nochop like this.
  26. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 6,263

    flynbrian48
    Member

    It doesn't hurt to be optimistic...:p And, if it doesn't, I'll put a 350 in it. Or a 440. Or a...
     
  27. nochop
    Joined: Nov 13, 2005
    Posts: 1,174

    nochop
    Member
    from norcal

    Couple on “Sitting And Rotting”, but they are going to get fixed up some day
     
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  28. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 5,700

    Bandit Billy
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    @flynbrian48
    I bought the Hot Heads adapter and stuck a MOPAR A518 behind my 330 Desoto. Easy install. I am also running their single 4 BBL intake and Sanderson headers they sell both fit perfect. I went as far as to install a Sanderson AC pump on the 330 with Hot Heads brackets though I didn't use them in their intended position (they are meant to be mounted down low, I went up high) and added some bracketry of my own to complete the install. If I can be of any help man, I'm here for ya.

    Cool wagon B.
     
    osage orange and chryslerfan55 like this.
  29. Cool...good luck with it. A used car dealer has two Town and Country's sitting on the back lot....same color....go buy often just to check on them....he think's they're his 401K plan..........
     
  30. fourspd2quad
    Joined: Jul 6, 2006
    Posts: 618

    fourspd2quad
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Wow only 550 made! I can't imagine there are many left at all. I know this is a hot rod site but I would be tempted to keep it stock.
     
    chryslerfan55 and 31Dodger like this.

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