6. De Soto Fire Dome V8
Back in the 50’s, the De Soto Company was an integral part of the Chrysler Corporation and a strong seller in the middle of the market range. The economy brands were Dodge and Plymouth. De Soto was positioned above them, and Chrysler and Imperial were at the top of the range. Unfortunately, due to weakening sales, they discontinued the De Soto brand in 1960.
However, before it made automotive history, De Soto offered four versions of the Hemi engine, which they called the Fire Dome V8. The first De Soto Hemi V8 was the 4.5-liter, 276 CID engine with 160 HP. They based it on the Chrysler 331 Hemi, but it came with a smaller bore and stroke. It emerged in 1952 and proved to be popular until 1955 when they discontinued it.
The next version was the 291 CID Fire Dome V8 with 170 HP. It was an improved 276 with slightly bigger displacement and power. De Soto only produced this engine in 1955. However, for 1956 and 1957, De Soto produced two bigger, stronger Fire Dome 5.6-liter engines that featured 341 and 345 CID of displacement, respectively. Using 9.5:1 high compression heads, those Hemis delivered 345 HP, making the De Soto one of the most powerful production cars in America in its heyday.