“My Fare Lady” – 1947 Was a Very Good Year
In 2012, my Dad and I were on our annual vacation in Pebble Beach, California. It has become our family tradition to visit Pebble Beach each August for the Concours de’ Elegance where the most prized collector cars and motorcycles in the world roll onto the 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links. One night during the week of the 61st annual edition of the Concours de’ Elegance my dad and I were walking into The Lodge at Pebble Beach, when we noticed parked in front of The Tap Room, a beautiful vintage DeSoto Taxi. It was quite awesome in the traditional red and yellow color scheme of the period. It was that night that my Dad and I fell in love with this vintage DeSoto Taxi.
After dinner we went back outside to view the taxi and perhaps see the owner, however it was already gone. For the next several months we unsuccessfully attempted to find the owner of the taxi to see if it may be for sale or learn more about what the exact year, make, and model is. Our Internet searches confirmed that the taxi we saw in Pebble Beach the previous year was likely a 1946-48 DeSoto Custom 7-Passenger Taxi. It was then that I began to search for a similar un-restored DeSoto that was for sale and within driving distance from our home in Inverness, IL, to evaluate for possible acquisition and restoration.
It wasn’t until late June of 2013 that I was able to find a similar DeSoto in reasonable condition, located in the small town of Bucyrus in Missouri south of St. Louis. My dad spoke to the owner of the DeSoto by phone and determined it was worth the near 9+ hour trip each way to see the vehicle in person for a final evaluation. My Dad then called an automobile expert, Mel Anderson to travel with him to Bucyrus, Missouri in order for Mel to provide a professional evaluation and recommendation whether to purchase this 1947 DeSoto.
Mel noted that this vehicle’s body was in amazing condition with it being 99.5 % rust free! After Mel drove and evaluated the vehicle, we discussed it over lunch at a local restaurant and he gave it his final approval for acquisition. A purchase price of $ 8,600.00 was agreed to and a couple of weeks later, the car was transported up to the Chicago area. After some basic repairs to make the vehicle safely drivable, we brought it home while we determined the right restoration company to select.
When choosing a restoration company, I was looking for a place that was a complete package. I ended up narrowing it down to about three different restoration companies, but none compared to the standard that was set for service, quality, and reputation of Custom Classics in Island Lake, IL whom we ultimately selected. We enjoyed the fact that they took hundreds of photos to memorialize the restoration process and uploaded them to their website for family and friends to
conveniently view. We appreciated being able to visit their facility to check progress in person at our convenience, even on Saturday mornings. Their entire staff was extremely professional and took a personal interest in the quality and success of the entire restoration process. They allowed my Dad and I to take part in the restoration process and be fully engaged along the way. What surprised my Dad and I was that we were able to complete a full modernized-restoration in less than a year!
Before restoration, my Dad and I were able to get the car and its original 108 horsepower engine up to a top speed of fifty miles per hour with some difficulty going down a major road near our home, however it was not a pleasant experience. Now, with an upgraded 350 horsepower V-8 Chevy crate engine, R700 automatic transmission, power windows, air conditioning, power steering, Sirius XM radio, and much more, the DeSoto is easier, fun, and more comfortable to drive than it ever was imagined it could be when it rolled off the DeSoto assembly line 67 years ago in 1947. It is like a brand new car with the classic vintage body style of a 1940’s era vehicle.
The satisfaction we get out of our 1947 DeSoto Taxi Custom is priceless. The vehicle has appeared in a number of parades, cruise nights, and car shows since being completed on July 2, 2014 and is a big hit everywhere it is seen. We were thrilled when we won a second place award at the National DeSoto Club Convention in Ft. Wayne, Indiana earlier this year. We believe it is one of only a handful of Vintage DeSoto Taxi’s from this era in existence worldwide today. Custom Classics made the restoration process a fun adventure and a memorable experience in our Vintage DeSoto Taxi story. There already are many stories to share about our family treasure and we anticipate there will be many more to come. Our taxi even inspired the National DeSoto Club president, Les Pesavento to decide to restore his own 1929 DeSoto Taxi. We love driving our own “My Fare Lady” and having the legacy of the Classic 1940’s DeSoto Taxi live on for generations to come.
Interested in hiring this vintage taxi for a ride? Visit Dan’s website at www.vintage-taxi.com for more information.Back to Recent News