Here we have a very unique one off 1927 Cadillac 314 Suburban that was purchased used from Don Lee Cadillac in Los Angeles in 1930 by “Pop” Vern Ward, proprietor of the historic (now gone) “Seminole Hot Springs” destination in what is now Agora Hills, CA. He subsequently converted the mechanical brakes to an air brake system utilizing custom cast aluminum housings with shoes and air bladders within the drums, engine compression to charge the tanks, and a system of hoses and air valve to distribute pressure. It was supposedly driven around the country to show off the possibilities of air brakes over mechanical (before hydraulic), but was eventually parked for good and last ran in 1942. It was sold sometime after, then again in 1970 to the another gentleman who put it in his barn where it remained until I purchased it and pulled it out a couple years ago.
Since owning it I have documented the history of the car, cleaned it up considerably, and mapped out the air brake system for a series of 5 videos I have on you tube, see below.
It has rust through both running boards. The floors are good. There is some rust in the battery box area as well. The rest is surface rust and the body is aluminum. The passenger front door window is cracked. I have not tested rolling them up or down. The interior is original but not good. I cleaned it up as much as possible. Consider it a good template for re doing. The radiator cap mascot does not come with the car, and the 1970 blue plates the DMV gave my friend had when he bought the car (as seen in the video) aren’t available either. The left rear and front passenger door sag a little when opened but close fine with a little lift. The other doors are tight. The rail handle behind front seat is broken though I do have the part. The top canvas and headliner I removed as they were pretty bad. Some of the roof rails will need replacing. The spare tire area actually holds two tires, but both large lockable wing nuts that secure them at the bottom have the part that touches the rim broken off. I just have the one spare. The tires have 0 miles on them, I replaced them not too long ago, but they have started browning. Frustrating, but it does kind of go with the look of the car. I do not have keys for the car. The shifter is not locked luckily and does move in and out of gear. The engine turns over with the hand crank. The front extra accessory eye headlamp has some cracks in it’s housing, and the rod from it to the dash handle for it is missing. The air valve the brake pedal operates is stuck. The little handles on the steering wheel to operate lights etc are broken.
It comes with a fairly complete chassis that I was told was a ’28 Cadillac, should you want to return this to the stock mechanical brakes. Also comes with spare air brake parts, steering wheel switch rods, books, manuals, hub cap wrench, tire changing tool, a front bumper the last owner bought for it, etc. etc. etc. as seen in photos.
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Seller's other items: rocketshoes
Location: Frazier Park, California, United States