In the introduction to his book Engines of Change, Paul Ingrassia notes the paradigm shift embodied in 1927, the year Ford's eminently practical Model T ended production and General Motors' stylish Harley Earl-designed LaSalle was introduced.
The LaSalle, he observed, "was the first mass-market designer car, ... intended for getting attention as well as for getting around." Continuing in production as a lightweight, smaller alternative to Cadillac, sharing many mechanical details almost simultaneously, LaSalle blended smoothly into the rhythm of the Thirties, offering style and performance in a compact package as a more affordable price while preserving Cadillac as the pinnacle of Alfred P. Sloan's hierarchy of aspirations.
It met its demise in 1940 as Detroit geared up to become the Arsenal of Democracy but not before building a few special, and singularly attractive Convertible Sedans in the lower Series 52 'torpedo' body style, bodies shared with Cadillac's Series 62 but distinguished by LaSalle's distinctive vertical grille, prominent, finely chiseled, flanking fender grilles and headlights faired into the front fenders.
The Series 52 LaSalles were a mid-year introduction with a longer, nearly fastback, body and elegantly tapered rear fenders. This example is finished in navy blue with red leather upholstery and a beige cloth top accented by red steel wheels with hubcaps, trim rings and wide whitewall tires.
It is equipped with a grille guard, pushbutton radio, clock, heater, discrete running boards and dual outside mirrors. An older restoration to showroom condition, it has quality paint, good chrome and a very nice interior. Freshly and comprehensively detailed, it is exceptionally rare and desirable, one of only 75 built in the Series 52 'torpedo' convertible sedan style.
The inherent quality of this 1940 LaSalle 40-52 'torpedo' convertible sedan is evident, but also distinguished by its model-unique tall, narrow, finely detailed LaSalle grille, a car of unusual quality and distinction that is most rare of all GM models and body styles.
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