Feeling Empty: 1939 Lasalle Four Door Sedan

The LaSalle was General Motors attempt to fill the gap between the Cadillac and the Buick. It did well and outsold the Cadillac. The 1939 LaSalle was redesigned, adding a taller grill and waterfall side grills, and moving the headlights up to the sides of the radiator. When you look at that beautiful paintwork in this eBay listing and the BIN of just $7,000 it just might get your attention. That price is about half of low retail. But don’t hit that BUY IT NOW button just yet! Luckily, this is not your typical eBay listing. The seller is very open and honest in his description and pictures, including the rust. The owner had this car disassembled repainted in the 1970s. Then it sat until 2005 when it was shipped to Indiana. The seller purchased it this year.  The paint work still looks nice, especially with the recent wet sanding and buffing. The seller has done a lot of mechanical work to get the car running well, although the brake and electrical systems need attention.

Here’s where you get that empty feeling. It’s actually not that empty. There are lots of parts wrapped in newspaper from the 1980s. There might even be door panels and chrome pieces wrapped in newspaper. A picture with the doors open would have been helpful. The seller says the floors are solid and this once I think you can believe him.

The seller does a pretty good job at showing us the rust including above the windshield and behind and behind the passenger door on the driver’s side.

The engine is likely a 125 horsepower 322 CID and appears mostly original (except for the shiny new bits) and runs well. It’s received lots of attention including a rebuilt carburetor and water pump, new belt, points, coil, plugs, wires and electric fuel pump and even a new muffler. He also cleaned out the fuel tank.  The new plug wires could have been a bit more subtle.

The seller provided us a lot more information than many sellers on eBay. You get a pretty good idea of the challenges ahead to restore this grand old car. Looking at the overall picture it appears this car is about 80% complete with at least 50% to go, depending on the level of restoration the new owner has in mind. The paint has scratches and chips and is far from perfect. Even at “only” $7,000, this may be no bargain given the cost of completing the restoration.

 

 

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Comments

  1. 86 Vette Convertible

    Fix the rust, put the upholstery back in, polish it up and find a parade to show it in.

    • Brad C

      Some assembly required! It’s JUST that simple!

  2. Nova Scotian

    This from an era where most folks have passed on. Diffficult to find a diehard enthusiast. IMO.

  3. Jay M

    Beautiful car.
    Why wouldn’t they fix all of the rust and clean/paint everything BEFORE reassembly?

  4. Pharmag8r

    I love this era. The details are beautiful and it would be a great project if the price were less.

  5. Francisco

    “… this car is about 80% complete with at least 50% to go.” That brings you to 130% at completion. There aren’t enough parades for that kind of car.

    • Paul

      Love the math on that.

      • KEN TILLY Member

        Must have attended Night School during the power outage times.

        Like 1
    • Vince H

      Sounds like Yogi Berra math.

      • Charles

        It ain’t over until its over’

      • Francisco

        Berra once said, “Baseball is ninety percent mental. The other half is physical.”

  6. Rob from Texas

    Drop the body on a late model Suburban or other suitable chassis and enjoy.

  7. Brad C

    Poor old guy even as a cataract in his left eye. Love this old thing, but agree that there aren’t enough parades in the world to justify it on that alone.

  8. Pharmag8r

    I would use it to pull my vintage travel trailer…..

  9. nessy

    As much as I love those Oldsmobiles, Cadillacs are on top of my list with LaSalles right up there. Here is my 39 LaSalle. I did a frame off restoration in my backyard garage some time ago. I think it came out pretty good for an amateur young man at the time. I had to send out the chrome of course but everything else I did. I even sewed the new upholstery for the interior. Back in the days before real life responsibility such as working to pay the bills and a wife and kids came into the picture.

    Like 1
  10. nessy

    Here is another photo of the old girl. I painted her in the original color combo of wartime gray. I do not recall the correct name of the color but it’s correct to this car. The light blue wheels I added for a little color.

    • Pharmag8r

      It looks very nice. Hope you are still enjoying it.

      • nessy

        Thank you friend. These days, the only way I enjoy this car is my late night walk out to the back garage where I look at it for a few minutes, several times a week. It has not been out of the garage for at least several years now, or maybe even longer now that I think of it. Time keeps moving and I just don’t have the time anymore for my cars.

    • Jay M

      Great work!
      What a beautiful car…

  11. Bob

    It is a beautiful old car, worthy of restoration. Back in the late 50s, hotrodders like myself scoured the auto wrecking yards and removed the transmission out of vehicles that looked better than this. It is sad that things worked out that way, but the only strong transmissions were from cars like the LaSalle and the Lincoln Zepher.
    I hope someone saves it.

  12. Skip

    Although I obviously don’t remember it, I’ve been told many times that my first ride in a motor vehicle was in a 1939 LaSalle ambulance. That was in 1945.

    I was almost a month premature and spent 10 days after birth in an incubator. When it came time for me to come home, there was no one who could come get me. Dad was in the hospital in Hot Springs, Ark. He had gone up north to bring his parents back to be my godparents. My dad was asleep in the back seat and my granddad was driving. A drunk had passed out in the middle of the road with no lights and my granddad hit him, sending my dad sailing thru the windshield. So when I was in Midland being born, Dad was hospitalized.

    So, because my mother’s dad was working and couldn’t get off in time; my grandmother did drive; and Mother couldn’t since she had just had me: my granddad called our neighbor, Riley, who happened to manage Ellis Funeral Home, and kept “the” ambulance at home at night. The funeral home was only a couple of blocks from the hospital, so Riley just pulled in and picked me up in a baby basket and placed me on the front seat with him.

    Then he did it: All the way from there to my grandparents’ house he ran full lights and siren on the ambulance: just to announce the new arrival. That’s the part I wish I could remember. When he pulled up in front of the house with the siren still rolling, everyone came out laughing because they realized the joke he was pulling. Everyone except my grandmother, who was easily excitable. I’ve been told that she came out the door screaming like a banshee because she “just knew” that I had gone sour in the hospital and that Riley was coming to get them to get back to the hospital in a hurry. Thankfully for me that wasn’t the case. But the whole incident had a definite effect on me. I grew up around the funeral home and started riding the ambulances while I was in high school, getting to drive on my first emergency run totally by accident at the age of 15. I would go on to own my own ambulance service for many years. And, as a retired old fart, still miss all that to this day!

    • Jay M

      What a great story! Your family will be retelling that one for generations to come.

  13. Pharmag8r

    Great story!

  14. JRP

    Ebay listing has ended. Hope the buyer enjoys it,

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