1930 Cord L-29 BroughamSOLD

1930 Cord L-29 Brougham

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Pioneering front-wheel-drive American car
Handsome Brougham body
Superb-quality restoration
Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic
ACD Club certified Category 1

Errett Lobban Cord was the savior of the Auburn Automobile Company and the patron of Duesenberg. Were those the totality of his accomplishments, we’d probably remember him, but he was not one to be content with saving other people’s bacon. His long-standing ambition was a car to bear his own name. In August 1929 he realized his dream with the announcement of the Cord L-29.

Entering the automobile business after graduating from high school in Los Angeles, Errett Cord operated a number of garages and built race cars that he drove on West Coast dirt tracks. By the early 1920s, he had moved to Chicago, where he became a top salesman for Moon cars. Having saved some money, he made a deal with the foundering Auburn Automobile Company of Auburn, Indiana.

Taking the job of general manager at Auburn in 1923, Cord obtained an agreement that if sales improved sufficiently, he could buy into the firm. He then spruced up the accumulated inventory of unsold Auburns with bright paint jobs and nickel trim and quickly sold them all. By 1926 Cord was president of the company and held a controlling interest. He readied new models and positioned Auburn as a performance car at a low price, which further enhanced sales. That year he acquired Duesenberg to serve as flagship of his growing empire.

With the top and the bottom of his automotive catalogues complete, Cord set out to define the middle, and define it he did. There was nothing ordinary about the Cord automobile. For architecture he chose an X-braced frame, and for propulsion he selected front-wheel drive. Chief engineer on the project was Cornelius Van Ranst, who had built a front-drive race car for the 1927 Indianapolis 500 with driver Tommy Milton. Van Ranst was assisted by Auburn chief engineer Herb Snow, with consultation from race car engineer Harry Miller and driver Leon Duray.

The engine was a straight eight from Lycoming, another of Cord’s companies, turned around in the chassis so the transmission was at the extreme front. For simplicity, the drum brakes were mounted to the inboard ends of the drive axles, and a long shift rod went up and over the engine, through the firewall, and into the dashboard. The car was long and low, and production body styles included a phaeton sedan, a sedan, a cabriolet, and the very handsome body on this car, a five-passenger brougham.

Acquired by the Merrick Auto Museum in 2004, it has a long succession of Auburn Cord Duesenberg certifications through at least five owners and several restorations. The original owners are said to be Frank and Pearl Mesta from 1930. Subsequently it has passed through the hands of a party named Danner, Bill McDuff (twice), and Odell Friar. Originally Emerald Green, after a comprehensive body-off restoration it is now painted in maroon with black fender accents and white pinstriping. The interior is upholstered in beautiful grey-and-burgundy wide-pleated buttoned mohair velvet broadcloth. Chromed wire wheels hold six Lester 7.00-18 wide whitewall tires; the dual side-mount spares have keyed locks.

A CCCA Full Classic of the first order, this Cord L29 is almost certainly the best example available today.To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/hf19.

Reference Number 582801

as of 10/13/2019

Overview
Car 1930 Cord L-29 Brougham
VIN 2927601 
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