The Percy Cowan, 'Rum-Runner',1929 LaSalle Convertible Coupe  Chassis no. 421186 Engine no. 421186

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Lot 468
The Percy Cowan, 'Rum-Runner', 1929 LaSalle Convertible Coupe
Chassis no. 421186 Engine no. 421186

US$ 65,000 - 75,000
£ 50,000 - 58,000
Amended
The Percy Cowan, 'Rum-Runner'
1929 LaSalle Convertible Coupe
Chassis no. 421186
Engine no. 421186
Introduced in 1927, the LaSalle was intended by General Motors to fill a perceived gap in the model range between Buick and Cadillac. Handsomely styled by Harley Earl, the LaSalle inspired General Motors to establish a separate division known as 'Art and Color' responsible for automotive styling, naturally with Earl at the helm. Built by Cadillac to the same high quality standards, the LaSalle employed an advanced 303cu in V-8 engine developing 75 horsepower, offering exceptional performance. For 1929, Cadillac offered further technical improvements on the LaSalle, introducing synchromesh on second and top gears along with safety glass. Mechanical changes included Duplex mechanical brakes, pressure lubrication on the piston pins and mid-year metric spark plugs were adopted.

Built on two wheelbase lengths (125 and 134 inches), the 1929 LaSalle was offered with a wide variety of bodywork, chiefly from Fisher although Fleetwood did produce some higher priced versions. On 1929 cars, all brightwork was chrome plated and the parking lights were moved to the fenders.

Designated as the 8580 Body style, that denotes this as the Fisher 2/4 passenger Convertible Coupe with rumble seat, which was built on the 134 inch wheelbase. According to the seller, legend has it that the car was originally purchased by Percy Cowan who lived in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada, it would have set him back the equivalent of U.S. $2,595. Percy bought the car brand new for one reason and that was not its styling.

What Percy needed was a car that was faster than anything that local law enforcement drove and the La Salle with its high performance V8 engine and light coachwork fit the bill nicely. The reason for Percy's requirement was that he was a rum runner who supplied parts of northern New York state and beyond with Canadian booze during the heights of prohibition. He regularly ran the border at Gananoque and other border crossings at the eastern end of Lake Ontario.

Percy finally gave up the car in 1937 selling it to an acquaintance, Mr Fielka of Ritson Road in Oshawa, Ontario. Fielka was another bootlegger but it is doubtful that he used the car for rum running as New York repealed prohibition in 1933 and the boot legging business gradually petered out as legal booze found its way to market.

Fielka owned the car until 1969 when it passed to Jim Statham, also of Oshawa Ontario. He owned the car until 1977 when Al Roeder of Newmarket Ontario purchased it. By the time Al bought it the old car needed to be completely restored and he started the process which he finished in the early 90s. The car was spectacular and boasted a full concours restoration, perfect in every detail.

Roeder sold it in 1995 to the William Allan Manford Collection where it was maintained well and shown very sparingly. In 1999 the car was sold to the present owner.

Footnotes

  • This vehicle is titled with its engine number.

Saleroom notices

  • This vehicle is titled with the engine number 421186 indicated on the identification plaque on the firewall. The number stamped on the chassis is 421208. And the number stamped on the engine is 415462.
Contacts
The Percy Cowan, 'Rum-Runner',1929 LaSalle Convertible Coupe  Chassis no. 421186 Engine no. 421186
The Percy Cowan, 'Rum-Runner',1929 LaSalle Convertible Coupe  Chassis no. 421186 Engine no. 421186
The Percy Cowan, 'Rum-Runner',1929 LaSalle Convertible Coupe  Chassis no. 421186 Engine no. 421186
The Percy Cowan, 'Rum-Runner',1929 LaSalle Convertible Coupe  Chassis no. 421186 Engine no. 421186
The Percy Cowan, 'Rum-Runner',1929 LaSalle Convertible Coupe  Chassis no. 421186 Engine no. 421186
The Percy Cowan, 'Rum-Runner',1929 LaSalle Convertible Coupe  Chassis no. 421186 Engine no. 421186
The Percy Cowan, 'Rum-Runner',1929 LaSalle Convertible Coupe  Chassis no. 421186 Engine no. 421186
The Percy Cowan, 'Rum-Runner',1929 LaSalle Convertible Coupe  Chassis no. 421186 Engine no. 421186
The Percy Cowan, 'Rum-Runner',1929 LaSalle Convertible Coupe  Chassis no. 421186 Engine no. 421186
The Percy Cowan, 'Rum-Runner',1929 LaSalle Convertible Coupe  Chassis no. 421186 Engine no. 421186
The Percy Cowan, 'Rum-Runner',1929 LaSalle Convertible Coupe  Chassis no. 421186 Engine no. 421186
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