Sweetly Streamlined: 1940 LaSalle Series 50 2-Passenger Coupe

  • March 05, 2021
The Rundown
  • Sleek, Streamlined Coupe Styling
  • Well-Optioned
  • 130hp, 322ci L-Head V8 Engine
  • 3-Speed Manual Transmission
  • Accompanied by Copy of Factory Production Order
  • Used New as a Factory Demonstrator
  • Extremely Rare as 1 of 3 Produced
Why We Like It

LaSalle, Cadillac’s “junior” companion marque, debuted to critical acclaim 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 designer 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 30k units by 1929, outselling the “senior” Cadillac line by nearly two to one. A big factor in the LaSalle success formula was its incredible value, delivering Cadillac quality at a price advantage of nearly $1,000. 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 upscale Series 40-52 – both sharing the same chassis and 123-inch wheelbase.

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sweetly-streamlined-1940-lasalle-series-50-2-passenger-coupe00e0e 3vlnk7J9nWlz 0QE0Du 1200x900Featuring a raked windshield and forward slanted B-pillar, the Series 40-50 models of 1940 were stylish, yet sensible. This Style 40-5027 2-Passenger Coupe is a wonderful example that comes with a copy of the original factory order sheet supplied by GM Heritage. It’s one of just three examples built and according to the seller, it’s the last known in existence. It was picked up new at the factory by a Mr. Hamilton (a factory representative) and used initially as a demonstrator in the Southeastern US. A frame-off restoration was completed to factory specs, and the car looks fabulous, marking one of the stylistic high points of the immediate pre-WWII years. The 322ci “Flathead” V8 engine delivers ample power in concert with a 3-speed manual transmission, and features include twin side-mounted spares, cloth upholstery, light group, wheel trim, clock, lighter, and very attractive “Banjo” steering wheel. The seller advises this rare LaSalle runs great, and it’s quiet and smooth like a Cadillac. A new factory style cloth interior was fitted and the beautifully styled dash is equipped with a radio and clock.

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Valuation Verdict

There’s something that seems so right about the styling of the last LaSalle models under Harley Earl and his fast-rising team of designers. Available in a wide array of body styles, they carry a sort of “Dutch” Darrin-esque aura reminiscent of the dashing and rare coachbuilt Packard-Darrin of 1941-‘42. Long lamented after the last model year of 1940, La Salle was also the proposed name in the early 1960s for a sporty Cadillac model that was rejected, repurposed, and released to acclaim as the 1963 Buick Riviera. Online sale results seem to confirm a $27k-$40k price channel, however, our subject is extremely rare and exceptionally stylish to match, with a 3-time multiple asking price. However, it comes from the last dying gasp of the revered LaSalle marque and it’s the only car of its kind remaining today and it’s quite likely worth the lofty price tag to LaSalle and Cadillac collectors and enthusiasts.

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