Live Auctions

Long Damp Nap: 1931 Cadillac LaSalle Sport Coupe

The LaSalle was a General Motors “companion make” created to fill the gap between Buick and Cadillac. The least expensive Cadillac was over $3,000 and the most expensive Buick was a little over $2,000. It was more than just a baby Cadillac, it was also stylish and sporty. It has the same engine as the Cadillac, so it was fast for its time and handled well. The LaSalle was built with the same quality as the Cadillac and was available in several wheelbases with a wide choice of bodies. This LaSalle listed on eBay is finally out of the barn after 60 years. The decades in storage in Livingston, New Jersey have not been kind to it.

This coupe looks OK from a distance, but up close you’ll see it will need a lot of work to even make it drivable. The engine has been disassembled since it was parked, the wood body frame is rotted, the interior has rotted away, there is rust damage on the body and underneath but other than that it’s a pretty nice car.  The simple dash looks complete, but the instruments will need rebuilding or replacing. Bidding is over $8,000 but the reserve has not yet been met. If this was a Ford or Chevy, it would not be worth restoring. This LaSalle might be worth over $100,000 restored, so perhaps it could be worth the Cost of restoration. Here’s a similar LaSalle listed on Classic-Cars Boutique for about $134,000.

Here’s an example of the rotted wood. Many of the pieces in the wood body frame are difficult to reproduce. The Rumble seat is there and has a little upholstery left.

This is a Cadillac engine, a 353 CID V8 with 95 horsepowe. The block has been rusting away for decades. Is there any chance it can be rebuilt, do you think?

The seller provided several pictures underneath the car. None look encouraging. How much metal do you think might be remaining under all that rust?

This LaSalle must have been a real beauty in its time but the years have not been kind but it could be beautiful again with enough money and time. There are lots of unknowns including the engine and the rust on the underside of the car. Hopefully, there is someone out there with deep enough pockets who is able to do the work themselves. The seller may be a bit delusional and might have set the reserve really high. What do you think would be a reasonable price for this car? It will be interesting to see how much someone is willing to pay.

Comments

  1. SAM61

    I like the 69 Olds 98 in the background. Lets restart the hardtop sedan, pillarless sedan/coupe definition debate.

  2. Beatnik Bedouin

    This would be a great basis for a body-off restoration.

    The LaSalle story is one of the more interesting ones in US automotive history, especially once Harley Earl got involved with smartening up the marque’s image.

  3. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Such a shame to see something this elegant degraded as it is. This will take someone with a lot of money and/or time to bring it back IMO.

  4. Falstaff

    The patina of the undercarriage is devine. Show as is or SBC

  5. stillrunners LAWRENCE Member

    like….

  6. Will

    It could actually go for quite a bit if someone sees a rare part they need. The value of one trim piece msy be enough to meet the reserve.

  7. Bill Manzke

    I can foresee someone with a LaSalle sedan buying this and doing a body swap to get this one back on the road. It’s going to take a LOT of work to bring this one back!

  8. Fred W.

    A lot of work, but not too far gone to save. Probably worth the effort and money.

  9. grant

    Cadillac LaSalle? Ok. Would look great next to my Pontiac Oldsmobile.

    • David Frank David Frank Member

      What does “Pontiac Oldsmobile” even mean? Are you familiar with General Motors companion makes? The LaSalle filled the gap between Buick and Cadillac, as I explained, and was sold through Cadillac dealers. The Buick Marquette filled the gap between Buick and Oldsmobile. The Oldsmobile Viking filled the gap between Oldsmobile and Buick. And at the lower end, the Pontiac filled the gap between the Oakland and Chevy. So… It should be “The Oldsmobile Viking” or the “Oakland Pontiac”.

      • grant

        I am familiar with companion makes, yes. But is it a Cadillac or a LaSalle? Sold through dealerships is one thing but I thought it was a separate brand, like Imperial used to be. Geo Metro’s were sold through Chevy dealerships too, but they weren’t Chevrolets; until they were…

      • On and On On and On Member

        I had a 1939 La Salle. The tag on the firewall said ‘Cadillac Motor Co’.

      • grant

        It doesn’t mean anything, just like “Cadillac LaSalle” doesn’t.

  10. David Frank David Frank Member

    From 1926 until 1955 it was the Chrysler Imperial. The Imperial was not a separate brand until 1955.

  11. Gary

    Gee, our old LaSalle ran great
    Those were the days………

  12. GW

    A few interesting notes….This super rare work of art is not a just a sport coupe as stated here. This LaSalle is a full Convertible Cabriolet with a rumble seat and a side golf door for your golf clubs. The side door was also used as a little extra trunk space since the rumble seat took up the space of a trunk anyway. You just don’t find cars like this coming out of long term storage anymore. Bidding at just under 12k is the deal of the year even in non running unrestored condition. A final note, it says this is the last production 31 model LaSalle built before 32 production began. Pretty wild. A LaSalle is every inch a Cadillac. LaSalle fans and Cadillac fans are in the same family so the Cadillac LaSalle title is appropriate in this case.

  13. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    If that engine block is not cracked it could be rebuilt. I’ve rebuilt engines in worse condition. Just need to locate the heads and the rest of the parts. It’s probably restorable might not even be upside down when all is said and done. Love these cars.

  14. Peter

    Do not jaw about, it buy it!

  15. Peter

    This sellor is a very reasonable guy.

    • GW

      Thank you Peter. I try to be..

      • Peter

        Did it sell, I see it ‘ended’ ?

  16. Pete

    The poor thing is crying out for some serious love. Help me, Help me. I sure hope someone can save her. ” Other than that it is a pretty nice car ” ROFLMAO for some reason that just cracked me up. She is in a sorry state of condition sadly enough. I agree that if it was a Ford or Chevy it would be ridiculous at this current bid price to buy it and restore it. But a LaSalle yeah she deserves better. From a hundred feet away the car does look pretty good. Like it wouldn’t be that hard to bring it back to beautiful. Although underneath all that pretty is an ancient husk of it’s former glory. I think the biggest challenge will be to find a wood butcher capable of making replacement wood frames with nothing more than a saw dust quality pattern to draw from. This resto will take a complete dissassembly to do it right. Lots and lots of new metal and wood to bring her back to life. I do feel the effort is worth it though. I hope the person that buys it knows what they are doing and has the means to see it through.

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