May 31, 2013
LIMA — The LaSalle was a General Motors car sold as a companion of the Cadillac from 1927 to 1940. The LaSalle was sold to fill the price gap that existed between Buick and Cadillac cars. Harley Earl is credited with the styling of the LaSalle. He saw it as something more than a junior Cadillac. Earl’s styling was influenced by the roadsters of the time. Once the auto executives saw Earl’s design and success, he was quickly put in charge of overseeing the design of all of General Motors’ vehicle. A 1934 LaSalle Model 350 was chosen as the pace car for the Indianapolis 500 and a 1937 LaSalle Series 50 convertible served as an Indy 500 pace car. The LaSalle was honored in the opening theme song to the popular 1971-79 television series, “All In The Family.” In the song, Those Were the Days, the end of the song was, “Gee our old LaSalle ran great. Those were the days.”
Bob Laman owns this 1938 LaSalle Hearse. They purchased the Lewis Memorial Chapel in 1959, and at that time, the LaSalle came with the funeral home. Chiles-Laman Funeral Homes donated it to the Allen County Museum, where it was stored until 1994. The funeral home got the car back and Kelly Hastings is credited with the restoration, which took two and a half years. The side curtains are actually hand carved oak. Chiles-Laman Funeral Homes plans to drive this hearse in parades and to car shows.