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1951 General Motors LeSabre

1951 General Motors LeSabre Gadgets

Even today, the 1951 General Motors LeSabre's gadgets seem ahead of their time. Under the dashboard cowling stands the cruise control switch. This has a knurled wheel that lets you select a cruising speed by bringing up a printed number. The speedometer reads up to 150 mph, and the tachometer redlines at 7000 rpm -- quite high for a postwar V-8.

Switches for the built-in jacks have warning lights that tell which jacks are extended and when. To the right of the steering-column gauge cluster are three hanging switches for the power top, headlights, and wiper/washer. The headlight switch has three positions for parking lamps and headlights. The dimmer switch is a conventional toe button on the floor.

Ahead of the rain sensor that can automatically raise the top, and embedded in the console itself lies a St. Christopher medal. Harley Earl had such medals, dedicated to the traditional patron of travelers, in all his cars.

Also on the console are the two switches that let each passenger control the temperature of his seat warmer. The radio stands ahead of those switches. Oddly enough, there's no face or readout for the radio; the driver tunes to desired stations by ear and locks them in with pushbuttons. The console clock is 24-hour.

Above the emergency brake stands a large central altimeter that is adjustable. Above that is the odometer. Left of the altimeter are gauges for methanol and gasoline levels. To the right of the altimeter stand a manifold-pressure gauge for the supercharger and fuel-pressure dials for the gasoline and alcohol lines.

Behind and between the seats, up high, is an emblem that's a miniature of the headlamp grille at the front of the car. There's another hydraulic-pressure gauge and a battery on/off master switch in the trunk, behind the seat.

The trunk contains large baffles along the right and left sides, with the spare in between and a giant battery behind the seats. There's a voltage meter to the right of the battery that tells battery condition and a master on/off switch so that all power can be cut while the car's in storage.

There's also a series of relays for the power top, and these are vented to keep them cool. The trunklid has a hydraulic prop somewhat like a shock absorber.

To open the hood, the driver releases two mechanisms on the right and left sides at the front, beneath the bumper. For the trunk, there are two pushpins below the bumper.

Detailed specifications for the 1951 General Motors LeSabre -- including vital facts on its construction, engine, transmission, suspension, and more -- are next.

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