by Leigh Dorrington
Note: The following story was excerpted from the April 2012 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine
Cadillac was due for a “quiet” year in 1929, considering the previous season had seen the arrival of all-new Series 341 cars. They came with attractive styling by Harley Earl, fresh off his success with the 1927 LaSalle; a new 90-bhp 341-cubic-inch version of Caddy’s established L-head V-8 engine; and a chassis with wheelbase stretched to 140 inches, a switch to torque-tube drive, and the adoption of 32-inch-diameter tires.
Those core features were indeed carried into 1929, but Cadillac was still able to make some noise in the automotive field—ironically by quieting things down. The marque introduced the “Synchro-Mesh” transmission, which made it easier to shift into second or third gear without a gratingly audible clash of metal. Other improvements for ’29 included internal-expanding brakes at all four wheels (external-contracting bands had been used previously at the rear), double-acting Delco shock absorbers, safety glass, and an adjustable front seat on most models. Fender-top parking lights replaced cowl lamps.
The 1929 Series 341B came in 11 “standard” models with Fisher bodies, plus another dozen “Fleetwood Custom” styles. Among the former was the “Town Sedan” featured here, a close-coupled five-passenger four-door model with a shortened body that made room at the back for a large detachable trunk.
Now owned by Tom Tkacz of Seymour, Connecticut, this Cadillac has had an interesting history since it was shipped to a distributor in Chicago on February 11, 1929. Sometime early in its life it was brought to Connecticut—where it was impounded by the Bridgeport police during the investigation of the 1932 kidnapping of aviator Charles Lindbergh’s infant son. A similar car had been reported near the scene of the crime in New Jersey, and this car fell under temporary suspicion.
In 1948, the car was rescued from a junkyard by Ray Jameson. Tkacz often helped Jameson maintain his automobile collection, which consisted mostly of Model T Fords, and he left the Cadillac to Tkacz, who undertook a thorough restoration. (One saving grace was that the car had been coated in gear oil in its prerestoration years to preserve the metal.) Since then, it has attained Antique Automobile Club of America Senior First and Premier awards. The car has been shown at Hershey and various Northeast concours, winning numerous first-place and best-of-show awards. The level of its accuracy is such that it was used extensively as a reference in compiling the Cadillac LaSalle Club’s authenticity manual. When photographed in late 2010, it had only 27,397 miles on the odometer.
The Cadillac is stunning in its original Pewter Pot, Blue Gray, and Black finish. But it is perhaps the interior details that are most alluring, including the ornate window regulators and door handles, rearview mirror, and dome light; ash receivers set into the door panels; robe rail; and assist straps. The crowning detail, however, is the original broadlace trim that was carefully preserved and returned to the door panels and seatback. When new, the Town Sedan was priced at $3495 to start. Options could add anywhere from $12.50 for the “herald” radiator ornament to $250 for dual sidemount spares and six Buffalo wire wheels. Other accessories include rear and side window shades, aftermarket vases, and a sealskin lap robe.
(Click below for enlarged images.)
1929 Cadillac Town Sedan Gallery
1929 Cadillac Town Sedan