René Robert Cavelier arrived in the New World 17 years before Antoine de La Mothe Cadillac. Later titled de La Salle, this name was appropriated for Cadillac’s new companion brand, which was introduced for 1927. An all-new design by Harley Earl, who famously established the General Motors Art & Colour Section, the LaSalle remains the first production automobile to be designed from the outset by a car stylist. In fact, the tremendously popular LaSalle was in fact heavily influenced by the contemporary Hispano-Suiza, which Earl openly admired.
While LaSalle sales fell during the early 1930s, it still outsold the “senior” Cadillac line thanks to another Harley Earl styling triumph for 1934, as well as a host of engineering improvements. Among them, updates included a new chassis, a new V8 engine, hydraulic brakes and the “Knee-Action” independent front suspension. All this allowed LaSalle to carry Cadillac through the Depression.
Sadly, after the 1940 model year, the highly regarded LaSalle marque was discontinued in favor of the lower-level Cadillac Series 61, with the thinking that LaSalle was now competing directly with Cadillac for buyers. As described by automotive historians Beverly Rae Kimes and Henry Austin Clark, “LaSalle ended, as it began, with distinctive body styles,” bringing the marque to a fitting close. Just 24,133 LaSalles were built in total for 1940, with Series 40-50 being the rarest – just 10,382 units in Coupe, Sedan and Convertible Sedan form.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in March of 2010 at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida.
130 bhp, 322 cu. in. L-head V8 engine, three-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with unequal-length A-arms and coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 123"