Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Phoenix, Arizona | January 19-20, 2017
Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
1929 was a great year of E.L. Cord – well, at least the start of it. His Cord Corporation owned the Auburn, Cord, and Duesenberg marques. And he took them all upmarket, selling some of the nicest automobiles America had yet known. But then the economy tanked and his little empire fizzled out.
The first Cord-branded automobile was the front-wheel drive L-29, the first mass-produced front-wheel drive passenger automobile sold in the U.S. They were powered by a 125 horsepower 5.3-liter straight-eight from an Auburn. It was definitely underpowered, seeing as it’s sister marque, Duesenberg, was using a 265 horsepower engine for their car. What it lacked for in speed (top end was about 80 mph), it made up for in gorgeous looks. The Cabriolet (in this color at that) is the best-lookingfactory L-29 variant. The only thing that could make it better would be the addition of those skinny Woodlite headlights.
Only about 20 L-29 Cabriolets were built out of a total L-29 production run of around 4,400 cars and this is thought to be the last Cabriolet built, as the L-29 was only in production between 1929 and 1932. This example was restored years ago, but it still looks nice and has been with its current owner in Arizona for the last 15 years. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.
1929 Cord L-29 Special Coupe by The Hayes Body Corporation
Offered by RM Auctions | Amelia Island, Florida | March 10, 2012
Simply the most beautiful L-29 I have ever seen – LaGrande Speedster included. The body was designed by Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky and built by the Hayes Body Corporation of Grand Rapids, Michigan. I’ve been sitting here staring at the car for some time and I think it all comes down to the windows. They have an almost teardrop shape to them.
Revolutionary in design, the Cord L-29 made front-wheel drive a viable option for stylish, low-slung cars. They were the first to offer such a configuration and they did it with style. Unfortunately, performance couldn’t quite match the looks that went with it. The L-29 had a 4.9 liter inline eight-cylinder engine making only 125 horsepower – which, compared to most common automobiles of the time this was a lot (the Ford Model T had gone out of production two years earlier with a 20 horsepower engine). But for cars in its price range, it was lacking – especially since it weighed almost 2.5 tons and was only capable of a little more than 75 mph.
But that’s no matter, because in 2012 you aren’t buying a Cord L-29 to set land speed records. You’re buying them for their indelible sense of style and what they represent – the flair of the last days of a bygone era. The Roaring Twenties were crashing to a halt and E.L. Cord was introducing new lines of fabulous automobiles that only a select few could afford. It was a losing proposition but he hung in there as long as he could and this is the fantastic result of his passion.
This car cost about $20,000 to build in 1929. Upon completion, it toured Europe and won awards. In 1941 it was acquired by famed designer Brooks Stevens (for the outrageous sum of $1). It was restored under Stevens cars in the 1980s and was sold in the early 1990s and passed hands once again about four years ago. There is only one of these and it has known ownership history from new. Don’t miss your chance.
Cord L-29s are always pretty, but this one takes it to another level. RM did not publish an estimate for this car, so look for it to bring a sizable chunk of change. For the complete catalog description click here and to see more of what RM has waiting to be sold at Amelia Island, click here.