The Corpus Christi Old Car Museum Auction

Lot 64
1940 La Salle Touring Sedan

Selling on Friday

1940 La Salle Touring Sedan

CHASSIS NO: 4331359

• Well-maintained throughout; handsome Art Deco accents
• Quite rare; formerly owned by a noted banker from North Dakota
• Exceptionally low mileage and very nicely presented
• From the last model year of the respected LaSalle marque

Series 40-52 – Model 5219. 322 cid L-head V-8 engine, 130 HP, three-speed synchromesh manual transmission, coil-spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, hydraulic four-wheel drum brakes; wheelbase: 123”

Cadillac’s “junior” companion marque, the LaSalle, debuted in March 1927 and remains famous as an unqualified stylistic tour de force inspired by the great Hispano-Suiza. As the first project for a major manufacturer by fast-rising automotive design legend Harley Earl, then working on a contract basis for Cadillac, the 1927 LaSalle is considered the first American car to have been styled from concept to production. Early LaSalle success was very strong, with model-year production and sales rising briskly to nearly 30,000 by 1929, outselling the “senior” Cadillac line by a factor of nearly two to one.

A big factor in the LaSalle success formula was its incredible value proposition, delivering renowned Cadillac quality at a price advantage of nearly $1,000. Through much of its brief history, LaSalle was considered a “baby Cadillac,” sharing styling elements and even its basic mechanicals with its “big brother.” While the Depression-wracked new-car market held LaSalle sales numbers down to about 3,000 vehicles, LaSalle was reinvigorated for 1934 with a new identity, using a new body and mechanicals derived from, yet not identical to, those of its fellow GM division, Oldsmobile. Fresh, streamlined styling featured a distinctive narrow nose and stylish “catwalks” joining the front-fender aprons to the body – design cues that would continue to define LaSalle throughout the rest of the marque’s run. By the late 1930s, LaSalle’s days were numbered, with less need for lower-priced companion lines as many competitors were no longer in business.

For 1940, the last LaSalle model year, two lines were offered, comprising Series 40-50 and the more upscale Series 40-52 – both sharing the same chassis with 123-inch wheelbase. Uniquely, the “Torpedo” or “Projectile” Series 40-52 models featured a 45-degree raked windshield, curved rear window, no belt moldings, and a rounder, smoother line along the rear of the body and through the trunk. This Series 40-52 Touring Sedan is a very nicely preserved example, formerly owned by James Henry Maloney, a once-leading banker from Fargo, North Dakota. Retaining Mr. Maloney’s monogram on the rear doors, this LaSalle has travelled only 22,075 miles at the time of cataloguing and features such desirable factory options as a heater, defroster, and pushbutton AM radio. The Art Deco-inspired interior appears original and remains presentable overall, while the exterior finish has been renewed at some point, complemented by very good brightwork. A rear-seat folding armrest and telescoping accessory side markets round out this very well-presented, upper-series LaSalle Touring Sedan from the marque’s final model year.

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