Here’s the second instalment of our retrospective gaze at GM’s 1955 Motorama dream cars.
This time we take a look at the sporty La Salle II roadster and pillarless hardtop sedan.
For cars of the 1950s, the La Salle’s are small.
The roadster has a 99 inch (2510mm) wheelbase, is only 152 inches (3860mm) long and stands just 42.8 inches (1090mm) high.
The sedan sits on a 108 inch (2740mm) wheelbase, is a mere 50 inches (1270mm) from ground to rooftop yet it seats six.
The roadster was styled by the incomparable Carl Renner, whose resume also included the 1955 Chevrolet Nomad which was also featured at the Motorama as a production car.
The sedan was the work of Peter Wozena.
The La Salles were non-operational but the engines were said to be a double overhead camshaft V6.
Yes, a V6.
Both cars were painted white with Bahama Blue side covers and to achieve their low slung appearance used 13 inch (330mm) wheels.
The sedan’s windscreen wrapped up into the roof, similar to the Chevrolet Biscayne’s which was featured in the first instalment of this series.
The windscreen design would feature on GM’s 1959 cars.
The reverse slant C pillar and roof line appeared on GM’s 1957 and 1958 ranges.
Like the Biscayne, the sedan’s rear door hinged at the rear to allow easy access to the back seat, and locked into the lower sill.
One of the early design ideas for the sedan was an almost vertical windscreen which bisected the dashboard binnacles.
Cars4starters was lucky enough to gain access to GM’s previously secret design files and can show you the vertical windscreen idea.
And if the front end of the La Salles look familiar, then compare the shape of the front fenders, with those flat fins over the headlights, to those of the 1959 Studebaker Lark and 1960 Valiant.
Now we know where Studebaker and Chrysler found their design inspiration.
As we related in the first instalment of this series, the La Salles and the Chevrolet Biscayne were supposed to be destroyed at Warhoops junk yard in Sterling Heights, Michigan in the late 1950s, after their dream car usefulness had expired.
Lucky for us someone ignored the directive.
The roadster has been restored and the sedan is in the process of being returned to its Motorama elegance.