Ran Great Until The Fire: 1939 LaSalle Touring

Undriven since suffering an engine fire, this classy 1939 LaSalle Touring Sedan, offered on eBay from Marion, New York, awaits a new caretaker to put her back on the road. Before the fire, this Cadillac-built classic enjoyed upgrades to the tune of $10,000, including an otherwise nondescript GM Vortec V8 engine.

The listing includes zero pictures of the burned engine compartment or the (supposedly undamaged) dashboard, an oversight difficult to excuse by anyone seriously considering a bid. The current owners have $10,000 in receipts from improvements including brakes, suspension, tires, and radiator.

The misheard lyrics at AmIRight.com include the line “Gee our old LaSalle ran great,” from the theme song of the ground-breaking ’70s TV show All in the Family. As a youth I didn’t know what that line was either, and much later I learned that LaSalle was GM’s attempt to fill a perceived market for buyers lusting after a Cadillac but who couldn’t stand busting their budget. Built by Cadillac from 1927 through 1941, LaSalles outsold Cadillac many years and featured elegant design by GM’s famed Harley Earl.

If the restoration doesn’t go as planned you can always move this couch into your parlor. General Motors applied the Vortec name to V8 engines starting in 1996 including various blocks and displacements ranging from 293 cid (4.8L) to 496 cid (8.1L). While most (all?) Vortec engines were throttle body or port fuel injected, the phrase “carburetor fire” suggests an aftermarket carburetor conversion, perhaps with insufficient attention paid to potential leaks. Perhaps the ideal buyer appreciates “the way Glenn Miller played”. Either way don’t be a meathead! Submit a comment below with your thoughts on this burned-out beauty.


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  1. BronzeGiant

    Maybe if they’d have left the original, correct engine in it it wouldn’t have burned…..

    Like 1
    • 86 Vette Convertible

      What he said

  2. John T

    Fuel injected Vortec engine, check. High pressure fuel pump, check. High pressure fuel regulator, check. Replace low pressure fuel lines, whoops…..

  3. San Jose Scott

    I feel bad for the owner. The investment to change out the motor was worth it to them, often not to others.

    These are great cars with the original motor. Most I know have made simple mistakes resulting in fires or broken cars. Many times it is due to trying to improve on the original. Now I am more respectfull of the factory engineers and assembliers.

  4. nessy

    I like where the seller says, “Good Condition” in the top of his listing. No thanks. I’ll keep my stock 39 LaSalle. She is just fine the way she is.

    Like 2
    • Ed P


    • Sam

      Real beauty, here’s one from this year’s Great Race

      Like 1
      • victor Vega

        More information needed

    • Shawn Pisciotti

      She is up and running again..still have some wiring and interior work to do.

      Like 2
  5. whippeteer

    We didn’t start the fire…

  6. mike D

    gee, the ol’ girl looks pretty decent $8k BIN, if I had the dough, would give it a serious look .. hope somebody that gets it does it justice … I would have no clue on a replacement engine .. was the orig engine a straight 8?

    • Ed P

      Straight 8 flat head.

      • Keruth

        Nope, all flatty v-8’s! Except a true 90 series was a overhead v-12(16?), I think.
        Shame, really!

    • San Jose Scott

      Smooth, quiet, and good torque. Location of the motor makes it so you can easily turn the steering wheel. Depending on where the SBC is located might need power steering to park this puppy

  7. Rodney

    BIN just for those headlights. Fantastic!

  8. Nrg8

    Fire got up to firewall, melted glass, most likely flooded with water and has mold inside as well as that burnt car smell. No way appaised as sits for that money. 2500 and still a lobour of love.

  9. Old Car Guy

    They must have been inhaling the fumes from the fire and lost a bunch of brain cells. You could be just as stupid as the owners and buy this car or you can buy this car in much better condition and original for the same money.


  10. Shawn Pisciotti

    I purchased the car for $4500. Got it running and painted it..dash was damaged. Working on the rest of wiring and interior now

    Like 2

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