Last week at the Cadillac LaSalle Club’s (www.cadillaclasalleclub.org) national meet in the Milwaukee area we got to sit in the 1955 LaSalle II dream car. It would be nice if we could reprise Archie Bunker’s famous line about the LaSalle running great, but the classic show car really didn’t have an engine.
It had a dummy V-6 under its hood, but the only thing that made it move was a hidden electric motor. Nevertheless, it was a great experience just to sit in the car, which dream car collector Joe Bortz rescued from Warhoops salvage yard in Michigan. Bringing it back to life took extensive restoration work.
When I told my son Jesse that I sat in the LaSalle II, he reminded me that he had actually taken a ride in the Oldsmobile F88 show car when The Blackhawk Collection sent the bronze beauty to the Iola Old Car Show. You’re not supposed to fool Mother Nature or one-up your father, but Jesse did the latter. Of course, we didn’t tell him how we actually drove the ‘89 Indy Pace Car.
The LaSalle II is a hard car to get into. It probably has less room in the cockpit than our MG TD. To get in, you plunk your bottom down and swing your legs in while never touching the windshield or steering wheel. To get out of the car, you need a friend to pull your arm; there’s no other way! You may have seen photos of the LaSalle II, but you really can’t fathom how small it is unless you see it in person. We’d guess it’s about the size of a Gen 1 Corvair.