1957 DeSoto cowl tag ID (versions 3 and 4)!!!

I've lumped cowl tag version 3 and 4 together since the codes are similar. BUT, I have a LOOONG way to go to interpret these tags.

PLEASE, if you own a 1957 DeSoto Explorer or Shopper wagon, consider sending me the info from your cowl tag, and info about your car, so I may improve the accuracy of this page!) By the way, for those who don't know, the Shopper is the two-seat wagon, and the Explorer is a three seat wagon. Both were available as Fireflite and Firesweep versions, but NOT in the Firedome series.


Here's the cowl tag of this 1957 DeSoto style. I have never seen this on other than Firesweeps:

FOR THIS COWL TAG, there are only a few "words" to interpret.

  • SCHEDULE is an internal numbering system used by Chrysler and of little relevance to the restorer.

  • BDY means BODY. Here are the codes:
  • 3145 4-door Firesweep sedan
  • 3146 2-dr Firesweep Sportsman
  • 3148 Firesweep Shopper station wagon
  • 3149 4-dr Firesweep Sportsman
  • 3348 Firesweep Explorer station wagon

  • PNT This is the PAINT CODE.  For more detail, and for color samples, see my web page on DeSoto COLORS.  The first letter is the roof color.  The second letter is the main body color, and the third letter is the lower body sweep, if any. Sometimes there's a number associated with that code, but the LETTERS are what determines the correct color combination for your car.

  • TRM This is the TRIM code. This is the combination of material types and colors for the car interior.  Here's what I have so far:

        These are the Firesweep 4-dr sedan codes:
        504    Blue cloth/vinyl
        505    Green cloth/vinyl
        506    Black/silver cloth-vinyl
        551    "Special" Blue cloth/vinyl
        552    "Special" Green cloth/vinyl
        553    "Special" Tan cloth/vinyl
        583    "Special" Beige and Charcoal cloth/vinyl

        These are the Firesweep Sportsman codes:
        506    Black/silver cloth-vinyl(may have been available)
        514    Blue "Nugget Tweed" cloth/vinyl
        515    Green "Nugget Tweed" cloth/vinyl
        516    Black and Silver "Nugget Tweed" cloth/vinyl
        561    "Special" Blue cloth/vinyl
        562    "Special" Green cloth/vinyl
        563    "Special" Beige and gray cloth/vinyl
        564    "Special" Gray and red cloth/vinyl
        626    Black/gold vinyl (station wagon only)

    Note that for a Firesweep wagon, my resources show that only a 626, black & gold vinyl, was available. However, I have seen at least one Firesweep wagon (converted to an ambulance) with the TRIM CODE of 551.

  • Here are samples of the "Nugget Tweed" cloth and the vinyl material. Click to enlarge.

    Sample of Nugget Tweed cloth. Sample of vinyl material.

    Here's another style cowl tag for a 1957 DeSoto. I have never seen this type except on Fireflite wagons:

    FOR THIS COWL TAG, there are also only a few "words" to interpret.

  • MDL means MODEL and will be 2168 for a Fireflite Shopper, or 2368 for a Fireflite Explorer

  • PNT This is the PAINT CODE.  For more detail, and for color samples, see my web page on DeSoto COLORS.  The first letter is the roof color.  The second letter is the main body color, and the third letter is the lower body sweep, if any.

  • TRIM This, of course, is the TRIM. Technically, DeSoto calls the trim package for Fireflite wagons 623, but only the last two digits, the 23, show on the tag. Trim 623 is the only available package I have found for Fireflite wagons so far, and is TAN VINYL.

  • SCH I assume this means SCHEDULE, but I haven't figured out how to decode it (YET). On newer Mopars, this would be the month and date of manufacture.

  • ITEM I haven't figured this one out yet.

  • BODY This obviously is BODY, but I don't know the codes yet. It may mean a body NUMBER rather than a code, since the body type is listed above under MDL. I have had one reported code given to me -- 01058, which does indeed seem to convey that it is a number as stated above.

  • SO/FO This means SPECIAL ORDER/FOREIGN ORDER. If your car has anything stamped here, it is an unusual vehicle or a foreign one.


    The double rows of small numbers below the first row identified above are to be read from top to bottom. If a third and usually larger number is printed in a vertical column, the car was produced with that option code item. If, for example, the first row has a 3, and under the 3 on the next row is a 4, and under the 4 is a 5, then option 345 (power brakes) came on your car.

    Here are the options I believe apply AT LEAST ON THE FIREFLITE (I'm not so sure on the Firesweep):

  • 315 - Antenna, twin rear manual
  • 317 - Bumper guards, front and rear
  • 318 - Tires, white sidewall rayon tubeless
  • 319 - Radio
  • 321 - Radio with touch tuner
  • 322 - Rear shelf speaker
  • 323 - Heater
  • 324 - Rear defogger (N/A convertible)
  • 325 - Power brakes
  • 326 - Power seat
  • 327 - Power steering
  • 328 - Power windows
  • 329 - Electric clock
  • 331 - Vanity mirror
  • 332 - Solex glass
  • 333 - Safety cushion dash pad
  • 334 - Mirror, tilt-type
  • 335 - Mirror, left outside rear view
  • 336 - Windshield washer
  • 337 - Torqueflite transmission (standard on Fireflite)
  • 338 - Air foam rear seat cushion
  • 341 - Undercoating
  • 344 - Air conditioning (323 required)
  • 345 - Highway Hi-Fi (321 required)
  • 349 - Dual headlights
  • 351 - Power antenna
  • 352 - Instant heater
  • 353 - Stone shields (front edge read wheel well)
  • 354 - License plate frame
  • 355 - Heavy duty generator
  • 541 - Mirror, right outside rear view
  • NOTE THAT THESE CODES ARE THE CHRYSLER CODES AND ARE DIFFERENT FROM THE REGULAR DESOTO CODES! I believe them to be correct, however, for the Fireflite wagons since they match up with the codes and options on the cars for which I have records. I don't have much information on Firesweep wagons, but they MAY follow the regular DeSoto codes and not the Chrysler codes above. IF ANY OF YOU KNOW THE MEANING OF ANY OTHER CODES, PLEASE EMAIL ME!!!  Again, If you own a 1957 Desoto wagon and can send me your car information and the cowl tag codes, I'll try to piece this all together!

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