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1940 Lasalle woodie restoration pictures


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I am restoring a 1940 Lasalle woodie. The woodie body was built on a 50 series Lasalle commercial chassis in 1940 by Meteor Motor Car Co. of Piqua Ohio. They are better known for building hearses and ambulances. The black and white photos were taken about 1965. The next three are when I got the car in June 1997. Previous owners stored it outside way too long. The last three were taken in December 2017. Tom Boehm    New Albany, Indiana. 

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My hat is off to you for taking on this huge project!  Great looking vehicle from the 1960s photos, and I'm looking forward to seeing your progress and the final product.

 

To pick a small nit, I believe that headlights in fenders indicate a Model 52 (new torpedo body) vs. the Model 50 (older vertical body with headlight pods off the grille surround.  Mechanically, they're all called '50' but virtually all the front sheetmetal is different from 50 to 52. 

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Hello Grimy, You are thinking of the 1939 series 50 Lasalle. That car has separate headlight pods on the side of the grill. Both the 50 and 52 series in 1940 have headlights sunk in the fenders. The difference is the body shell. 

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I have been working on the roof all spring and summer and I finished it today! 8 ribs and 31 slats all got 7 coats of varnish sanded between coats. 341 #8 x 5/8" wood screws hold the slats on. Next I want to install the linoleum on the middle and rear floors. Thanks for your interest,  Tom

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Thats a very good looking wagon. I think the longer chassis makes for a better result when your building a wagon.  Some just dont look quite right when their on a regular passenger car chassis. Very nice work!!!

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The longer wheelbase (135") allows the rear doors to be rectangular without the notch for the back wheel most woodies have. The longer wheelbase enables greater utility also. This car has three seats and a cargo area. It seems that all woodies sold by manufacturers in the showroom need to have the third seat removed to create a cargo area. 

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Hello n, The slats on my car were screwed on originally. I am using Pettit Captains varnish. I sampled many varnishes and I liked the color of this the best. It is not orange, amber or yellow. It is "golden brown". 

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Wow, if you had been on my ass all along I might have finished this car years ago! Seriously though, I appreciate your interest in my project. I am getting close to installing the linoleum on the floor. There are numerous small tasks that need to be completed before I can do that. I had to make an aluminum trim piece, install a bracket between the floor and the c post, (The bracket was countersunk flush with the surface of the floor), carefully bend an extruded aluminum "T"  molding around the hatch to the spare tire compartment in the floor, install latch hardware to the hatch, and install the original threshold pieces. I will have photos of the floor in a week or two. In the meantime, here are some photos of how I made a sample of the trim piece out of 18 gauge aluminum.  Also ng..... are you restoring a car?    Later edit... I looked up your threads on your '39 Pontiac. Take your time to become familiar with what you have (figure out what parts are there and what is missing and how they go together etc) I took three years to research history and become familiar with what I had before starting restoration. 

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Edited by Tom Boehm (see edit history)
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Hello look forward to watching your progress,I don’t believe a lot of people have the patience to do a woody,good thing that project found you,great quality work, keep it up,looking forward to watching your progress,     Dave

 

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On ‎10‎/‎28‎/‎2018 at 6:37 PM, Tom Boehm said:

Here is an update of my progress. I installed the linoleum on the floor and the aluminum trim around all the edges. I also finished the hatch to the spare tire compartment under the rear floor. 

 

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Did you fabricate/cast new aluminum pieces? Or did you build up and rework the original pieces?

 

Craig

Edited by 8E45E (see edit history)
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On ‎4‎/‎10‎/‎2019 at 7:30 PM, Tom Boehm said:

I used a router and a chisel to make insets for the hardware on the B posts. Now I can varnish and permanently install these posts. 

 

 

Beautiful work!

 

Hopefully one can appreciate the time it takes to get it right and all the effort that goes into it.  One who works with wood knows how time consuming it is to shape and contour a piece to fit, and then have to route and chisel provisions for the hardware to fit.  I only hope you have an understanding wife!!

 

Craig

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In June I drove my Lasalle across the river to Louisville for the Cadillac and Lasalle Club Grand National show. I live in the Louisville metro area in Indiana. It was the first time I drove the car outside of my subdivision. Everything went well and I had a blast.  I rigged up the tail lights temporary. Since my last posting I installed the B post and the mahogany quarter panels. The red seat is temporary also. 

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I am restoring the tailgate hardware now. I was lucky that most of the custom made/hand made body hardware was with the car. However it was all very rust pitted. I skimmed each piece with bondo and sanded it smooth. The piano hinges for the tailgate and back doors were rusted solid. I blasted them and soaked them in Evapo Rust for a month to get them loose. 

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Thank you for the nice complement from a pro. Only another woodworker would notice those things. 

 

Thinking ahead to when I drive the car, how do you prevent rain from leaking through the piano hinges on the liftgate and tailgate? I was thinking of putting a rubber weatherstrip between the leaves of the hinge that would be squeezed in the closed position. Everybody looks at me like "you're going to drive this in the rain?"

 

Also what about the sides of the tailgate and liftgate? That is why I kept the gap tight so it would help out whatever weather strip I come up with for the sides. 

 

The original tailgate and liftgate had a clever overlapping lip design to prevent rain from coming through the horizontal seam between them. I replicated that. 

 

The original doors were designed with weatherstripping in mind. I will replicate that. 

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Tom, I don't know if it's possible to completely weather proof a Woodie Station Wagon. When we drove our '46 Ford Wagon to California and back in 2010, the last three days from Cleveland to Long Island was in heavy rain. There are some areas around the tailgate and lift gate that don't have any weather seals and water gets in. Out of 33 day's on the road, with only three days of rain, I can't complain.

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Can you imagine the Ford workers at Iron Mountain slowing down the production line to match the woodgrain up to other pieces. Old Henry would flip out! I did read a rumor once, that when they came across "birds eye" or "curly maple" they set it aside for special order cars. 

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