Hershey | Lot 198

1928 LaSalle Series 303 Five-Passenger Coupe by Fisher

The Merrick Auto Museum Collection

$25,850 USD | Sold

United States | Hershey, Pennsylvania

10 October 2019

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  • Handsome LaSalle coupe, body style 8050
  • Extensive 1,745-hour restoration
  • Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic

Cadillac’s new “companion make,” the LaSalle, was introduced in March 1927. Intended to convey Cadillac prestige at a lower price, it was designed by the legendary Harley Earl, newly recruited to Detroit from California. Earl’s first job for a major manufacturer, the LaSalle was a styling tour de force. Inspired by the great Hispano-Suiza, Earl penned a classic shape, the beltline of the open cars flowing from the windshield back to the tail of the body. The 1927 LaSalle is considered the first American car to have been styled from concept to reality. Until that time, cars had been designed by “body engineers.”

Smaller and lighter than the Cadillac, it was in the same pattern with a similar chassis and a scaled-down L-head V-8 engine. In June, Willard Rader, GM’s experimental manager at the Michigan proving grounds, drove a roadster chassis in a grueling 950-mile durability run, averaging 95.3 mph for the ten-hour trial.

This 1928 Series 303 LaSalle was shipped from the factory on 9 April 1928 to the dealer at Bay City, Michigan. Most of its subsequent history is unrecorded, but it was restored in 1989 by Al-Co Restorations in Magnolia, Texas. This included fully rebuilding the engine with new pistons, bearings, and balancing. The Merrick Auto Museum acquired it in 1996. Prior owners include Larry Digny of Princeton, Massachusetts.

Striking in maroon with black fenders, it has black body moldings accented with light grey at the belt molding and around the windows. Upholstery is grey pleated cloth in excellent condition, and there are bud vases in the rear. The engine compartment is sanitary and correctly detailed.

This car represents a chance to acquire a CCCA Full Classic from LaSalle’s second year, an excellent example of America’s first truly styled car.

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