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History Information on the history of La salle Transmission

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by hotrod_willie, Mar 17, 2021.

  1. hotrod_willie
    Joined: Mar 10, 2004
    Posts: 827


    I like find the history of La salle transmission in early hotrods. Which historic cars had La salle trans. Some pic of early adapter and the rod shops that did some of the conversion Thanks for the information. IMG_5766.JPG
    Paul likes this.
  2. 302GMC
    Joined: Dec 15, 2005
    Posts: 7,147

    from Idaho

    The Cadillac and LaSalle 3 speeds as we know them were built from '37 - '40 in LaSalle, Cadillac '37 - '53, and for 1 year in the '50 Olds V8 cars.
    The floor shift is '37 only.
    Today, all the above are called ''LaSalle'' by almost everyone.
    scotts52 likes this.
  3. Jellowe
    Joined: Jan 27, 2014
    Posts: 34


    I have a 37 caddy floor shift transmission in my garage. It is gigantic and the tail shaft is very long. I don’t see how this could bolt to a Ford flathead. Did they use the whole transmission with caddy tail?

    Attached Files:

  4. Bert Kollar
    Joined: Jan 10, 2007
    Posts: 1,108

    Bert Kollar

    In the day we put them and Packards behind Cad Olds and GMC because they were rugged
    stillrunners and jimmy six like this.

  5. Frank Carey
    Joined: Oct 15, 2009
    Posts: 548

    Frank Carey

    Back in the late 1950s I could never find a LaSalle for my sbc coupe. Hot Rod Magazine taught us how to use a Buick Roadmaster claiming it was just as good. No adapter to sbc needed. And Buick was torque tube. Easy to adapt. Did it myself with just a drill press. No machining needed.
    303racer and Bob Lowry like this.
  6. Paul
    Joined: Aug 29, 2002
    Posts: 15,741


    Always thought the chromed '37 looked good in the Grasshopper T

    Last edited: Mar 19, 2021
    302GMC, Lil'Alb, yard man and 3 others like this.
  7. 296ardun
    Joined: Feb 11, 2009
    Posts: 4,544


    I never ran a LaSalle trans, but some guys I knew who ran them at the drags complained that the gear ratios were not right for acceleration. I remember that Jim Cassady ran one in his street roadster, behind a blown Chrysler, and while the car could get speed records, it never e.t.-ed that well...Dean Lowe, who beat Jim, said it was Jim's LaSalle. A guy I pitted next to at San Gabriel told me that he was replacing his LaSalle with a '39 Ford box because he liked the ratios better.
    jnaki, kidcampbell71 and stillrunners like this.
  8. Frank Carey
    Joined: Oct 15, 2009
    Posts: 548

    Frank Carey

    Back in the 1950s a friend put a LaSalle behind a sbc in a Model-A. But he switched to a short tail from a stick Olds. Don't remember year of Olds.
  9. ^^^^^that would be a one year only '50 Olds tailshaft conversion. Paul did a tech on adding one to a Lasalle a while back.
    Paul likes this.
  10. A86B3AFA-9159-4661-9770-412AB13AC8AE.jpeg B579AA02-0E83-446A-85D2-C339B090E105.jpeg

    This is what they look like when adapted to Ford torque tube. The only difficult part is splining the output shaft. They are slightly longer than the Ford transmission, but not much.
    stillrunners, kadillackid and Paul like this.
  11. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 6,832




    When I first saw the 1940 Ford Sedan Delivery chugging into the Bixby Knolls drive-in restaurant parking lot in 1960, it was impressive. The look was first, as no one had a “sedan delivery” at the time. Then by the time we all were impressed with “the look,” we all heard the big motor idling as it pulled in front of the back row of hot rods and fast sedans of the time.

    The sedan delivery pulled out of the far exit driveway, the semi fast acceleration of the motor sound was pretty nice. Then within minutes, the sedan delivery pulled in the back row from the rear alley and now, we were all in for a treat.

    There were several other older hot rods in the lot, one was a Buick powered Ford 2 door sedan and it had a LaSalle floor stick shift in place. The other was a Model A Coupe with another SBC and floor shift LaSalle sticking up in the cab. So, now the latest 1940 Ford Sedan Delivery had a big 348 motor and a 37 LaSalle 3 speed stick shift floor lever sticking up in the air.

    The impressive thing was, the LaSalle transmission was the stick shift transmission of choice. They were in all of the local speed shops and the local scrap (junkyards) yards had plenty of them in stock. We knew of a pile of well used ones a few miles away on Terminal Island, near the Navy Base and the draw/lift bridge.

    For me, I bought the 40 Ford Sedan Delivery from the original owner. He would only sell it to me with a Flathead motor, but still kept the floor shift LaSalle transmission. He did a great job of both installs and transitions. He said the LaSalle transmission was the best for all applications and most 3 speed hot rods had them. So, now, I owned the Salmon Pink colored 40 Ford Sedan Delivery not with a 348 motor, but an 80 hp Flathead motor in front of the LaSalle transmission.


    I have to admit, once I started driving the Flathead powered sedan delivery, no trouble of any kind came from the LaSalle transmission. There were plenty teenage antics in the rain and muddy fields, as well as deep salt water and sandy locations all over the So Cal coastlines. That transmission was virtually bulletproof.

    My friend with the big Oldsmobile motor in his 1934 Ford Coupe did have spare LaSalle transmission parts in several containers in his garage, thanks to the short distance to the Terminal Island location to our houses. So, I knew if anything happened, parts would not be a problem.

    It might have something to do with the power being pushed through the driveline. My sedan delivery was underpowered with that Flathead. It almost did not make it up those steep incline grades on the Coast Highway during our long road trips South and North. But, my friend with the big Oldsmobile motor in the Ford 5 window Coupe had to pull out the transmissions for repairs due to his banging the gears during his power runs at Lion’s Dragstrip in the A/G Gas Class races.

    So, it could be said that an underpowered Flathead would not put as much strain on the LaSalle transmission versus a high powered, built up, Oldsmobile motor. Well, the results of no repairs/problems in my Flathead powered, Ford Sedan Delivery versus the bi-weekly repairs to the Oldsmobile powered 34 Ford Coupe should speak for its self.

    Jet96 likes this.

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