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Lot 420: LaSalle Model 50 Convertible Coupe

Quail Lodge Sale, Bonhams (16 August 2012)

* 322-cid V8, 125hp * 3-speed manual transmission * Dual side mounts * Recent enjoyable test drive * Older, quality restoration * Harley Earl design In the mid-1920s, GM president Alfred P. Sloan had done a fine job of aggregating a hierarchy of brands for "every purse and purpose." However, he realized that there was a large price gap  over $1000  between Buick and Cadillac. What was a Buick owner to do when he wanted a new, more elegant vehicle? Chances were he went to Packard, which had become America's favorite luxury brand. Sloan was intent to keep the customer within the GM fold, so the LaSalle was born. The LaSalle wasn't just a car to fill in a price gap; it was a new brand with a sporty, stylish character. To help him with his objective, Sloan hired a young stylist from a custom body shop that was owned by Cadillac's California distributor. His name was Harley Earl, and what started as a one-time project to design the inaugural LaSalle ended up being a 32-year career that changed the rules in Detroit. By 1937, the LaSalle continued to be the most stylish of American brands in an era full of streamlined Art Deco-classics. Styling was very similar to 1936's entry-level Cadillac Series 60, and both shared a 124-inch wheelbase. In another nod to the junior Cadillac, the LaSalle shed 1934-36's L-head straight-eight to borrow the V-8 from the previous year's Series 60. Displacing 322 cubic inches, it put out 125 horses  an improvement of 20 from the year before. If that wasn't enough, a new hypoid axle allowed a lower drive-shaft and floor for two inches of added headroom. Sales more than doubled from the year before, achieving an all-time high of 32,000 units. And, adding another feather to its cap, the LaSalle was chosen as pace car for the Indianapolis 500. This 1937 LaSalle Series 50 Convertible Coupe is a quality older restoration that has mellowed with age. Having recently completed the Marin Sonoma Tour d'Elegance, this LaSalle is a strong, capable driver. We enjoyed driving this car during our recent photo shoot, and found that shifting is a breeze, no doubt due to Cadillac's famous lightweight transmission with pin-type synchronizers. For the LaSalle fan, a 1937 Convertible Coupe with rumble seat and side-mounts is possibly the pinnacle of Alfred Sloan and Harley Earl's vision.

Lot Details
Auction Quail Lodge Sale
Bonhams, Carmel, California, USA
TypeCar
Lot Number420
Estimate$50000-$60000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price$38000
Hammer Price (inc premium)$43700
Year1937
Condition rating
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number2B15097
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2