LaSalle Model 345A photo

1931 LaSalle Model 345A

The LaSalle automobile was produced from 1927 through 1940 and was intended to be a less-expensive companion marque for Cadillac. they were manufactured by Cadillac, similar to Cadillac but smaller, and was General Motor's second-most prestigious marque. By 1928, General Motors owned 100 percent of Fisher, and nearly all the bodies produced by Fleetwood were used on Cadillac and LaSalles.

Prior to LaSalle, General Motors product lineup included the entry-level Chevrolet, followed by the Pontiac, Oakland, Oldsmobile, Viking, Marquette, Buick, and Cadillac. The new Pontiac marque was a six-cylinder car designed to sell for the price of a four-cylinder and positioned between Chevy and Oakland. The Viking and Marquette marques were short-lived, with the Viking lasting from 1929 to 1931. The new LaSalle marque filled the gap that existed between Buick and Cadillac.

The LaSalle used the GM C platform which it shared with Cadillac, built to Cadillac's high standards, and wore styling by Harley Earl in a full range of body styles, including Fisher and Fleetwood Metal Body-built custom designs. The wheelbases ranged between 128- and 134-inches and the open cars could be finished in tri-tone color combinations. Power was from a new engine that it shared with Cadillac. Prior to this, Cadillac's V8 engine had not changed since the Type 51 of 1915. Both the 341 Cadillac and the 303 LaSalle engine were nearly identical in configuration, with both having offset blocks, oil level indicators located behind the right-hand block, oi filter mounted on the engine, horizontal starter along the right side of the transmission, side-by-side connecting rods, single exhaust system, and a manifold vacuum and vacuum pump operating the fuel feed system and windshield wipers.

For 1931, body styles on the LaSalle included six Fleetwood semi-customs and seven standard styles by Fisher. The total production for 1931 reached 10,095 units. LaSalle had sold 16,850 vehicles during its introductory year, and 9,956 the second. For 1929, they sold 22,961 vehicles and 11,005 the following year. As the Great Depression worsened, sales throughout the industry slipped, and the LaSalle was not immune to its effects. Just 3,290 were sold in 1932 and 3,381 the following year. Sales started to rebound in 1934, with 7,218 examples sold, but perhaps the most exciting news for 1934 was a LaSalle convertible coupe served pace car duties at the Indianapolis 500. By 1935, sales had increased to 13,004 units and they would continue to remain consistent, even exceeding Cadillac's sales since 1933. 1935 was the year Packard introduced its medium priced One-Twenty, which is credited for saving the Packard marque, but also criticized as being the reason for the Packard's eventual demise, as many believe it diluted the prestige of the Packard name. Nevertheless, it sold well and provided Packard with a much-needed influx of financial resources, and it consistently outsold the LaSalle by an average of 72 percent over the six-year period of 1935 through 1940.

The 1931 LaSalle was offered as a single model - the 345-A Eight and was similar to the previous year's 340 except the had a new oval instrument panel and a single bar bumper replaced the prior year's double-bar setup. The wheelbase remained 134 inches and the overall length measured 202 inches. The 353 CID engine delivered approximately 95 horsepower at 3,000 RPM and was backed by a three-speed selective, synchromesh transmission with a twin-disc clutch and shaft drive. Mechanical 15-inch drum brakes were on all four corners, as were standard 19-inch wooden artillery wheels. The large radiator and stanchion-mounted headlamps gave the 1931 LaSalle a powerful stance and appearance and were clearly related to the 1930/1931 Cadillac V-16 models.

Another change for 1931 was the hood louvers were replaced by doors on both Cadillac and LaSalle V-8. Together with radiator stone guards, this made them resemble the big V-12 and V-16 models.

Like Cadillac - named after Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac- the LaSalle brand name was based on that of another French explorer, René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle.


by Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2008

1931 Vehicle Profiles

1931 LaSalle Model 345A vehicle information

Rumbleseat Roadster
Coachwork: Fleetwood

The LaSalle Company was introduced by General Motors as a companion to Cadillac and is widely regarded as the beginning of modern automobile styling. In the mid-1920s, Cadillac was losing sales to Packard which was offering a line of lower priced lux....[continue reading]

1931 LaSalle Model 345A vehicle information

Coupe
Coachwork: Fisher

Chassis Num: 907685

The LaSalle cars were intended to fill the position between Buick and Cadillac; in many respects, they were basically a small Cadillac, though with a shorter wheelbase and a shorter stroke of the Cadillac V8 engine. New styling was added in 1931, inc....[continue reading]

1931 LaSalle Model 345A vehicle information

Dual Windshield Touring
Coachwork: Fleetwood

Chassis Num: 900954

Since many of Buick's affluent customers were wanting more and usually finding it at other marques (such as Packard), GM decided to create a new line of vehicles that could cater to their needs. It was positioned between Buick and Cadillac and aimed ....[continue reading]

1931 LaSalle Model 345A vehicle information

Rumbleseat Coupe
Coachwork: Fisher

This vehicle has Pilot vision lights that track with steering. The windshield opens up and down. The Vision-All wipers sweep across windshield. There is a cigar lighter that extends from the dash to rumble seat. There is a golf club Door on the passe....[continue reading]

1931 LaSalle Model 345A vehicle information

Tourer
Coachwork: Fleetwood

Built by Cadillac from 1927 to 1940, the LaSalle was a lower-priced alternative to larger models. The design of its body was influenced by contemporary Hispano-Suizas, and its styling was then copied by contemporary Hispano-Suizas, and its styling wa....[continue reading]

1931 LaSalle Model 345A vehicle information

Tourer
Coachwork: Fleetwood

Engine Num: 900216

In 1931, the LaSalle was available in 12 body styles, of which five were produced by Fleetwood, the same GM shop that bodied V-16 Cadillacs. Fewer than a dozen of the Fleetwood Seven-Passenger Touring, style number 4657, are believed to survive.....[continue reading]

1931 LaSalle Model 345A vehicle information

Tourer
Coachwork: Fleetwood

Engine Num: 904735

Cadillac president and general manager Lawrence Fisher recruited a designer named Harley Earl from Don Lee, the Los Angeles Cadillac dealer. Earl had shown his talents designing cars at Lee's custom body shop. Earl's approach to style was to treat th....[continue reading]

1931 LaSalle Model 345A vehicle information

Tourer
Coachwork: Fleetwood

Chassis Num: 909967

The LaSalle was a lower priced companion car to Cadillac and was produced from 1927 to 1940. They wore designed by Harley Earl and inspired by the European Hispano-Suiza marque. For the 1931 model year, bodystyles on the LaSalle included seven standa....[continue reading]

1931 LaSalle Model 345A vehicle information

Town Sedan
Coachwork: Fisher

LaSalle was the economy version of the Cadillac. It came with a mohair interior instead of cloth. This example has the original interior and has been in Fayette County West Virginia since 1951. It has been rebuilt and repainted one time and is curren....[continue reading]

Rumbleseat Roadster by Fleetwood
 
Coupe by Fisher
Chassis #: 907685 
Dual Windshield Touring by Fleetwood
Chassis #: 900954 
Rumbleseat Coupe by Fisher
 
Tourer by Fleetwood
 
Tourer by Fleetwood
 
Tourer by Fleetwood
 
Tourer by Fleetwood
Chassis #: 909967 
Town Sedan by Fisher
 


Concepts by LaSalle



Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

1931 Model 345A
$3,245-$18,000
1931 LaSalle Model 345A Price Range: $2,195 - $3,245

Model Year Production

#1#2#3LaSalle
1936Ford (930,778)Chevrolet (918,278)Plymouth (520,025)13,004
1935Ford (820,253)Chevrolet (548,215)Plymouth (350,884)8,653
1934Ford (563,921)Chevrolet (551,191)Plymouth (321,171)7,218
1933Chevrolet (486,261)Ford (334,969)Plymouth (298,557)3,381
1932Chevrolet (313,404)Ford (210,824)Plymouth (186,106)3,290
1931Chevrolet (619,554)Ford (615,455)Buick (138,965)10,103
1930Ford (1,140,710)Chevrolet (640,980)Buick (181,743)11,005
1929Ford (1,507,132)Chevrolet (1,328,605)Buick (196,104)22,961
1928Chevrolet (1,193,212)Ford (607,592)Willys Knight (231,360)14,806
1927Chevrolet (1,001,820)Ford (367,213)Buick (255,160)16,850
1926Ford (1,669,847)Chevrolet (547,724)Buick (266,753)

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