Sitting For 43 Years: 1937 LaSalle Opera Coupe

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While it was wholly built by Cadillac, the LaSalle was a brand in its own right. It was conceived by General Motors as a “companion marque” to fill a gap in the market between the most expensive Buick, and the least expensive Cadillac. The LaSalle was built by Cadillac with all of the care, attention, and quality that it dedicated to its own brand, and used a significant number of Cadillac components to minimize parts and development costs. The marque was introduced to the market in 1927, but by 1940, the decision to draw the curtain had been made, and production ended for the LaSalle. Vehicles that had been developed in anticipation of the 1941 model year were not wasted, as these three distinct models saw duty across various GM brands, including Buick, Pontiac, and Cadillac. This particular LaSalle will require restoration, but it appears to be a solid prospect for this. It is located in Homestead, Florida, and is listed for sale here on eBay.

Unfortunately, we only get three photos of the LaSalle, with no engine photos, and none of the interior. The styling of the LaSalle is extremely elegant, which is not surprising given the fact that it was the work of Harley Earl. The owner says that the car is essentially rust free, with only a light amount of surface corrosion. Included in the sale is a number of body and trim components, including bumpers, headlights, hubcaps, and a spare left and right hood. Under the hood are the 322ci Cadillac V8 engine and a 3-speed manual transmission. Given the fact that this was a Cadillac engine, but the LaSalle was significantly lighter than even the lightest car in the Cadillac range, performance figures for the LaSalle were quite impressive. This car has been sitting since 1976, so while the transmission does go in and out of gear, it is unclear what state the engine is in, other than the fact that we know that it doesn’t run. We also have no real indication of the condition of the interior.

For a car of this vintage, wholly built by Cadillac, LaSalle prices remain surprisingly modest. It is possible to buy a similar Coupe to this one for just a shade under $40,000, although a mint one can fetch $80,000. Sales volumes aren’t particularly high, and on average less than 10 cars per year hit the market. Having said that, values have been increasing slowly but steadily over the past 5-years, so they may well continue to climb. The owner has set a BIN price of $18,000 for this car, and given the fact that it appears that the majority of the restoration work could be completed in a home workshop, that might make this an interesting project car.

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  1. NotSure

    I agree with your assessment that the styling is extremely elegant! Very nice lines.

    Like 22
  2. 86_Vette_Convertible

    What’s not to like? Beautiful design and deserves to be restored and back on the highways.

    Like 18
  3. Sal

    I scrolled down to see the price before I read your write-up. I wanted to say that price sounds insane; but by the time I made it to the comment section I was glad of two things: I don’t live in Florida and I don’t currently have $18k!

    She’s beautiful….

    Like 17
  4. Will Fox

    This LaSalle exudes every wonderful aspect of the art deco era. The horizontal lines that accentuates the car’s length; the beautiful grille and torpedo headlamps. This has had at least some TLC over the years, and deserves a full restoration IMHO. I picture this gorgeous coupe in a cream color with taupe interior.

    Like 11
  5. Little_Cars Alexander

    A lot of the features of this 37 were present on the 34 Lasalle, making it quite style-forward for its time. I believe the front fenders extending to the doors, upright grille and massive front bumpers gave these cars their elegance. Homestead, Florida in 1992 had Hurricane Andrew to contend with. I wonder how this car fared during the storms and ensuing destruction.

    Like 6
    • Thomas Martin

      It was in my grandfathers concrete block 3 car garage with its sister car a 1937 2door convertible that I sold to a family friend around 2006. The garage was built in the Early 1960’s and was essentially a bomb shelter.. no cars in this building were damaged, and cars in the other building sustained only minor damage.

      Like 0
    • Gene

      In 1957 I was 17 and fresh out of high school. I worked at a fish store and across the street was a gas station. They had a 1937 Lasalle couple for sale and I bought it for $25. What a cool car. I drove it into the ground!!!

      Like 0
  6. Del


    Like 5
  7. Paul

    Awesome year for LaSalle. First year for flathead v8. First year for insert bearings. Last year for floor shift. LaSalle was the 500 pace car for 37. Only issue I know of is they didn’t have a rear main seal. Oil slinger and the engine’s vacuum was supposed to keep oil in. Didn’t do a very good job of it.

    Like 3
    • gary

      looking for a gas tank for a 1937 coup any ideas thanks

      Like 0

    I am now singing the song in my head, from the TV show “All in the Family”
    Archie and Edith Bunker singing “Those Were The Days”. The one line … gee our old LaSalle ran great…. those were the days.
    This car is beautiful, and needs to be driven and enjoyed. Man that would be a blast, from the past. Sorry for the cliche, but I love it. Wishing the best, for buyer and seller. 18k seems like an ok price to me. It’s a shame, that we don’t have a Harley Earl, or an Edsel Ford today. Edsel the person, not the car. Edsel designed the beautiful Lincoln’s, of the same era I believe.

    Like 13
    • Ken

      With his income, in the 1930s Archie would have been driving a Ford, a Chevy or a Plymouth, if he could have afforded a car at all. A LaSalle would have been way out of reach for him.

      Like 3
      • Scott

        Archie’s LaSalle was 10 years old when he owned it.

        Like 6
  9. Christopher A. Junker

    This car in gray was my grandfather’s last car. Kept it until his death in 1958. AACA now considers the pre-WWII LaSalle as classics. I always thought the vertical grill was lovely.

    Like 4
  10. hatofpork

    What a beautiful design! I can see it in a Royal Blue with huge French fog lamps and some sort of solid stainless wheel covers-an American Delahaye! (more or less)

    Like 3
  11. sluggo

    Beautiful design,,, Many cars of this era had similar styling, But they are all ( Mostly) attractive! This one is gobs more expensive than some of the cars I have had, But I hope it finds a good home.
    (Had a 37 Pontiac Coupe, 37 Plymouth and currently a 39 Plymouth and 39 Dodge)

    Like 2
  12. Bob McK

    This car is as beautiful as my 38 Buick. He is asking twice what I paid and I could drive mine home.

    Like 0
  13. Jay E.

    Now that there is a beautiful car.

    Like 0
  14. Oldolds

    Well worth the 18,000.00. $80,000.00 car when done.

    Like 0
    • Thomas Martin

      Thank you!

      Like 0
  15. 37McBuick

    I wish it was mine, but didn’t have to pay for the restoration.
    I have a 37 40 series coupe.

    Like 0

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