While the Firesweep resembled other 1957 DeSoto models, its most distinguishing characteristic was its physical relationship to concurrent, smaller Dodge vehicles, which shared a substructure with the Firesweep. While the Firesweep featured DeSoto's signature tail fins, the front clip (the front section, forward of the firewall) was based on the Dodge Coronet. The most telling feature was the headlight design, housed under heavily chromed lids typical of Dodge. Firesweep grilles were similar to those on other DeSoto models.
The Firesweep could seat six passengers and was available as a 4-door sedan, 5-door station wagon, 2-door coupé and 2-door convertible. Depending on the body style, Firesweeps weighed between 3,660 and 3,980 lb (1,660 and 1,674 kg). Power for the cars was provided by Chrysler's 361 V8 overhead valve engine capable of 295 hp at 4,600 rpm. A 3-speed manual transmission was standard and an optional Torqueflite automatic transmission was also available. The majority of 1959 Firesweeps were equipped with the automatic transmission.
The base price of the Firesweep (1957) was US$3,169 and it was offered in one and two-tone exterior finishes. Features included power steering, power brakes, dashboard clock, push-button radio and whitewall tires.
The first year of the car’s production, 1957, was the best year for Firesweep sales. A decline in DeSoto quality and increasing market pressures led to the end of the Firesweep’s production at the end of the 1959 model year, during which the cars carried only DeSoto external nameplates.
The final Desoto model, lacking a series name, was offered for the 1961 model year. DeSoto production ended in November 1960.
Actually in 1957 the DeSoto Firesweep was powered by the Dodge "Poly" 325 V8 with a 2bbl Stromberg down-draft carburetor. The 325 was basically a detuned polyspherical combustion chambered version of the Dodge "Red Ram" 325 Hemi. In fact the Firesweep was the only model in 1957 and 1958 to be offered without the famous The DeSoto Firesweep was Desoto's low priced entry-level vehicle and shared many parts with the 1957 Dodge Coronet, to include the frame. Body styles offered were: Convertible, 2-door sportsman hardtop, 2-door sedan, 4-door sportsman hardtop, 4-door sedan, and a 9 passenger shopper station wagon (complete with rear-facing "death seat").
In 1958 and 1959 DeSoto used the Chrysler Corporate 361 wedge style V8. The Firesweep was available with a one-color paint job, a 2 tone paint job, and even a 3 tone paint job (the body was a different color than the "sweep" on the side of the body, and the roof was a different color still). The Firesweep was offered with 3 different transmissions as well, a 2 speed PowerFlite, a 3 speed TorqueFlite, or a 3 speed column-shifted manual. DeSoto offered a laundry list of options for the vehicle to include, but not limited to: clock, AM radio, rear speaker, Air Conditioning, carpeting, deluxe cloth seat inserts, dual rear antennae (which looks VERY cool, but did not really enhance your pick-up of AM radio), deluxe interior lighting, stainless steel stone shields, power steering, power brakes...etc.
- Gunnell, John, Editor (1987). The Standard Catalog of American Cars 1946-1975. Kraus Publications. ISBN 0-87341-096-3.