Thursday 5th May 1927
The LaSalle was introduced as a companion marque of Cadillac. Using the same platform as the Cadillac, the LaSalle was designed by Harley Earl who saw the new vehicle not as a junior Cadillac, but rather as an agile and stylish vehicle. According to one writer:“Harley J. Earl was an unparalleled automobile designer. He was a dreamer, an artisan, an artist and a genius all tied up in one. He personified the brand’s soul.”
The new LaSalle quickly became a trend-setting automobile. It used the Cadillac Ninety Degree V-8 which, coupled with the LaSalle’s smaller size, made it fast. The LaSalle was introduced to the automobile-buying public just prior to the beginning of the Great Depression. During the Great Depression, car sales slowed and a number of manufacturers went out of business. General Motors eliminated its Viking and Marquette brands. Cadillac sales fell, but many loyal Cadillac buyers switched to the LaSalle to save money. By 1935, the LaSalle was more closely related to the Oldsmobile than to the Cadillac. It sold for about $1,000 less than the Cadillac and its primary business mission was to keep the GM luxury car division profitable. However, the LaSalle faced stiff competition from the Packard One-Twenty (introduced in 1935) and from the Lincoln-Zephyr (introduced in 1936). In the Fall of 1939, the 1940 LaSalle was introduced with a full array of body styles, including a convertible. This was to be the last model year for the LaSalle.