1931 Cord L-29 CabrioletSOLD
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Estimate: $200,000-$250,000 US

Offered Without Reserve

AUCTION RESULTS: Lot was Sold at a price of $231,000

125bhp, 299 cu. in. inline eight-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, live axle front suspension with dual parallel quarter-elliptical leaf springs, live axle rear suspension with semi-elliptical leaf springs, four-wheel hydraulically-actuated drum brakes mounted inboard at the front. Wheelbase: 137 5/8"

Having rescued Auburn and given Fred Duesenberg instructions to build the world’s best automobile, Errett Lobban Cord looked for a medium-priced car to fill out the product line of the automobile empire he was building. He couldn’t find one to buy so he set his engineers to work creating one. It was assigned the internal project designation “L-29”.

Never one to overlook an opportunity to make a splash, Cord proposed that the new line adopt front wheel drive, then enjoying tremendous success in Harry Miller’s racing cars. Cord contacted Miller and agreed to buy the rights to his front drive system. It was refined for production by Cornelius Van Ranst, Leon Duray and Tommy Milton.

The Cord Front Drive was a breakthrough when it was announced in 1929, with production beginning in June. Its front wheel drive layout conferred several advantages, most particularly the low chassis, which the absence of the conventional rear wheel drive mechanism permitted, and the long hood necessitated by the length of the combined engine-clutch-transmission-differential front wheel drive package. Al Leamy and his design staff took full advantage of the Front Drive’s layout and created some of the most attractive and sporting automobiles of the early thirties on the Front Drive chassis. These were exceptional automobiles that caught the imagination of celebrities and the public alike.

The Cord Front Drive hit the market in mid-1929. Hopes were high and, aside from the expected teething problems with the Front Drive’s revolutionary drivetrain, the new Cord automobile was received enthusiastically.

All that changed on Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929.

Over the next several months, prospects for the economy’s recovery evaporated and along with them the market for medium-priced, high performance automobiles. Cord was especially hard hit. New on the market, with no reputation upon which to fall back and challenged by a drivetrain that was a radical departure from accepted practice, the Cord Front Drive struggled to gain the recognition that its specifications and aggressive pricing deserved.

Only 5,010 Cord L-29 Front Drives were built between 1929 and 1932. The example presented here, a Cabriolet from 1930, is one of the few lucky survivors. However, its luck does not end there. Mr. McMullen acquired this car approximately 10 years ago from a collector in California who had treated the L-29 to a high quality ground up restoration.

The Wood Lite headlamps, gleaming brightwork and grand stature provide this Cord with a road presence rarely seen today. Just as impressive on this example is the nicely detailed 125bhp, 298.6 cu. in. L-head, Lycoming eight-cylinder engine. The attention to detail and finish does not stop there, as the chassis continues the theme of presentable mechanical and cosmetic condition.

The dual sidemount spares in their hard cases and chrome wire wheels complement the Cord's elegant blue paintwork perfectly. Additional accessories include Wood Lite cowl lights, wide whitewall tires and sidemount spare mirrors, as well as the desirable rear mounted trunk.

Although there exists some evidence of road use, visible primarily on the underside of the car, this does little to detract from the Cord’s stunning overall appearance. It is believed that this example has never been shown and with just a little preparation, the L-29 Cabriolet could fare well on the show field.

In 1930, only 1,873 Cords were built. They were exclusive then and much more so today. E. L. Cord noted in 1929, “The Cord is a specialty car, different from others”, which is a statement that certainly remains true.

Please note that this vehicle is a 1930 however, it was first registered in 1931. Therefore it is titled as a 1931.

Reference Number 8666

as of 4/17/2007

Car 1931 Cord L-29 Cabriolet
VIN FD2927175 
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