Sunday, June 15, 2014

Cadillac's lesser known cousin for Show Car Sunday!

La Salle - Father's Day Edition
Here is a majestic and extremely classy sedan that made me pull a U-turn when I was already late getting back to the city recently. I'm glad I did because up close it was even nicer that the 50mph glimpse I caught (which is often not the case).
 This is none other than a 1940 La Salle Series 52 Custom sedan. This is a full-grown, voluptuous car built exactly at the moment between the fenders being completely separate from the rest of the car and being integrated into the body. For instance, the headlights are almost flush with the fenders, which also have sections of grill on them. 10 years earlier the lights would've been mounted on little stalks either coming out of the side of the hood or fenders, and the grill would be restricted to the middle main body section of the car (Pierce-Arrow was an exception offering headlights much like these on some models starting in 1914).
La Salle was a division of General Motors positioned just below Cadillac to fill a price gap in their overall lineup. This looks very much like Cadillacs of this era right down to the hubcaps.
The original La Salle was introduced in 1927 and was designed by the great Harley Earl. This is the man who went on to design the first Corvette, as well as the Ecto-1 edition '59 Caddys with the super-epic tailfins (as well as dozens of other well-known cars).
 It's hard to see but the turn signals on the tops of the front fenders are art deco masterpieces with all the grandeur of little Empire State Buildings. It's always days after I see a car that I realize the pics I neglected to take (I was also standing on someone's lawn snapping them). The FOR SALE sign had the $25,000 crossed out and $19,000 written beneath. Think about it; you could buy a nicely optioned Honda Fit or this to drive to work in!
Look how optimistic about the future this font is! The car was as nice on the inside as the outside, and I got the feeling it would start right up and cruise without issue.
I love the matching set of mint-condition New York World's Fair 1940 plates on this ride. In NY if you have a classic car the DMV will let you register it with plates original to the year or era of manufacture as long as it is a matching set in good condition. The fact that the 1940 plates are black just raises the bar even higher.
Terrible picture I know, but check out some of the details visible here; that art deco door panel complete with miniature roller to open the side vent window, "banjo spoke" steering wheel so named for the multiple chrome strands connecting the rim to the center, and legit upholstery. This car also has the factory radio with programmable push-buttons for your favorite stations (the line of squares on the top-center of the dash). I looked this radio up to see if those were indeed programmable station buttons and found one that someone was selling for $2,850! It really put the overall $19,000 price tag in perspective. The centerpiece for the steering wheel was the only detail missing from this car.
This is what I meant by voluptuous; look at the curves on this post-prohibition, pre-war beauty. You could easily fix your hair in the reflection of the paint. Also tough to see and just barely visible from this angle is La Salle written out in dark red on the rear bumper. This classy cruiser seems undervalued to me at the moment and will probably be one of those cars trading for $80,000 before long. For now it's our Show Car Sunday masterpiece for Father's Day.


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