Author Topic: Prewar - Lasalle vs Cadillac  (Read 750 times)

Offline Joe Ceretti

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Prewar - Lasalle vs Cadillac
« on: October 22, 2013, 06:08:00 AM »
This may be a naive question but, why do I get the impression that the Lasalles are more desirable than the Cadillacs?

 
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1938 Cadillac 60 Special Fisher 38-6019S
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Offline The Tassie Devil(le)

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Re: Prewar - Lasalle vs Cadillac
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2013, 06:25:39 AM »
I think the LaSalles were nicer looking, and from what I understand from listening to others, Cadillac dropped the LaSalle line because it was starting to outsell the Cadillac.

Bruce. >:D
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Offline 49er

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Re: Prewar - Lasalle vs Cadillac
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2013, 06:52:13 AM »
Joe, one could go on a long time on this subject matter. In the end, Bruce is right, but its much more then that. The LaSalle filled a void . The Buick buyer wanting to step up to Cadillac may have found the jump unaffordable. Cadillac filled that void with the LaSalles. It worked. You had a LaSalle, a companion car and many just said I have a Cadillac LaSalle. Sale cut into Caddy sales with a new mind set. " Why pay for a Cadillac when I can have a LaSalle for less, still a Cadillac".  People were thinking LaSalle instead of Cadillac. Kill it for good, introduce the lower price Series 61 Cadillac. Get them and keep them thinking Cadillac. That's basically it.
  Add in perhaps Harley Earl at his best, a big depression and a big recession in 38 and relatively short life span and production numbers along with fabulous designs and you have great interest now adays, at least to a sizeable degree.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2013, 07:00:14 AM by 49er »
Art Archambeault 22010.                                                           38 LaSalle, 5019
49 Series 62
62 Fltw, 60 Special
63 Eldorado  Biarritz Conv
01 Deville

Offline Dan LeBlanc

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Re: Prewar - Lasalle vs Cadillac
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2013, 07:23:48 AM »
I'd have to agree with Art and Bruce.

Although I've got my hands full with my Fleetwood and my Chevy, LaSalles are some mighty attractive and comfortable cars.  I'd like to own one someday as I thought their styling had just a bit of an upper hand over the Cadillacs of the day.
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Offline Barry M Wheeler #2189

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Re: Prewar - Lasalle vs Cadillac
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2013, 07:56:33 AM »
Yesterday, Bill Hedge and I got a ten minute ride in the hills on the outside of La Porte, IN, in Lar's Kneller's 1941 Series 61 coupe. I haven't been in the front seat of a '41 (that is moving) for years, and it felt great. If you want to know why LaSalle is no more, go over this car carefully.

Packard was Cadillac's biggest competitor. "Ask the man who owns one." Yeah, ask about why the cheapest Packard is a six, with stamped grill parts. If you want an eight, you can pay a little more, but it still has materials of lesser quality that the 180.

Now enter the Series 61 Cadillac. It has the same grill as the Series 75. Same wheel covers. Same skirts, SAME engine. It is a CADILLAC, all the way through. And it was priced less than $1400. You couldn't even get in the door to see one. All of a sudden, those stylish LaSalles on the used car lot were, well, used cars.

For some reason, when I was growing up in the 40s, people did not realize that Harley Earl was genius enough, to style GM cars so they simply couldn't "see" that that "big" Pontiac or Olds 98 had the same doors as that Cadillac 61. That those myriads of Buick Specials and Centuries might look a little like that Cadillac from the left rear. Naww!!

He had built brand loyalty to the public so well that owners would swear on a stack of bibles that their car was unique all the way around. More room, more power, more everything. And to those loyal LaSalle owners, that couldn't get a new one now. "You'll have to be satisfied with a new Cadillac,  I daresay they didn't take long to make the switch.

When they could buy a LaSalle, it WAS a great bargain. But that new '41 Cadillac was an even greater bargain.
Barry M. Wheeler #2189
1941 Cadillac Series 60 Special (6019S)
1979 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham
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Offline 49er

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Re: Prewar - Lasalle vs Cadillac
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2013, 09:09:15 AM »
Barry, I do agree with some elements of your discussion but not all. Dispote the beautifully constructed 41 and all its qualities it doesn't answer the question, why for me. We know the reason for its creation and Earle elevation into the world of design. I believe one must look at the corporate thinking and its relationship to sales and those sales of Cadillac going forward. I personally don't think Corporate cared a twit about used cars. The used car discussion only relevant if new cars were sold. I agree with your Lincoln analysis and its influence. Since the Series 61 came after the death of LaSalle and all of the qualities you explain , that thinking, that Market repositioning did come after that death which means to me they had decided to kill it while the 41 was still on the board.
   I believe, they realized going up from Buick to Cadillac they didn't want you thinking about any other nameplate but Cadillac.
    I think the dame thing about the rumurs in 76 that they thought about the LaSalle name for the new Seville. Perhaps they had learned a marketing lesson.   Respectfully submitted. Art
Art Archambeault 22010.                                                           38 LaSalle, 5019
49 Series 62
62 Fltw, 60 Special
63 Eldorado  Biarritz Conv
01 Deville

Offline gary griffin

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Re: Prewar - Lasalle vs Cadillac
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2013, 01:06:54 PM »

Just a little input here. According to the book "LaSalle, Cadillac's Companion Car here are a few statistics.

During the 14 years that LaSalle was produced they sold 205,241  VS Cadillac's  205,315 .

Initially they sold about 1/3 of the number of Cadillacs but the depression in 1929 reversed the trend and LaSalle sold 22,961  Vs 19,004 by Cadillac.

From 1933 to 1940 LaSalle outsold Cadillac every year.  There were various reasons of course, LaSalle had more styling changes and appealed to the younger set than Cadillac and cost a little less and were less ostentatious for those not wanting to show their success for various reasons but still wanted the reliability and comfort of  a Cadillac.

When I was young every good hot rod had a LaSalle transmission because they were considered bullet proof.
Gary Griffin

1940 Lasalle 5029 4 door convertible sedan
1942 Cadillac 6719
1942 Cadillac 6719 (parts car)
1957 Cadillac 60-special
1937 Lanchester
1947 Triumph 1800 roadster
1973 Triumph Stag
1979 Dodge Li'l Red express
1976 Goldwing LTD
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Offline Joe Ceretti

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Re: Prewar - Lasalle vs Cadillac
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2013, 07:03:46 PM »
It seems to me that Packard was an influence on all of this. They felt a need, and I think a valid one at that, to compete and try to kill Packard. When Packard was gone, the Lasalle was no longer needed. It only served, at that point, to cut into the Cadillac profits. The corporate decision seems clear, Lasalle has to go.

But all that doesn't answer the question as to why there is a fondness for Lasalle in some members above the feeling one gets for the Cadillac.

I love my Sixty Special, with all it's quirks and difficult to get parts. I am sure I would enjoy a Lasalle just the same. Just not sure if I would love it more.

Today I installed my newly restored generator and my newly restored fuel pump. They are both beautiful. Then I took it for a test drive and it started to stall and run rough. THE CARB! It's leaking out a seal. It's a Carter WDO and should be a Stromberg AAV-26.

I haven't been able to find one. I am loath to rebuild the Carter, even though it is a very good carb, because it is not the carb that belongs.

Anyone have an AAV-26 laying around unused they want to sell me so I can have it rebuilt? This Carter belongs on a Lasalle, not a Cadillac. (That's a joke)


EDIT: I made a mistake. It's supposed to be an AAV-25.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2013, 05:17:47 AM by joeceretti »
Joe Ceretti - CLC#28183
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1938 Cadillac 60 Special Fisher 38-6019S
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Offline tozerco

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Re: Prewar - Lasalle vs Cadillac
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2013, 11:04:44 PM »
I stopped counting at eight on ebay right now....
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Offline 49er

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Re: Prewar - Lasalle vs Cadillac
« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2013, 04:01:27 AM »
I'm not sure that people love them more then Caddies. In the summer I often go to an ice cream stand by. Its my downfall. I will alternate each of my cars on these trips. The ice cream gatherings are different then shows. The car guys know of these cars. No mystery there. At the ice cream joint it is different. Just folks enjoying an ice cream. This crowd gathered is different then the crowd around my 49 and different again then my 60s cars and the questions are different. What does LS mean? So, its a Cadillac? Well........  Look at this suicide doors! , some see them for the first time at those ice cream stands. What kind of motor is that? Well that's a flat head, oooh! Archie Bunker, is this what they were singing about. Look at those whitewalls.  Look Martha, it has a push button starter just like your new VOLVO. Whatscold is new again. For many its their very first up close personal look at one such car from the era. Over time those conversations seep into the owner too. Even many local shows with the typical Chevy, ford grouds have today, never seen one. Pulling into a coffee shop last weekend in town a man was there with his 76 Corvette. People took pictures , gathered around, some old timers wanted to see the engine. War stories, Sherman tanks, so it went. The Corvette owner was pissed, you could see it.  He didn't get it. It wasn't about me, it was about the car. Whatever that thing is that makes folks feel and talk differently the owner becomes found of too. Do I love it more then my 49, no. Do I drive it more, no. Is the conversation different, the folks that gather different, most definitely. Its just a different thing and I hope I never understand it. Art
Art Archambeault 22010.                                                           38 LaSalle, 5019
49 Series 62
62 Fltw, 60 Special
63 Eldorado  Biarritz Conv
01 Deville

Offline Barry M Wheeler #2189

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Re: Prewar - Lasalle vs Cadillac
« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2013, 07:09:36 AM »
Art. I know you and the other Lassie owners are right. That feeling is there for many. I was gassing up the 41-6719F once, and the owner said, "Now if you had a LaSalle, you'd really have something, right? And I was pouring gas in a car that they only made 95 of... But, sorry to say, I've never felt "that" way about a LaSalle. It's just the lower priced car to me, and that's that.

It's probably just me, as I've also "hated" 1959s from the first instant I saw one at the Indy auto show. I don't think I hardly glanced at that nice row of them in Boston at all.
Barry M. Wheeler #2189
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Offline Brian Laurance

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Re: Prewar - Lasalle vs Cadillac
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2013, 10:16:42 AM »
Joe

   Packard was part of the equation but it outlasted LaSalle by 16 years (Plus the Packabaker years when it was joined with Studebaker as they both went down the drain).

   Henry Leland started the Cadillac company from scratch (He had precision machine shop) and he was a provider of engines for Ransom Olds, Oldsmobiles before he produced the first Cadillac. As Cadillac progressed He was enticed to join Billy Durants concoction called General Motors (Another long story) which turned out to be not so good for him (Short Version) so he started the Packard company. Both were founded on the principle of great cars through great engineering and were both initially successful for many years but since Packard was a stand alone company they tried to cover too much of the market by lowering prices by making an array of models. Leland was a genius of precision engineering and his Oldsmobile engines had 26% higher than those built by others for Oldsmobile due to the high quality he demanded.   Both cars were very high quality for their times and the  "Ask the man who owns one"  Packard slogan is still considered one of the greatest advertising slogans of all time.

Henry Leland launched the Lincoln automobile -- not Packard -- after he left Cadillac.  The Packard automobile actually dated from 1899, and the company was started by James Ward Packard and William Doud Packard.

Among the explanations I've read for the decision to eliminate the LaSalle brand is that the price gap between Buick and Cadillac was narrowing in the late-1930's and early-1940's.  Under the leadership of Harlow Curtice, Buick's Series 80 Roadmaster and Series 90 Limited models were moving up-market, and Buick's effort to team with the Brunn Co. for a custom body program was perceived as a threat to Cadillac's stature at the top of the GM ladder.  By the 1941 models, Buick's compound carbureted OHV straight-8's vied with Packard for the top horsepower rating in the industry.  Legend has it that Cadillac began complaining bitterly to top GM management, forcing Buick to terminate its custom body ambitions.  Even so, Buick's standard catalog included massive convertible sedans, as well as formal sedans with divider glass in the Series 80 and 90 cars and limousines in the Series 90.  The fact is that the LaSalle was becoming increasingly squeezed between the high-end Buicks and the lower-end Cadillacs.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2013, 10:25:45 AM by Brian Laurance »

Offline gary griffin

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Re: Prewar - Lasalle vs Cadillac
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2013, 02:28:00 PM »
Thanks Brian,

   I know that you are absolutely correct and that I made a gross error on this one. I am removing it to avoid confusion as I was obviously confused. Mixed up the stories and I am sorry.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2013, 02:30:25 PM by gary griffin »
Gary Griffin

1940 Lasalle 5029 4 door convertible sedan
1942 Cadillac 6719
1942 Cadillac 6719 (parts car)
1957 Cadillac 60-special
1937 Lanchester
1947 Triumph 1800 roadster
1973 Triumph Stag
1979 Dodge Li'l Red express
1976 Goldwing LTD
2001 Harley Davidson FLHPI
2004 Ford F350
2007 Lincoln Town Car

Offline Tito Sobrinho

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Re: Prewar - Lasalle vs Cadillac
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2013, 05:06:59 PM »
Brian is right.

"Red" Curtice besides looking at Brunn, he was looking also at the European Coachbuilders for Buick's custom bodies. It was a no, no for the Cadillac management
From the book ..."The Classic Era" by Beverly R. Kimes

The Packard 6 (110) had stamped louvers but not the grille that was the same as the 8 (120). The 6 salved the company
From the book...Packard- "A History of the Motor Car and the Company"
Tito S.

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