Collector's curb spotlight: burke brown
By Ashleigh Quinn
For Burke Brown, collecting classic cars began as a joint hobby for him and his father. When Burke was in high school they responded to an ad in a newspaper that claimed a 1937 DeSoto Business Coupe was for sale and had no rust. Given the year of the car this was unheard of, making it a must-see for Burke and his father. The DeSoto turned out to be spotless, just as the ad had stated, but the story of the car still remained a mystery. “Unfortunately we never really knew the whole story, but I imagine it’s a sad one,” he said. “The car was new in 1937, was probably used up until the war in 1941 or 1942 and somebody probably never came back to use it.”
After purchasing the DeSoto, Burke and his father were struck with an idea. “Since that was a Business Coupe my father and I always thought, ‘If only this were a convertible, how neat that would be,’” he said. Finding a DeSoto Convertible Coupe was going to be more difficult since only around 900 DeSoto convertibles were produced. Burke and his father hunted for the convertible until his father passed away in 1979. Twenty years later Burke would find the car that he and his father had dreamed of.
Burke heard through a friend that a Convertible Coupe was available and he and a friend traveled with a Durango and a trailer and rescued the car. The car needed a full restoration and although he did not complete it until over a decade later, he had finally completed what he and his father had started so many years ago.
The DeSoto Convertible Coupe, along with the rest of Burke’s collection, gets a lot of use from him and his family. “If I’m going to a friend’s house and the weather is good, I will drive one of the [collectible] cars, rather than a modern one,” he said.
The 1937 DeSoto Business Coupe that started Burke on his journey as a collector will forever remain apart of his family. “The problem is I would never part with the [Business Coupe] from back in the days when my dad and I bought it and started working on it together. I don’t remember that we ever talked about if we ever did find a convertible would we keep the other one or not, but I know the answer to that,” he said.
This 1937 DeSoto Convertible Coupe will be on display at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum from Oct. 30 – Dec. 30, 2012.
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