Today while GM hopes to emerge from bankruptcy as a leaner company more likely to survive in the future, it stands as a stark contrast from the old GM of boom economic times which threw big budgets into many intriguing concept vehicles and research programs. One of the most interesting of these concept car programs was a possible return to building a new line of LaSalle automobiles to be sold by Cadillac during the 1950's.
The original LaSalle marque of automobiles were sold as a companion brand by Cadillac from 1927 to 1940. GM's legendary designer, Harley Earl, was the father of this brand which included many large and luxurious automobiles with a limousine-like appearance that looked like rolling gold. They were beautiful automobiles. But they became the first major American brand to be discontinued right before WWII.
The planned revival of the LaSalle brand included a sports car model obviously based on the Chervolet Corvette as well as large four door model with pillar-less roof-line called the LaSalle II. While the LaSalle II concept car apparently never grew beyond some artist renderings, an actual LSalle sports car was built and toured the auto show circuit.
Sadly the LaSalle sports car eventually ended up in a junk yard to be crushed. Fortunately, the LaSalle roadster was never crushed, but left in pieces which were said to be reassembled for a 2008 auto event. However, another unique GM showcar, the Biscayne was built out of fiberglass, and the steel chassis was crushed. However, since the body pieces still survived, they were dug up out of the ground and a process to reassemble the car, much like putting a dinosaur back together has been undertaken.
Would a revival of the LaSalle marque have really been a big boon to GM during the 1950's? That's highly unlikely for a small new brand to be sold by Cadillac with a very high price tag. However, the concept of some high priced sports oriented models sold by Cadillac was somewhat realized with the great front wheel drive Eldorado cars of the 1960's and some later Cadillac models in recent years.
Profits are certainly larger in more expensive luxury cars compared to small cars. However with so much pressure from Washington for higher fuel economy, as well as uncertain and quickly rising fuel prices, don't expect to see very many new large new luxury cars in the future from American auto brands. Certainly, a few high price brands will exist in the future. But that page of history is now probably past.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!