There was only one original tail lite on the driver’s side of my 1928 Lasalle Five Passenger Coupe. It was the usual setup for most cars of that era. Below the single tail lite was the license plate holder which was lit up by a bulb in the bottom of the tail lite. The exact facts have escaped me but I did have the license plate holder and part of the curved bracket which was attached to the frame but no tail lite.

The tail lite lens is a piece of art in itself. When the brake lite petal is engaged, the La Salle script is shown. When people came over to see the car I invariably would show them the lit up lenses. Over the years I was able to acquire another tail lite which I wanted for the passenger side. With today’s traffic, I thought it would be a good idea. I was able to make the two opposing curves brackets and the mounting brackets to attach them to the frame.

In the days before the Internet, we had to rely on car trade magazines, word of mouth, letters, etc. and the US/Canada Postal Service to acquire needed parts.
I was able to acquire my second driver’s side tail lite without the license holder but with another beautiful lens. Each tail lite had to be disassembled, cleaned, soldered and prepared for plating. The second lite fixture was modified as the bottom clear lens would not be required for a license plate. I attached a curved piece of metal to close off the hole. Both tail lites were ready for chroming.

Next came the bracket mounts as well as the frame mounts. The original holes in the frame on the driver’s side indicated where the mount should be attached. Who ever took off the original mount did leave some serious grinding damage. From other Lasalles I was able to get an image of what the mount should look like. I was able to weld,grind and polish two mounts. These mounts would hold the curved brackets I was having made at the reliable machine shop I had used many times in Cochrane. Once they were bent into the opposing curve, I prepped them for plating with the lites and mounts. Off to the chroming shop they went. In the meantime I was able to get the 6 volt wiring in place and find a working frame mounted brake switch.

Once the chroming shop had completed its work and I had the parts on my work bench the fun began. I figured out how to attach the frame mount to the light bracket and feed the wiring up to where the light unit would be attach. The driver side tail lite housing bolted to the original bracket which held the license plate. On the passenger side I had cut out a piece of sheet metal formed it into a curved piece matching the one on the license plate bracket, drilled the three holes to match the tail lite unit then welded it to the curved bracket before getting it chromed with the other tail lite parts.

Let me tell you. The excitement never ends when all the parts were assembled and affixed to my Lasalle. The greatest care was ensuring that the two Lasalle scripted lenses were secure in the housing. At that time, I thought finding another tail lite lens would be near impossible to locate let alone afford to buy it. New lens gaskets had to be cut to ensure the glass would be secure in the tail lite unit. I had previously tested that the tail lites bulbs were working. Now it was time to have someone sit in the car and press down on the brake pedal in my darkened garage. Did those brake lites look great!

Years later my retired AC pilot friend and former Lasalle owner gave me some Lasalle parts including a tail lite. Wow, what generosity on Matt’s behalf and fortune for this Lasalle owner. Why you ask? I already had two working tail lites on the car. What interested me was the fact that Matt’s tail lite had a dark red lens which closely matched the lens on my driver side tail lite. The lens on the passenger side had a lighter orange tinge to it. I changed out the lens so that the tail lite lenses were nearly colour matched. Thank you Matt!

Everything seemed ok with the Lasalle tail lites. They looked good on the car and worked well. Then I visited Kurt the owner of an award winning 1932 Chev coupe restomod. He built a great car including those damn tail lites. Kurt had installed LEDs in those tail lites. The extra brilliance from the LEDs are great in today’s traffic in a vintage car. So I asked about the lights for my Lasalle. Thus the next stage in my car’s tail lites.

I took Matt’s tail lite unit down to Kurt to see if a LED fixture could be installed in the Lasalle tail lite. Soon he informed me that the LED could be made to fit and that he could adapt it for 6 volt power in my car. Let’s go for it. Kurt also suggested that the Lasalle lens script would stand out better if it was white. That lead to the next stage in enhancing those tail lites.

How should I make the Lasalle script in the glass tail lite lens white? One idea was to paint it. I tried some popper lacquer but it was too thin. So I went to the local arts and craft store where one of ladies had sufficient patience to look after this old man. I came home with an artsy paint brush and two types of white crafty type paint. I never even tried painting the lenses after talking to my buddy Kurt again.

He suggested I try white silicone. In my paint supply cupboard in the laundry room, I found a part tube of DAP, why not? It was trial and error on the first lens and the clean up around the script was horrible but finally it was a go. The second lens was much easier as I had learned to fill in the script and walk away. Cleaning the DAP off the lens was much less painful.

The next step will be up to Kurt.