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Author Topic: New guy -- picking up a 39' LaSalle  (Read 870 times)

Offline CreepyOldGuy

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  • Name: Shaun Keeling
New guy -- picking up a 39' LaSalle
« on: October 06, 2017, 10:40:21 AM »
New guy on the forum.  I have been looking for a project car off and on for a couple of years.  I had been a little undecided on what I want, but have been leaning towards the pre WWII cars.  I ran across a 1939 LaSalle for sale and it just kind of called to me!

After looking at it twice this week, doing a bunch of research and a little price negotiations, I am committing to  the purchase today.  With the exception of the frame\suspension, the car is completely dissembled so I am taking a chance on what might be missing.  But, after some thorough rummaging through the shed dedicated to the car, boxes of parts and documentation\photos of the disassembly that was kept, I am confident that it is all there, or at least the important stuff that I verified is.  The body is very straight, no rust, floors are solid, grills are in great condition, all trim and interior parts appear to be present.  I am ready to dig in to a full rebuild!

One thing I do know  that is missing is the hup caps and OE wheels, I would like to find a set of OE hub caps for it.   I'm not sure if the engine is complete, I think it is, but we will find out.  I have located a 66' Sedan DeVille that I could use the 429\TH400 out of.  Though I think I would like to stick with the flathead, I thought the 429 would do this old girl some justice and possibly make it little more drive-able as I live at 10,000'.  My intentions will be to keep the car mostly stock but I will not be attempting a perfect, by the book restoration.  Just something to enjoy for what it is and hopefully involve my nine year old twin boys in.

The car is a 4-door sedan.  Still wearing what is left of the original paint.  The paint code is 52, which I believe is Antoinette Blue?  Trim code is 33, any ideas on what this specifies?

I will post up some pictures of the process of bringing the car home and start a thread in the appropriate forum section documenting bringing this old girl back to life.  My goal will be to have her on the road for her 80th birthday!

Offline Dan LeBlanc

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Re: New guy -- picking up a 39' LaSalle
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2017, 11:16:21 AM »
Best advice . . . stick with the flathead.  The flatheads run smooth and quiet and adding an overdrive will make it very driveable.  The cost of fitting an overdrive would be far less than the cost of modifying the car to stick a 429 in the place of a flathead.  Space is somewhat tight with the flathead so imagine a much larger engine in there! 
Dan LeBlanc - CLC # 27657
1970 DeVille Convertible
1977 Continental Town Car

Offline CreepyOldGuy

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  • Name: Shaun Keeling
Re: New guy -- picking up a 39' LaSalle
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2017, 11:38:07 AM »
Best advice . . . stick with the flathead.  The flatheads run smooth and quiet and adding an overdrive will make it very driveable.  The cost of fitting an overdrive would be far less than the cost of modifying the car to stick a 429 in the place of a flathead.  Space is somewhat tight with the flathead so imagine a much larger engine in there!

Thanks for the advice.  My intention is to stick with the flathead - I'm not sure if it is all there.  Are 322/346's difficult to locate if I am missing something or need to purchase a good core?  I have never driven a LaSalle, is the engine capable of maintaining safe speeds in modern traffic?

You mentioned an overdrive, any info on this you can provide?

Offline Barry M Wheeler #2189

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Re: New guy -- picking up a 39' LaSalle
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2017, 11:48:56 AM »
One thing, the original radio and the plastic dash controls (along the bottom of the dash) are very scarce items. It might behoove you to check on these before dropping your cash on the counter. Wheel covers (full) or hub caps are not too hard to find. Good luck and welcome. BW
Barry M. Wheeler #2189

1979 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham
1981 Cadillac Seville
1991 Cadillac Seville
2016 Cadillac ATS

Offline gary griffin

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Re: New guy -- picking up a 39' LaSalle
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2017, 12:33:17 PM »
Shaun,
 
   Congratulations on you LaSalle purchase. I hope you enjoy it to the fullest.  My advice is to join the national C L C and post a restoration blog in the Forum. l did that and have enjoyed the experience. I am old enough to be your grandfather but still enjoy the old cars. An example is my 1942 restoration blog. It is on the first page of the restoration forum. Reading it you may learn a bit about the various things involved and miss some of the bad steps I took.  You chose a fine example of pre war automobiles. Enjoy and let your kids be involved as much as they want to. They will remember the experience the rest of their lives. Hopefully you will be more industrious than I was and finish the restoration before they learn to drive and ask for the keys.

   Also the Antoinette blue is quite dark and looks black unless it is in sunlight. My car is Antoinette blue and I love the color. Again look at the restoration blog.

   You can find the build sheet through the club for a fee. I did and it has a lot of historical information about the car including the date it was built and where it was shipped to from the factory.
Gary Griffin

1940 LaSalle 5029 4 door convertible sedan
1942 Cadillac 6719 restoration almost complete?
1942 Cadillac 6719 (parts car) (Gone)
1957 Cadillac 60-special (Needs a little TLC)

Offline Dan LeBlanc

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Re: New guy -- picking up a 39' LaSalle
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2017, 01:55:29 PM »
Thanks for the advice.  My intention is to stick with the flathead - I'm not sure if it is all there.  Are 322/346's difficult to locate if I am missing something or need to purchase a good core?  I have never driven a LaSalle, is the engine capable of maintaining safe speeds in modern traffic?

You mentioned an overdrive, any info on this you can provide?

I've driven a 38 Lasalle owned by a friend - hopefully he'll chime in here.  What I can say is that it is very capable of freeway speeds.  The car has plenty of torque and is quite easy to drive.  It was my first time driving a pre-WWII car and was very surprised.  At 70MPH it will be revving quite high but can do it.  A company like Gear Vendors should be able to supply an overdrive unit that attaches to the end of the transmission that will really drop the revs down to a comfortable level.

http://www.gearvendors.com/restorationclassic.html
Dan LeBlanc - CLC # 27657
1970 DeVille Convertible
1977 Continental Town Car

Offline Andy D

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  • Name: A. Derr
Re: New guy -- picking up a 39' LaSalle
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2017, 07:03:27 PM »
Shaun,
You have picked a great car. If you need an engine, I may be able to get you in touch with someone that has a 346.
I have found it almost impossible to get hub caps, but wheel discs are available. The center emblems are available new and are the same for both the discs and caps (at least they were for my Caddy). The caps look better and don't cover the pin stripes.
I would be able to help you with a radio if the Cadillac and LaSalle units are the same.
Andy
a.derr@sbcglobal.net :)

Offline CreepyOldGuy

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Re: New guy -- picking up a 39' LaSalle
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2017, 07:50:34 PM »
Thanks to all for the warm welcome and the advice.  Both are much appreciated. 

I'm going to get the car home and figure out what I need and what I need to do.  I am looking forward to a project this winter. 

Offline tturley

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  • Name: Tom Turley
Re: New guy -- picking up a 39' LaSalle
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2017, 08:43:44 PM »
I restored a 1940 LaSalle and the authenticity guide was a big help along with the repair manual.
But the most help came from the knowledgeable people on this forum
Member # 28929
1940 Lasalle model 5019
2011 Escalade platinum Edition
1995 Ford F-150
2015 Buick Enclave

Offline Tom Boehm

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Re: New guy -- picking up a 39' LaSalle
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2017, 08:32:12 AM »
Hello C.O.G., Keep the engine. I've been in the club for many years and members rave about the '36-'48 flathead engine for power, smoothness, silence, and durability.  Parts availability is good, both new and used. Best of all there is plenty of knowledge about this engine available in the club and on this forum. Your Lasalle has a 3.92 differential ratio so you probably will not need an aftermarket overdrive. I am restoring a 1940 Lasalle and I found the CLC's Authenticity manual to be helpful. It is a digest of information from many period Cadillac publications. Also there are reproductions available of the shop manual for Cadillac and Lasalle 1939. That would be very helpful to you to familiarize yourself with your car. There are two other reproduction books available that do not focus on your car but are helpful sometimes. One is the 1935-1949 Cadillac master parts book. There are various versions that cover different time spans. If you need parts, this book will tell you what other Cadillac and Lasalle years and models used that part. There are also some good exploded diagrams of parts assemblies. The other is a 1939 and 1940 body manual. This has line drawings of the various body shells and tells how to adjust the window crank and lock mechanisms among others.
     It is helpful to know your car shares the body shell with the Cadillac 1939 series 61, the 1940 Lasalle series 50, and various Buick, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac models. it also has many chassis parts in common with the 1940 Lasalle 50 series and the 1939 Cadillac series 61. I think the dashboard is the same as the '39 Cadillac series 61 if not other '39 Cadillacs.

Offline Bobby B

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  • Mendham, New Jersey
  • Name: Bob Bender
Re: New guy -- picking up a 39' LaSalle
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2017, 04:23:19 PM »
Shaun,
 Hi.....The "Creepy Old Guy" thing has me worried..... >:D.  If you wind up going with a Flathead, please check in with us before you do any machining, rebuilding, ordering parts, etc. We can help you out by saving you tons of aggravation and money spent on nothing. A few of us have been down that road many times and are still on it..... ::)
                                                                                                                                                                                                 Good Luck,
                                                                                                                                                                                                         Bobby

 
1947 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible Coupe
1968 Mustang Convertible
1973 Mustang Convertible
1969 Jaguar E-Type Roadster
1971 Datsun 240Z
1979 H-D FLH

Offline Tom Boehm

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Re: New guy -- picking up a 39' LaSalle
« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2017, 07:00:35 PM »
Hello Again Shaun, I looked it up, paint code 52 is Antoinette Blue. Trim code 33 means it came from the factory with gray ribbed broadcloth for the interior upholstery fabric. Small hubcaps were standard equipment. Full wheelcovers were an optional upgrade. It is very difficult if not impossible to find original wheelcovers/hubcaps in very good condition free of dents. Ones in less than perfect condition are available. It is difficult and expensive for a chrome plater to restore/repair original wheelcovers/hubcaps. Allcads.com sells reproduction 1939 Lasalle wheelcovers but they are very expensive.
    There is a book titled "Lasalle:Cadillac's companion car" available on the club website. It was written by two members. Large hardbound. Worthwhile.
There is information on the club website on how to obtain the build sheet for your car. This is the record of your car from the cadillac archive. It will tell you what date it was built, the options the car came with, and the distributor or maybe dealer the car was sold by. It will not tell the original owner/buyer.

Offline tripwire

  • Posts: 85
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  • Name: Wes Paro
Driving now:
2013 CTS4 Performance Coupe
1940 LaSalle 5229 C4D

A few I used to drive:
1976 Cadillac Ambulance
1969 Cadillac Hearse, Superior Body
1966 Buick Wildcat Hearse
1957 Ford Thunderbird x 3, 1 E code, 2 D code
1956 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 Sedan
1949 Mercury Convertible
1949 Mercury Coupe, Mild Custom
1936 Buick Special Sedan

Offline CreepyOldGuy

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  • Name: Shaun Keeling
Re: New guy -- picking up a 39' LaSalle
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2017, 10:43:13 AM »
Picking her up tomorrow afternoon.  I'm so excited!  I will start a restoration thread beginning with bringing everything home.

Offline gary griffin

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Re: New guy -- picking up a 39' LaSalle
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2017, 11:11:18 AM »

I also recommend you stick with the fla thead.  If you are going to rebuild an engine consider boring your original engine out to 346 cubic inches. The main difference between Cadillac and LaSalle is horsepower . My LaSalle has plenty of power but I live near seal level .  I am pretty sure since you live up there you need to tune and adjust your engine differently and it will be too rich if you happen to drop by my place.  The 322 and 346 are essentially the same basic engine and plenty of parts available for either one.
Gary Griffin

1940 LaSalle 5029 4 door convertible sedan
1942 Cadillac 6719 restoration almost complete?
1942 Cadillac 6719 (parts car) (Gone)
1957 Cadillac 60-special (Needs a little TLC)

Offline CreepyOldGuy

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Re: New guy -- picking up a 39' LaSalle
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2017, 03:29:02 PM »
Fairly sure I will stick with the flathead, I need to to make sure I have all or most engine components before committing.

Offline tripwire

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Re: New guy -- picking up a 39' LaSalle
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2017, 03:35:59 PM »
Shaun,
It might be too early to know if you need this or not but here's an engine if yours doesn't work out.  It's not mine, no dog in the fight.

https://olympic.craigslist.org/pts/d/flathead-v8-from-1937/6341708248.html


Good luck with your project.

WParo in VT
Driving now:
2013 CTS4 Performance Coupe
1940 LaSalle 5229 C4D

A few I used to drive:
1976 Cadillac Ambulance
1969 Cadillac Hearse, Superior Body
1966 Buick Wildcat Hearse
1957 Ford Thunderbird x 3, 1 E code, 2 D code
1956 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 Sedan
1949 Mercury Convertible
1949 Mercury Coupe, Mild Custom
1936 Buick Special Sedan

Offline Steve Passmore

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  • Name: Steve Passmore
Re: New guy -- picking up a 39' LaSalle
« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2017, 04:04:57 PM »
The seller means 40 thou. No such thing as 4 thou oversize.
Steve

Offline tripwire

  • Posts: 85
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  • Name: Wes Paro
Re: New guy -- picking up a 39' LaSalle
« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2017, 04:41:55 PM »
Steve,
I think the seller has it right although it's a bit confusing at first glance.  He wrote zero point zero four  (0.04). You or I would have included the final significant digit and left off the zero in front of the decimal point, .040 which can be seen on the piston in the picture.

Driving now:
2013 CTS4 Performance Coupe
1940 LaSalle 5229 C4D

A few I used to drive:
1976 Cadillac Ambulance
1969 Cadillac Hearse, Superior Body
1966 Buick Wildcat Hearse
1957 Ford Thunderbird x 3, 1 E code, 2 D code
1956 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 Sedan
1949 Mercury Convertible
1949 Mercury Coupe, Mild Custom
1936 Buick Special Sedan

Offline CreepyOldGuy

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  • Name: Shaun Keeling
Re: New guy -- picking up a 39' LaSalle
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2017, 08:46:18 PM »
The seller means 40 thou. No such thing as 4 thou oversize.

Thanks for the link.  Seems a little expensive or an incomplete engine of unknown condition?  Or is this a fair price?  This is not my first project/classic car, but classic Cadillac's are new to me. 

 

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