There’s something uniquely romantic about cars from film and television since many have become iconic in American culture. You can’t avoid hearing about General Lee, Herbie, or that cool Ferrari Testarossa from Miami Vice.
The History of the “LaSalle” Reference
A car brand from the 1930s, the LaSalle was honored in a single line of the theme song to the hit CBS television series “All in the Family” during the 1970s. Every Sunday night, Archie and Edith Bunker (Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton) sang ” All in the Family ” for viewers across the country. The song became synonymous with the show, and LaSalle became synonymous with the title. There was a minor change in the theme song for the final three seasons of the show. The line “Gee, our old LaSalle ran great” was difficult to interpret.
It produced more than 200,000 cars in its 13-year run, but it attracted a younger customer base. After debuting the first 303 coupe convertible on March 5th, 1927, GM and Cadillac took advantage of their shared parts and chassis. In its first year of production, GM produced over 26,000 LaSalles – making it one of the automaker’s most valuable products. However, they were barely able to keep up with demand.
There were five body styles and 11 models from LaSalle in the early days:
- A roadster
- A coupe
- A convertible coupe for two passengers
- Four-place phaeton, victoria
- Dual-cowl phaeton
- A five-passenger sedan
- A town sedan
- Two-place coupe
- A sedan
- Town cabriolet
- Transformable town cabriolet
They looked so well-rounded that some of them even became immortalized as “gangster cars” during the time. The LaSalle name is mentioned in the “All in the Family” theme song, and an actual 1932 LaSalle Model 345-B appeared in “The Godfather” directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
Discontinuation was its downfall
The LaSalle brand proved to be very successful. LaSalle was so successful that instead of eating into the sales of its main rival Packard, it began to cannibalize the sales of its parent brand, Cadillac. In the end, LaSalle cars were well-built, good-looking, and had incredible engines. With the threat of World War II looming over GM, the LaSalle brand was discontinued by the 1940s. However, its inclusion in the theme song (and its reference to reliability) symbolizes the brand’s strength and popularity.
In a nutshell
LaSalle is a brand that will live on forever in the hearts of many, particularly those who were fortunate enough to drive one. GM had plans to revive the LaSalle brand at one point. GM design chief Bill Mitchel said that the Riviera was designed as a La Salle, which is why it had two narrow grilles on the front fenders. Even more intriguing was the fact that the car was internally referred to as the LaSalle II. While nothing came of the reboot, “All in the Family” helped keep the brand’s name intact with its reference to the iconic brand, making it an outstanding ambassador for the classic franchise.