Hampton Roads Cadillac-LaSalle Car Club
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Members' Cars

                        !!and what it looks like NOW!!
                             CLICK HERE or ON THE PHOTO
       ...for a full description of Restoration Phase 2 and Jim's experience using  
         the LaSalle in a movie being shot mostly in nearby Petersburg, Virginia. 

It was directed by Meg Ryan and produced by Tom Hanks.  The movie “Ithaca” is supposed to be a family rated movie set in 1942.  Read all about it!!


                                                                   Jim Stansbury's 
                1940 LaSalle
 Series 5219 Restoration


I bought the LaSalle in running condition from a local club member for what seemed like a bargain price.  I had always liked its styling, and its rareness was somewhat appealing like my 33 Buick.   The chrome was marginal, but the paint looked great from 30 feet away and it ran well except for a little oil smoke. 

However, inside the engine compartment was awful.  The purchase seemed like a good idea at the time as the deal included a parts car.  I drove it to local club events for a couple of years, but some major problems soon developed and triggered the full restoration.  Since that decision almost 15 years ago, the car turned into a pile of inoperable, rusted parts that soon exceeded my storage space, time and skill level.  An opportunity to acquire and restore a 59 MGA also got in the way.  As the years passed I found it more difficult to remember how the parts go back together and where the parts were stored.


y retirement last October allowed the much needed time to make some real progress.   The above photo shows the completed engine.  It was actually rebuilt about 12 years ago, but then sat idle awaiting my time.   By the time I got back to it, I found the starter had lost the power to spin it quickly enough to start.  Swapping in a spare starter did not help.   The problem was finally cured by installing much heavier battery cables.  Six volt systems require significantly thicker cables than 12 volt systems.  

However, the problems kept coming.  After sitting for years the once new paint on the engine needed to be done again.  During the 2nd repaint, a long hairline crack was discovered in the block.  The crack had been hidden by the starter and had been seeping antifreeze long enough to cause rust streaks.   The engine shop that did the rebuild was out of business, so it was my problem to fix.   I was able to find a local engine guy (a local recluse who specializes in rebuilding SSCA racing engines).  He made a house call after much persuasion and repaired it without having to remove and disassemble the engine.  

I had done most of the suspension and body repairs on the front end years ago while the engine was out, but because the rear of the car looked okay I waited until now to pull off the rear fenders and restore the trunk area.   During that process, 4 broken leaf springs were discovered in the rear suspension.  The parts car springs were good, but swapping them was a tiresome dirty job.   

The worst discovery was finding some serious structural rust damage behind the rear fenders.   This was a show stopping setback and would require new metal (unavailable for this rare car).  Once again the parts car saved the day.  It too was in poor condition, but had much less rust in the critical areas I needed to replace.  The light colored paint in the top photo shows where the ‘new’ rocker and rear body panels were welded in on both sides.  I had never done a body job this big, but somehow found the courage and skill to transfer huge chunks of metal with many curves from one car to the other.   This daunting task began in November and was completed by early summer.  But that was not the end of the problems.  Installing the new wiring harness led to some hard to trace electrical gremlins.  Some unexpected leaks in the gas tank also had to be repaired.    

As of this writing the LaSalle can be driven, but is not yet street worthy without the fenders and lights.  The above photo shows one of the freshly painted front fenders awaiting installation.  The installation will be done only after the body is painted.  The painting delay has allowed some extra time to detail small parts.


These two photos show show the trunk emblem before and after.   A little cleaning and color can make a difference.   New upholstery will be the last major task (I hope).

Obviously, the car will not make it to our CLC show this September, but there is hope for 2014
                          Jim Stansbury's 1933 Buick

                       Clint Dalton's 1940 LaSalle

                         Mary Jane Richter's 1955 cadillac Series 62

Bob & Letty Geiger's 1963 Cadillac Fleetwood

Chris & Jean Harris-Evans' 1963 Cadillac
                               Eldorado Convertible

Viator & Janet Trudeau's 1968 Cadillac Eldorado

    Viator & Janet Trudeau's 1974 Eldorado convertible

                Barbara Smith's 1980 Cadillac Seville

                   Barbara Smith's 1984 Cadillac Seville
              Art & Jo Ann Midgette's 1984 Cadillac Seville


                   Michael Rankin's 1981 Cadillac Seville
                John Strachan's 1987 Cadillac Deville

           Jim Womble's 1991 Cadillac Sedan Deville

                        Jim Womble's 1951 Cadillac

James & Pam Gregg's 1996 Cadillac Deville Concours

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