Jump to content

1940 Lasalle woodie restoration pictures


Tom Boehm

Recommended Posts

Once again, beautiful work. I like the way the lift gate operates on your Lasalle, opposed to the way the lift gate on '41 thru '48 Ford's work. The release handles on the Ford's are on the tailgate, not on the lift gate. Every time you open and close the tailgate you fight the weather seal, as it needs to go over the gap between the tailgate and lift gate. I often said that it's a Ford engineering goof.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

Yes, I researched this car as much as possible. The sign says H.A. Schlereth and his address in St. Louis. Henry Adam Schlereth (1894-1979) was a horseshoer/farrier and the earliest previous owner of my Lasalle that I could identify. He owned the car from 194? - 1964/65. The picture above was taken by the next owner in 1965. He used the car to carry his equipment to the stables of his customers to shoe their horses. He also had a truck. I found horseshoe nails under the middle floor when I took it apart. Gussie Busch of Anheuser -Busch was one of his customers. Schlereth used to make and "install" horseshoes on the Budweiser Clydesdales. 

 

After all that, I am still not sure if he was the one who had the car custom built into a woodie in 1940 or if he was the second owner. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tracked down the pictures first and then researched about the farrier owner Schlereth from the sign on the door in the picture. 

 

Both front doors were missing when I acquired the car. Two owners before me lost the front doors. I have the back doors and I studied the other 1940 Lasalle woodie when it was in Detroit. After procrastinating for two years I have started to build the front doors. The inside is flat but there are curves on the outside. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The front door makes the transition from the curves of the cowl to the box of the body. The front post of the front door is curved up and down. The outside edge (the face) of the lower and middle horizontals are curved to make the transition . The panels are actually flat. The entire wood body gets lower and narrower in the space the front doors occupy. Even though designing and fabricating these front doors is not easy for me, the design of the whole wood body is relatively simple and boxy compared to some other woodies. 

 

Whoever designed this unique woodie knew what they were doing. Even though the construction is more straightforward than some mass produced woodies, there are gentle curves in the right place to make it look less boxy. The body design is very similar to the Hercules bodied 1940 Packard and 1940 Buick woodies. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

After procrastinating for two years I have started to make the front doors. The front doors were lost by a previous owner. I did get the back doors however. I have nothing to copy. I am sculpting something to fill a space. I am using the basic design of the back doors, looking at the old photos of my car, and looking at current photos of the other Lasalle woodie  in California. This is the second or third attempt I have made to make these doors. Each time I am using pine from Home Depot for the trials instead of wasting good ash. This time I worked out the profile on a sheet of 1/2" MDF and then screwed the individual pieces to that. The inside of the doors are flat and the MDF defined the inside surface, enabling me to visualize better the front post, the diagonal, and the top horizontal. All of these pieces are curved in two directions. I worked out all the details such as mortises for the hinges, mortises for tenons, where to put the joints between pieces and contours. I also made lots of full size drawings. My high school engineering drawing class has to be the most useful class I ever took, including college. I'm going to do this for the other side also. Then I have to reproduce it in ash with actual joinery. 

DSCN7520.JPG

DSCN7522.JPG

DSCN7523.JPG

DSCN7524.JPG

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

Finally some progress again! I want the seats to be ready when I finish the doors sometime this summer so I can drive the car. I took a break from the doors to prepare the wood seat frames for the upholsterer. This car had three seats originally. I have two original seats but the middle row was missing. I replaced the ends on the front and back seats as well as other minor repairs. (plugging some screw holes so new screws would hold tight.) I had to make the middle seat frame from scratch based on the dimensions and design of the other two. The middle seat is narrow to provide access to the third row. This seat is shown in the middle picture in bare ash and in the third picture finished with the sheet metal strips like the other two. (I used 87 flat head slotted wood screws in the middle seat.) The upholsterer will supply missing springs for the bottom of the front seat and the back and bottom of the middle seat. I made arrangements to deliver all three to the upholsterer next week. So I hope sometime this summer I will have doors and seats! 

DSCN7631.JPG

DSCN7628.JPG

DSCN7632.JPG

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

Beautiful work Tom, please keep us posted on your progress! Will the second and third row seats be removable like on Ford wagon's of that era?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes. The Meteor Motor Car Company custom made the body in 1940. They made a seat leg and floor socket design that allows the rear seats to be removed. I was able to reuse all that hardware. Some of the legs were missing and I had to make replacements. 

 

Also, Paul Rose of central Ohio is the upholsterer. 

Edited by Tom Boehm (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I got the 2 back doors with the car. The 2 front doors were missing. I was able to find window risers/crank mechanisms to match the back doors at swap meets. This car did not have vent windows on the front doors in the old pictures. The risers and locks in the existing door was GM hardware but not from a 1940 Lasalle. I did not know what GM car they were from so I had to go to swap meets to match them. I got those parts before I was on this forum. Someone here could have identified what GM car they came from. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, being that the car is so rare, nobody will know the difference. So now that you have the door fabricated as a mock up in pine, are you going to use a CNC to fab the parts in ash wood?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tom,

 

Your seats look kind of like those in the 1939 Wildanger Cadillac. That car, as I’m sure you know, was derived from a 4 door convertible and it looked to me like the seats were taken directly from the convertible. Many GM woodies had seats utilizing chrome plated tubing for framework. 
 

thomas

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

These are the final "prototypes" on each side. These are the  third version. Each time I made improvements. I made these of douglas fir 4x4 posts from Home Depot. Now to make them in ash. 46 woodie suggested using a CNC router to reproduce them the easy way. That is an attractive idea. Is it possible? How do I find access to such a machine? The upholsterer is cutting and sewing the leather and vinyl.

DSCN8762.JPG

DSCN8763.JPG

DSCN8764.JPG

DSCN8766.JPG

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I talked with a person who has experience using a 3 axis CNC router. I decided not to pursue that option for making pieces in ash. The machine needs instructions either in the form of a CAD drawing or a scan. A CAD drawing is not easy because of the angles and curves. I was told there is some trial and error involved in getting accurate instructions for the machine via a scan. Overall, using a CNC router seemed to involve as much or more time and hassle as making the parts by hand. 

Edited by Tom Boehm (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Tom, is there any way you could scan the door of the Zanardi 8 door Meteor wagon?  I could try to track him down in Los Gatos or Santa Cruz although I don’t know him. He is kind of prominent in the old car and real estate scene in Los Gatos.  Thomas

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for the offer but I don't think that would work. I'm pretty sure the front doors from that car would not fit that well on my car. It is because that car has had 2 major restorations and mine has had one. The cowls may have started the same but they are not the same now. A scan suggests reproducing something exactly. 

 

That being said, I have seriously considered contacting him and going out to California to look at how those doors are built. I would have to take the inner door panel off. I don't know if he would allow that. I think I have everything figured out but there are still some details I am not 100% certain will work in the end. I would need to see inside. Pictures of the outside would not be enough. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Doors look good! If it were me I would finish at least one of them completely before starting on the real ones. Latch, handle, regulator, glass pattern, wood panel, everything. A fully functional sample door will eliminate any surprises later on. You will know not only what you are going to do but also how you are going to do it.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have Hercules parts lists for 1940 Packard, 1941 Buick and 1942 Buick. They show the interior of the doors with parts identified. I can send you pictures of them if that would help. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Shootey, thank you for the offer but I did get the back doors with the car. One of them was 100% complete with lock, handles, glass, and crank mechanism. The back doors are rectangular and flat. The challenge is to translate a flat, rectangular back door to a trapezoidal front door. The joinery and window track are a challenge on the hinge vertical and the diagonal pieces. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

New Old Wood, I agree with your suggestion. There are some complicated rabbets that hold the inner and outer panels. I was practicing those on some of the reject pine pieces I made. I need to figure out the order in which I make the cuts. I also need to verify there is enough thickness of wood left to bolt the hinges to. I had to improvise some in adapting the design of the back doors to the front. 

 

I am very afraid of surprises in the end. That is why I am doing these trials in pine. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The upper half of your door is going to determine where the window track in the lower half has to go. It is an extention of it, it all has to be in one plane. Do you have regulators yet? If you end up with clearance issues with the hinges, a fixed wing window might be a solution. The pictures of the old car don't show one, but it was something of a custom body to begin with, I doubt anyone would cry foul.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, I have the regulators and the window track. I think I have everything worked out. One problem I discovered in the pine version was the window track would be on top of the top hinge bolts. I can drill new holes in the metal hinge and move the bolts over. 

 

It is interesting the top front door hinge is a 1940 Lasalle hinge that has been customized for this car. I have not figured out why some holes and welded extensions are there. Someday it would be interesting to compare my reverse engineered door to the other Lasalle woodie in California. How close did I come? I know there are already some differences in how I am doing it versus how the other one is made. Some differences are original to my car and some differences I did because I think it looks better. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...