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LaSalle Fleetlands 7-Passenger Touring, Blue, for sale in Warrensville Heights, Ohio, for $79,900.
Only 239 such vehicles were built in 1930, and all carried the prestigious Fleetwood insignia, as they were part of the semi-custom line of LaSalle bodies.
There’s little question that automotive stylist Harley Earl transformed the way we think and feel about motorcars. During the first two and a half decades of American automotive production, the cars were handsome, but primarily built for function. Styling was most often a result of necessity since engineers, not artists, were responsible for the shapes. However, when Harley Earl returned from Europe energized by what he’d seen, the result was the LaSalle. In the years that would follow, Cadillac, then the rest of the industry would be heavily influenced by his designs, and a revolution started resulting in some of the most beautiful cars the world has ever seen.
This 1930 LaSalle Fleetlands 7-passenger touring is a wonderful example of Harley Earl’s “Art and Colour” department. From the grille and headlamps that were heavily influenced by Italy’s Isotta-Fraschini, to the gently flowing fenders, to the uniquely American touring body, this car cannot be mistaken for anything but a large American Classic. Only 239 such vehicles were built in 1930, and all carried the prestigious Fleetwood insignia, as they were part of the semi-custom line of LaSalle bodies. Upgrades for 1930 included moving the parking lamps to the front fenders, louvers that extend the entire length of the hood, and wider front and rear treads.
This car has been with the current owner since 1972, with ownership history available from two owners before that. Given the car’s current excellent overall condition, it is a testament to the exceptional care and maintenance it has received over the years, thanks to a skilled and loving owner and a high quality restoration some years ago. The paint remains in excellent condition, and the brilliant turquoise finish is likely correct, as it closely matches a color illustration of a similar car in the 1930 Fleetwood catalog. The black fenders may have been repainted more recently, as they show almost zero signs of use, and overall the presentation is impressive. The chrome is very good, with only minor signs of age, most notably on the headlight and Trippe light buckets, but nothing that requires more than a hand polish. The intricately detailed hood ornament is crisply executed and shows no deterioration, and the bright LaSalle insignia on the radiator shell remains sharp. A single taillight out back illuminates LaSalle script when the brakes are applied, a wonderful early example of brand marketing in action.
The black leather interior is exceptionally well preserved, showing very little wear or signs of age. Befitting a luxury car, black carpets have been fitted instead of the usual rubber mats found in most open cars, and the ‘LaS’ insignia pedal covers are crisply rendered. In back, the primary seat looks almost completely unused, while the two jump seats are excellent as well. The only notable demerits would be an adhesion problem with the carpet in the driver’s side jump seat well (an easy fix), and the passenger’s side rear door does not open from the outside which is not a problem on a car with no windows. All the instruments are fully functional except the clock, and the controls on the steering wheel operate the hand throttle and headlights. Overhead, the tan canvas top is in good condition, although it shows some light staining at the very rear, something that might be able to be cleaned and certainly not bad enough to require replacement of the entire top. A matching tan canvas top boot is included, and it has never been used.
LaSalle used a version of Cadillac’s flathead V8 engine, which displaced 340 cubic inches (hence the 340 model designation) and generated a very respectable 90 horsepower. With three main bearings, the engine is smooth and torquey, making great V8 sounds as it goes down the road. The “HC” cast into the cylinder heads indicates that these are the high compression cylinder heads at 5.05:1, and the wide V angle practically eliminates vapor lock and other fuel problems. The engine starts quickly and runs extremely well with plenty of oil pressure—in fact, at the time of my visit, the car had not been started for some weeks, yet fired up almost immediately with a touch of the starter pedal. Still running the original Scheibler updraft carburetor and Stewart-Warner vacuum tank fuel system, it drives as it should, with strong performance on the open road. The unusual and virtually unobtainable LaSalle distributor cap is in place, correct fabric-covered plug wires look right, the porcelainized exhaust manifolds are extremely nice. The only notable damage is some peeling engine enamel due to a long-ago leak from the temperature gauge bulb. It is not detailed for show, but could easily be made so with a weekend’s worth of elbow grease and some paint.
Like most cars of the era, it happily cruises at 45-50 MPH, and the synchromesh transmission works as advertised, eliminating the need for double-clutching. With a massive radiator, the car runs cool at about 150-160 degrees under all conditions, and the generator shows a charge at anything above idle, just as it should. Compared to my own 1929 Cadillac, this LaSalle feels quicker and lighter on its feet, with notably better brakes, which were apparently improving by leaps and bounds each year. Wire spoke wheels and side mounts were options in 1930, and this one wears a matched set of six 7.50-18 Lester wide whitewall tires that remain in good condition.
The car also comes with a fitted metal trunk, accessory Trippe lights, an original LaSalle grille guard that is intact but needs to be re-chromed, an original jack, some original tools, and a set of side curtain irons (there are no side curtains, however).
All 1930 LaSalles are CCCA Full Classics, and this is an exceptional tour car that is welcome at any Caravan or Grand National event. With handsome good looks, a spacious interior, and Cadillac’s justifiably famous flathead V8, this is a wonderful opportunity to get a fully sorted open Classic that will make you smile every time you climb behind the wheel.