JUNE 2023: A 1940 LASALLE CONVERTIBLE SEDAN HAS PLENTY OF CADILLAC DNA

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The LaSalle brand was an upscale member of the General Motors family and had strong links to the Cadillac.

LaSalle models were introduced in 1927 as a tweener model between high end Buicks and even higher end Cadillacs.

The LaSalle was positioned as a luxury car that was heavily infused with Cadillac DNA, but at a slightly lower price tag than a Caddy.

Jim Sutherland

The LaSalle era ended in 1940 when the storied Caddy sibling drove off into the sunset and the automotive history books.

Norval Horner is the proud owner of a 1940 LaSalle four-door convertible sedan that has survived the past 83 years in remarkable condition. He purchased the car about 10 years ago after he discovered the LaSalle at a vintage car dealership in the United States.

Norval lives in western Canada, so he watched the LaSalle sales process from another country while he began a careful process to decide whether he should buy the stylish convertible.

The price of the LaSalle convertible dropped over the course of a year and Norval got very serious about it, so he got an appraiser from the area to examine the car on his behalf. He was also able to get a second opinion about the LaSalle from another individual connected to the area.

The biggest issue with the car was simple: it wouldn’t start. Undoubtedly Norval was able to use that issue as a bargaining chip during his negotiations and was eventually able to purchase the 1940 LaSalle convertible sedan. Even better, the Canadian dollar was at par with the American dollar when he bought the car and Norval was able to avoid the typically expensive gap between the two currencies.

The starting problem had an inexpensive solution when Norval discovered a ground cable was disconnected on the LaSalle’s frame and the car fired right up after it was replaced by a new one.

The LaSalle still has its original engine, a 322 cubic inch flathead V-8 that pushes out 130 horsepower, according to Norval. The convertible top has been replaced and became part of the sales negotiations for Norval before he became its latest owner.

The LaSalle is stored during the winter and typically requires a priming process whenever it is fired up after a long hiatus from the road. It has an automatic choke that is engaged when Norval pushes the gas pedal to the floor, plus he puts a small amount of primer fuel down the carburetor because the carb does not have any gas left in it after a long storage.

One of the then-rare features found on luxury cars like the 1940 LaSalle were factory signal lights that eliminated their owners’ need for hand signals. However, the LaSalle does have factory vacuum windshield wipers instead of electric wipers.

Norval told MyStarCollectorCar his car is easily capable of a 60 mph (100 km/h) pace on the highway, but he prefers a milder 50 mph (80 km/h) pace on the road out of respect for the car and its convertible top.

The most important part of the equation is this LaSalle convertible is still on the road after 83 years and people are still able to see it in all its glory-including us here at MyStarCollectorCar.              

Jim Sutherland

BY: Jim Sutherland

Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section. 

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