Lot 361

1928 LaSalle Series 303 Sport Phaeton

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$40,000 - $60,000 USD  | Offered Without Reserve

United States | Hershey, Pennsylvania

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Engine No.
223002
Documents
Canadian Registration
To be offered on Thursday, 6 October 2022
  • One of the most striking cars of the Classic Era, featuring highly desirable dual-cowl Sport Phaeton coachwork by Harley Earl
  • Well-appointed with dual, side-mount spare tires, passenger-side spotlight, and folding trunk rack
  • Powered by a 303-cu.-in. L-head V-8 engine mated to a three-speed, selective, sliding-gear transmission
  • Attractive two-tone livery with matching blue leather interior
  • Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic
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To fill emerging gaps in General Motors’ lineup, CEO Alfred P. Sloan conceived of “companion makes,” melding attributes of higher-priced premium vehicles with the practicality of entry-level models. The LaSalle brand debuted in March 1927 as a companion to Cadillac, intended to convey the marque’s prestige at a lower price. While ultimately a commercial failure, LaSalle would instead be remembered for establishing the automotive world's first inhouse styling department.

GM recruited a young designer from California, Harley Earl, to work for LaSalle. In his first stint a major manufacturer, Earl submitted designs inspired by one of the most sensational automobiles of the period, the Hispano-Suiza. He penned a classic shape, the beltline of the open cars flowing from the windshield back to the tail of the body. So impressed were the executives at GM, they moved automotive styling out of the no-frills engineering department and into its own division with Earl as its lead designer.

Earl and his team gave these “junior Cadillacs” a tall, slender, nickel-plated radiator shell bearing a winged emblem, surrounded by black vertical slats and fronted by hefty stalk-mounted headlamps. Intended to be driven by its owner rather than by a chauffeur, the LaSalle expressed a sportier, more youthful aura than even the most accessible Cadillac. Arguably the most elegant of all these designs, however, were the venerated dual-cowl Sport Phaetons such as the one offered here.

Wearing the highly desirable phaeton coachwork with its characteristic dual windscreens, this Series 303 is presented in a charming, period two-tone color scheme of blue over black fenders. The matching blue leather upholstery wears an elegant patina and is complimented by the tan fabric soft-top. The car is equipped with desirable period options, such as a folding trunk rack and a set of six wire wheels that includes dual, fender-mounted spares, an incredible $250 option in 1928.

Recognized as a Classic Car Club of America Full Classic, this LaSalle Series 303 Sport Phaeton is ideal for both exhibition and touring, an elegant reminder of Earl’s supreme talent as one of the greatest American automotive designers of all time.