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The LaSalle was sold as a companion marque of Cadillac from 1927 to 1940. The two were linked by similarly-themed names, both being named for explorers—Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac and René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, respectively. In an era where automotive brands were somewhat restricted to building a specific car per model year, Alfred Sloan surmised that the best way to bridge the gaps was to develop “companion” marques that could be sold through the current sales network. Under the plan, Cadillac, which had seen it base prices soar in the heady 1920s, was assigned LaSalle as a companion car to fill the gap that existed between itself and Buick.What emerged as the LaSalle in 1927 is widely regarded as the beginning of modern automotive styling, and its designer Harley Earl would launch a thirty year career as GM’s Vice President of the newly created Art & Colour Studios that still guide GM’s designs to this day.Prior to the LaSalle, automobiles essentially followed a set pattern, with design changes set by engineering needs. Earl, who had been hired by Cadillac General Manager Lawrence P. Fisher, conceived the LaSalle not as a junior Cadillac, but as something more agile and stylish. Influenced by the rakish Hispano-Suiza roadsters of the time, Earl’s LaSalle emerged as a smaller yet elegant counterpoint to Cadillac’s larger cars, and unlike anything else built by an American automotive manufacturer. Built by Cadillac to Cadillac standards, the LaSalle soon emerged as trend setting automobile within GM, and Earl was placed in charge of overseeing the design of all GM vehicles.LaSalles were offered in a full-range of body styles, including Fisher and Fleetwood built custom body designs. The roadster could also be ordered in two tone color combinations at a time when dark colors like black and navy blue were still the most familiar colors produced by manufacturers. Earl’s design even included a nod to the inspirational Hispano-Suiza with the marque’s circled trademark “LaS” cast into the horizontal tie bar between the front lights.
In its final years, the LaSalle once again became more Cadillac-like in its appearance and details. The narrow radiator grille opening was retained, and was flanked by additional side grill work. Headlights which had moved down and secured to the “cat-walk” were again attached to the radiator shell. One interesting feature adopted by LaSalle in these years was a sun roof marketed as the “Sunshine Turret Top”. Sales again climbed in 1939 to 23,028.
The 1940 and final LaSalle was introduced in October 1939, and in its final year as it had in its first, by a full array of semi-custom body styles including a convertible sedan. Earl also oversaw this redesign, and the LaSalle emerged as a smooth flowing design, its trademark thin radiator was flanked by a series of thin chrome slots giving the LaSalle a futuristic look.
This nice older restoration is an excellent running example that has had some recent cosmetic restoration work, most notably the interior and top. Both of those items are in excellent condition and are as new. The paint is very nice as well and could be as recent as the top and interior. The only real weaker point of the car is the pot metal brightwork, which is pitted here and there. This of course only noticible when you are very close to the car, it is fine for touring and looks pretty strong from 10 feet. The bumpers are nicely rechromed, its only the pot metal trim and window trim that could use some help. This is a great tour car that can be pressed into service immediately.