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Trevor's 1937 La Salle Coupe

The elegant coupe style was shared with Buick and Olds 8, but rarely seen in Australia

The previous owner would never have got it together - his life was in turmoil and his chaotic style was the opposite of what was needed to return this rare car to its new condition. By the time that owner advertised it for sale in 1993, he had located and imported another similar car from the US, another car that he would not restore.

Trevor Grant was about to take early retirement, and had been hanging around and helping out for so long at his mate Robert Tingay's car-restoration business that he/they decided to make it a more proper part-time arrangement. Trevor now spent even more time working with Robert, and a car of his own to restore was a necessity. Knowing Robert's love for his now-famous 1930 LaSalle roadster, I can only guess where the influence came from that sent Trevor to the NSW south coast to look at the white LaSalle coupe advertised for sale there. It must be said in fairness that Trevor had already chosen to restore (and completed) a '35 Master Chev and a very early Holden, so the seed of GM bias must have been planted earlier.

The coupe was trailered home to Castlemaine from NSW still left-hand-drive and partly dismantled. Restoration extended over two years, and included a fair amount of rust repair to the cowl sides where the front guards bolt on, and to the rear pan below the bootlid. The car was also converted to RHD at this time, and the interior was reupholstered by Grant White in Rosanna using imported Bedford cord material. Paintwork was returned to its original black. The engine was so good that it was not opened up, indicating that the car had led a fairly relaxed life.

Trevor has learned that the car was delivered new in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Nothing is known of its early history until prolific car collector Jim Hyland of Warrnambool, Victoria imported it in the eighties. It found its way to Gilltrap's auctions in Queensland by 1992, and sold some months after the auction to Mick Quinn in southern NSW. Trevor went back to Quinn's home a little later, when Quinn had realised that he could not restore the second LaSalle coupe. So Trevor now has that car stashed ready for a similar restoration.


Passenger's view. The floor gear lever moved to the steering column in 1938 models.


The original engine!

TECH SPECS
322 cub inch L-head V8 engine
3 3/8"x4 1/2, 125 bhp @ 3400 rpm
6.25:1 compression ratio
Hydraulic lifters
Automatic choke
3-speed manual trans with floor shift
3.92:1 final drive
7.00x16 tyres
12 drum brakes
124 wheelbase
16 10 1/2 long overall (5.1mt)
Fisher body
In America the coupe was the cheapest LaSalle of all for 1937 at $1155.