LaSalle Roadster

Cadillac’s new “companion make,” the LaSalle, was introduced in March 1927. Intended to convey Cadillac prestige at a lower price, it was designed by the legendary Harley Earl, newly recruited to Detroit from California.

Earl’s first job for a major manufacturer, the LaSalle was a styling tour de force. Inspired by the great Hispano-Suiza, Earl penned a classic shape, the beltline of the open cars flowing from windshield back to the tail of the body. The 1927 LaSalle is considered the first American car to have been styled from concept to reality. Until that time, cars had been designed by “body engineers”.

Smaller and lighter than the Cadillac, it was in the same pattern with a similar chassis and a scaled-down L-head V8 engine. In June, Willard Rader, GM’s experimental manager at the Michigan proving grounds, drove a roadster chassis in a grueling 950-mile durability run, averaging 95.3 mph for the ten-hour trial.

There were eleven standard body styles, all built by Fisher, ranging in price from $2,495 to $2,975, and four custom Fleetwood models, the most expensive of which was the $4,700 Transformable Town Cabriolet. This was incredible value, representing Cadillac quality at near-$1,000 savings. Customers responded, buying 16,850 LaSalles in the calendar year, twice the sales rate of parent Cadillac.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August 2009 at the Shotwell Gustafson Pavilion at Meadow Brook Hall, Rochester, Michigan.

75 bhp, 303 cu. in. L-head V8 engine, three-speed manual transmission, semi-elliptic front and rear leaf spring suspension with live axles, four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 125"

Source: RM Auctions

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