Concept Carz Home Concepts and PrototypesAbout Follow ConceptCarz on Facebook Follow ConceptCarz on Twitter RSS News Feed
 
 CoupesArrow PictureManufacturersArrow PictureLaSalleArrow PictureSeries 50 (1935 - 1940)Arrow Picture1938 LaSalle Series 50 
Image Left 1937 Series 501939 Series 50 Image Right
 

1938 LaSalle Series 50 news, pictures, specifications, and information

Convertible Sedan
 
Some cars have had more famous owners than others. Ginger Rogers was the original purchaser of this luxury automobile. The LaSalle was introduced in 1927 and was offered as an alternative between a Buick and a Cadillac. LaSalle production was discontinued in 1940.

For 1938 the LaSalle was offered with a 322 cubic-inch Cadillac engine. This engine was rated at 125 horsepower at 3400 RPMs. This engine was a favorite in tanks during World War II.

The very unusual windshield for the rear seat passengers is believed to have been custom manufactured by the coachbuilder Derham.

This automobile is restored in its original paint color with contrasting lip-stick red leather interior.
During the first two decades of the 1900's, Cadillac was the leader in the U.S. luxury-car market. It wasn't until around 1925 when Packard Automobiles began replacing Cadillac as America's new favorite in the premium automobile market when Cadillac realized that they needed to step it up.

With the bottom-end Cadillac priced at $3195, many consumers were unwilling to spend such a significant amount when the top of the line Buick cost $1925. In the years following World War I, Packard's smart new group of lower-priced high-quality ‘pocket-size' vehicles were responsible for basically running away with the luxury market, and consequently, much of GM's business.

Conceived as a baby Cadillac with a bit more added style, the La Salle series was introduced on March 5, 1927. To present a youthful, dashing image completely opposite from the staid and proper Cadillac, the La Salle series was meant to be a stepping stone in a perceived gap between Cadillac and Buick in GM's lineup. Priced just above the Buick, the La Salle was designed to be a complete model line that would adequately fill out GM's product roster. The name La Salle was chosen in reference to the famed French explorer that Cadillac had been named after, as one of his compatriots.

Wanting the La Salle to be considerably more stylish than the Cadillac, President of GM Larry Fisher hired a young stylist from Cadillac's California distributor to aid in the design of the new junior series. Harley Earl was given the job as a consultant to design the first La Salle. Though assumed to be only hired for this specific task, Earl went on to become the company's director of design until he retired some 30 years later. During Earl's time at Cadillac, he influenced the entire industry in the areas of both styling and marketing strategy.

The original La Salle produced in 1927 became the first mass-production vehicle to consciously ‘styled' in the modern sense. Considered to by the most fashionable American automobiles of its day, the LaSalle was the first of the smaller and more maneuverable luxury vehicles. The LaSalle was also the pioneer in the automobile color industry. Up until this point all vehicles were produced in only black Japan enamel, the only finish available to dry quickly enough to stand up to the pace of mass production. The introduction to DuPont Chemical Company's fast-drying, polychromatic duco finishes in '24 supplied automobiles with a stunning array of colors. La Salle became one of the first cars to take advantage of this modern advancement.

The Series 350 was introduced in 1934 and was considered to be more like an Oldsmobile than a Cadillac. Borrowing an L-head straight eight from the Oldsmobile division to replace the traditional Cadillac V-8, the new series shared the same 240.3-cubic-inch (4-liter) displacement. A completely redesigned chassis was introduced with a much shorter, 119-inch wheelbase. Since the beginning of the La Salle, the double-plate type clutch was utilized until before replaced with a single-plate clutch. Hydraulic brakes were also newly adopted into the series adding yet another first to GM's repertoire.

Independent front suspension now reduced the unsprung weight problem that had been an issue since 1933. Cadillac was able to reduce the price of the LaSalle base models by $650 with these cost cutting new innovative features.

Considered to be the automotive industries fashion leader, the La Salle was equally impressive from its design side. The new design styling for the 1934 model was considered to be dramatic and eye-catching. High-set headlamps in bullet-shaped pods were placed on both sides of a tall, narrow vee'd radiator, along with curvy ‘pontoon' fenders at both the front and rear. Wheels were encased in smart chromed discs while hood vent doors gave to ‘portholes'.

The La Salle featured bumpers that emulated the shape of twin slim blades separated by two bullets, similar to the '27 Cadillacs. Trunks were absorbed into the main body on all models and spare tires moved inside the vehicles. The LaSalle Series 50 featured a four-door sedan, a new five-passenger club sedan, a two-seat coupe and a rumble-seat convertible coupe in its 1934 lineup. All models showcased Fleetwood bodywork and rear-hinged front doors. Cadillac's standard of quality and luxury were still rated as outstanding despite the money-saving measures. For the 1934 Indianapolis 500, the '34 LaSalle was chosen as a pace car for that year.

Unfortunately the following year's sales dipped far below expectations, even though they doubled the previous year's total. A total of only 7195 models were produced for the 1934 year.

Not much styling was changed for the 1935 LaSalle Series 50. Updates included two-door and four-door ‘trunkback' sedans joining the line with an industry trend. Fisher's new 'Turret-Top' construction was introduced to replace the original closed body styles. This update required steel to replace the traditional fabric inserted into the roof. Horsepower was up from 90 to 95 with a slightly higher compression ratio. Very few mechanical changes were made for the '35 model.

Due to the release of Packard's new One-Twenty, about the same size as LaSalle, though slightly lighter and 16% more powerful and costing $450 less, LaSalle sales suffered.

The following year Cadillac responded to the competition by reducing the little-changed Series 50 by $320, though even this wasn't enough to stimulate sales significantly. Packard's One-Twenty continued to thrive, and outsold the LaSalle by better than four to one for 1936.

Time to try a new approach, Cadillac next introduced a new ‘compact' Series 60 that same season.

By Jessica Donaldson
For more information and related vehicles, click here

RM Auctions Realizes $36.4 Million At Single-Day Arizona Biltmore Sale
• RM generates more than $36.4 million in sales with 89 percent of all lots sold at its 14th annual Arizona sale • Single-day sale features selective, handpicked offering of blue-chip automobiles, eclipses 2012 Arizona sale tally by more than 42 percent • Eight automobiles achieve million-dollar plus results with multiple new auction records set • Top-seller: 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta 'Competizione' sells for record $8,140,000 • RM continues its 2013 auction calendar with the prese...[Read more...]
Pair Of 1960s Automotive Icons Take Center Stage At RM Arizona
• RM Auctions secures a highly desirable 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta 'Competizione' and an ultra-rare 1965 Ford GT40 for its January 18 sale in Phoenix, Arizona • Latest multi-million-dollar entries join a stellar list of more than 80 blue-chip collector cars, including a rare 1930 Duesenberg Model J Derham Tourster, offered for the first time in 45 years • Frequently updated list of entries available online at rmauctions.com BLENHEIM, Ontario (November 29, 2012) – RM A...[Read more...]
Lincoln at Los Angeles Auto Show Press Days: Celebration of Its Past and Future As Brand Rolls Out Its Reinvention
> The brand pays tribute to its heritage today, displaying seven of the most influential Lincoln designs > Thursday sees a display full of the all-new MKZ premium midsize sedan and MKZ Hybrid, the future of Lincoln, on the Lincoln stand > Lincoln launches on Tumblr http://lincolnnow.tumblr.com beginning with the visually stunning classic Lincolns shown on the stand and select images from archives. Continues with an all-new collection of photographs by photographers Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg ...[Read more...]
RM Auctions Posts a Spectacular $95 Million in Monterey
• RM Auctions generates more than $95.7* million in sales, with a strong 89 percent of all lots sold, at its celebrated Monterey, California sale • 20 cars achieve over $1 million, five of which exceed the $5 million mark • Two-day sale establishes numerous new auction records, including a new world record for the most expensive American automobile ever sold at auction • Top-sellers: 1968 Ford GT40 Gulf/Mirage Lightweight Racing Car achieves $11,000,000; 1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Sp...[Read more...]
Final Countdown Underway to RM's Michigan Sale
RM Auctions, the official auction house of the Concours d'Elegance of America, has secured a wonderful selection of classic automobiles for its St. John's sale, July 28, in Plymouth, Michigan. Hosted on the beautiful grounds of the Inn at St. John's, the single-day sale is a mainstay on the auction concours circuit and boasts a reputation for including exceptional American classics. The upcoming sale, featuring more than 70 quality collector cars, presents nearly a century of American and Eu...[Read more...]


Collectible: A Gathering of the Exceptional and Captivating
Similar Automakers
CrosleyDeSoto
EdselHudson
ImperialKaiser
NashOakland
TuckerWillys
Similarly Sized Vehicles from 1938
Buick Series 40 Special
Cadillac Series 90

Similarly Priced Vehicles from 1938
Buick Series 80 Roadmaster ($1,645-$1,983)
Lincoln Series 86H Zephyr ($1,300-$1,795)
Cadillac Series 60 ($1,695-$2,285)
Buick Series 40 Special ($945-$1,406)
Buick Series 60 Century ($1,226-$1,713)

Average Auction Sale: $41,585

 
LaSalle: 1931-1940
Similar Automakers
LaSalle History
Other models by LaSalle


 
Model 303
Model 340
Series 50

Image Left 1937 Series 501939 Series 50 Image Right
© 1998-2014. All rights reserved. The material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.