Saturday, November 27, 2010
Downtown DeSoto open house reveals an unforgettable collection of automotive passion in downtown Clinton
Take the place I went this weekend. "Downtown DeSoto" is located about 75-miles south of KC in Clinton, Mo., and when it comes to truly fascinating collections, this one is hard to beat.
The collection is the work of Jim Raysik, who is also the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and GMC dealer in Clinton. And although there are some great cars, what really hits you is the meticulousness and completeness of the presentation.
On the other side of the showroom are the old offices, now lined with more rare accessories, and an impressive display of restored engines. And the fact is, if the showroom area was all there was to this place, your visit would be perfectly satisfying.
Back where the service department used to be, the walls are lined with interesting, original old cars. Some of them have some real star power, like the ultra-rare '34 DeSoto Airfow coupe. Some of them are a little more ordinary, like the '50 Plymouth coupe that Raysik likes to use as a daily driver. But when you put them together as a whole, you begin to realize how great this comes together as a collection.
Oh, and by the way, if you walk out the back door and wander to the next building, there are even more nice old cars to see. A Chrysler 300 here; a '51 Chevy club coupe there, even a 23,000-mile '76 Vega coupe. The collection has a bit of a Chrysler skew, but most every carmaker is represented.
My folks brought back pictures of Downtown DeSoto for me to look at last year, but I was never able to really appreciate it until I saw if for myself on Friday. Unfortunately, not anyone can just drop in and check it out anytime they want. Downtown DeSoto holds an open house only once or twice a year. Occasionally they'll open the doors for a car club or private party. But for the rest of the time, it is a therapeutic retreat for its owner.
In the meantime, check out the slideshow below for pictures of all the restored and original cars, parts, and accessories that make up Downtown DeSoto.
Also, if you enjoyed this story, you may also like this post about a lost auto museum also located in Missouri.
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