HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: Rear admiral’s 1939 LaSalle convertible

Pick of the Day: Rear admiral’s 1939 LaSalle convertible

Seller says car has been ‘meticulously loved and well-maintained’


The Standard Catalog of American Cars points out that LaSalle “was a commercial failure,” yet adds that the brand remains important to the history of American automobiles. 

Why? Because it was the LaSalle brand that led to the separation of General Motors styling staff, aka Art and Colour — yes, with the British spelling — from the engineering department and to the hiring of a young West Coast custom car designer, Harley Earl, who revolutionized the styling of GM vehicles and, as a result, that of all cars produced everywhere.

The Pick of the Day is a 1939 LaSalle Series 39-50 convertible being offered on ClassicCars.com by its private owner in Gainesville, Virginia.

LaSalle, Pick of the Day: Rear admiral’s 1939 LaSalle convertible, ClassicCars.com Journal

“This car is #144 of 1020 vehicles manufactured for the 1939 2-door convertible coupes,” the dealer reports, adding that 24 of those cars were shipped to Antwerp. Unfortunately, the seller doesn’t share the significance of those vehicles sent to Belgium, so we don’t know if this, perhaps, was one of those.

What we do know, however, is that the car was featured in a story in the Washington Times newspaper and that the previous owner was the late Laurence Hugh Frost, a 1926 graduate of the Naval Academy who was commander of the USS Greer, a destroyer during World War II, and who went on to serve as a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy and as director of the National Security Agency.

The car has been “meticulously loved and well-maintained,” the seller promises.

LaSalle, Pick of the Day: Rear admiral’s 1939 LaSalle convertible, ClassicCars.com Journal

The car has its original flathead V8 engine, with Edmonds high compression aluminum heads, and is linked to a column-shifted 3-speed manual gearbox. 

The car is black with a red-and-cream leather interior and has a Cadillac radio (LaSalle was a Cadillac sub brand). It also has fog lamps, a $14.50 option back in the 1930s. 

In 1939, LaSalles were equipped with a 322cid L-head V8 rated at 136 horsepower.

The car is offered for $65,000. To view this vehicle on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


  1. It is a nice looking period car but not that nice! It’s market value is probably about half the asking price. After all it isn’t a Packard.


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