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1927 Cadillac Series 314 Barn Find with Period Air Brake Conversion

1927 Cadillac Series 314 Four-Door Sports Sedan
1927 Cadillac Series 314 Four-Door Sports Sedan

Gunslinger, Hollywood Gun Coach, and YouTuber Joey Dillon has acquired an amazing barn find 1927 Cadillac Series 314 Four-Door Sports Sedan that features a period air brake conversion — and one heck of a story.

Joey learns the unique history of this amazing specimen from Lin Thomas of Fillmore, California who owned the car for some 50 years after purchasing it for a mere $500 in 1969 or ’70. Prior to acquiring the car himself, Lin tells how it had been stored in a shed in Seminole Hot Springs in the Santa Monica Mountains since the war in 1942.

About The Period Air Brake Conversion

Lin recollects the story of one Mr. Ward driving the car across the United States advertising the air brakes he’d developed because the OEM mechanical brakes at the time couldn’t keep up because cars had become so much faster and heavier. Mr. Ward eventually did a handshake deal with a once coworker at a Chinese Laundry and old friend, one Walter P. Chrysler who offered a buck per wheel royalty for every car that orders the air brakes. With the war and the advent of juice brakes, the deal fell apart and the car ended up in storage.

Lin also tells the story of how he found the car in the first place, and what it took to actually get it. This is an amazing story…

The “Barn Find Air Brake Cadillac” ~ Part 2

In part two of this series, we explore when and where the Cadillac was purchased — found the original sales receipt — the Don Lee connection, and we uncover and pull out a spare ’28 Cadillac chassis from the same barn!

History and New Tires ~ Part 3

Joey shares more of the history he’s learned about this old Cadillac. He then crafts a tool to facilitate mounting new wide white wall tires on the old girl…

Cleaning and Polishing ~ Part 4

Joey and his son suit up and clean and polish this barn find Cadillac inside and out and make a few discoveries along the way!

Before and After

The Period Air Brake System Explained ~ Part 5

Joey finally explores and maps out all of the air brake components created and cobbled together by Mr. Ward in the ’30’s. He also compares this system to Westinghouse’s period automobile air brake system.

Stay Tuned…

Joey will explore the wonders of this Cadillac and will work to get it back on the road in upcoming chapters of this Cadillac’s life that will be posted here. This will be an exercise in preservation, not restoration…

Editor’s Note: The gentleman interviewed in this video, Mr. Lin Thomas, was my high school industrial arts teacher. I still feel as though I owe him something because what he and the other shop instructors at Fillmore High School taught me during my four years there has allowed me to make a solid living with my hands, building and fixing things my entire life using what was learned from them. It is very good to see you well at 80, Mr. Thomas.

About The Cadillac Series 314

The Cadillac Series 314 was built by Cadillac from August 1925 to the summer of 1927 as a successor of the precedent Type V-63.

Technically, the 314 was an improved version of its predecessor. Changes included new springs at the vehicle’s rear, the introduction of a radiator steering system (from spring 1926), the removal of rocker drives, and the replacement of a chain drive with a belt drive. The bodies were also revised. They were rather long and featured curved front fenders, front-hinged front doors, a revised grille, and a one-piece windshield.

The standard series (with a 132″ wheelbase) was not offered in any open models, but only six different closed two-door and four-door models. The custom series (with a 132″ or 145″ wheelbase) was available in a dozen of different variants, some of which were open models. Also, for the first time since 1919, special bodies could be ordered.

During the 1927 model year, the standard series was now available as a two-seater sports coupe and four-door sports sedan. In addition to the factory-bodied customs, some examples of such cars were built using bodies supplied by renowned coachbuilders, such as Fleetwood Metal Body, Brunn, and Willoughby.

The Series 314 was replaced by the Series 341 in September 1927, by which time a total of 50,619 specimens were produced.

About Joey Dillon

Joey Dillon is an armorer, gun trainer, gunfight choreographer, and property assistant. He has won three World Championships in the art of Trick Western Gun Handling as well as being proficient in the art of Quick Draw.

He has a wide knowledge of historical firearms beyond the modern weaponry he uses almost daily on many shows.

Beyond working with firearms he has spent time as a stage variety act performer, a historian, a technical advisor, an actor, prop fabricator, a vintage auto and motorcycle restorer, a musician, and a songwriter. More: