1930’s in America were like no other time in automotive history. There was no limit on grandeur, if money could buy it, it would be thought of, and if it could be thought of it was most likely being done so at the Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg Company in Auburn, IN. Perhaps one of the most opulent cars of the Era, the Cord L-29 was not only lavish, but also ground breaking in many ways. Cord has long been known in period and today for the well known engineering standards of the time. The L-29 featured front wheel drive and to accommodate, many things were changed throughout the L-29 to make it a success and indeed unique amongst its contemporaries. Like most cars of the period the Cord L-29 was offered in many different body styles per customer request. As such we a left with many magnificent automobiles derived from imaginative, no-limits designs from this bygone era. The Cord L-29 today is coveted as one of the all time greats and is easily a CCCA Full Classic today. L-29’s of many different variants can be found in countless multi-million dollar collections throughout the globe, and are almost always welcome to any concours or tour. They were highly important cars of the era, and tod
When the Auburn Automobile Company was facing an ever growing well of red ink in 1924, they realized they needed to make a drastic maneuver in order to move a glut of unsold inventory if they had any hopes of saving the firm. Auburns were quality cars, but they were also staid and somewhat boring in the face of their competition. The board at Auburn hired a hotshot young salesman; E.L. Cord with the task of turning around their fortunes. Cord was an Auburn distributor and entrepreneur and his solution to unsold stock was as genius as it was simple. A natural showman, he simply repainted the bland Auburns in bright new colors and marketed them in retail spaces around the country. His elegant plan saved the company and as a reward, he was offered a place in management. But Cord’s ambition was much higher, and rather than accept the job, he decided full control over the company was a better deal. By1928, he was in complete control of Auburn and had begun to amass an impressive manufacturing empire that included eventually Auburn, Lycoming Engines, Checker Cab, Duesenberg, Stinson Aircraft and New York Shipbuilders, among others. Having re-invented Auburn as a leader in stylish and quality automobiles, Cord decided to add a car worthy of his own name – one that would compete with the likes of Lincoln, Packard and Stutz. In typical E.L. Cord fashion, he eschewed tradition and specified a car that was both innovative and beautiful. The L-29, as it became known, was a sleek and gloriously low slung machine, thanks to its front wheel drive and a De Dion front axle arrangement which allowed the body to be mounted very low on the chassis. The project was spearheaded by an ex-Miller engineer who had vast experience with front-drive. The L-29 shared the 301 cubic inch Lycoming straight eight with Auburn, but with engine and three-speed transmission turned 180 degrees. The forward mounted transmission meant no tunnel was needed, and the body could be mounted low in the chassis, with a flat floor for additional passenger comfort. Performance was adequate, and thanks to the low center of gravity, handling was quite impressive. Designers took full advantage of the low body height, gracing the L-29 with an array of fabulously rakish bodies. Only 4,400 L-29s were sold between 1929 and 1932, and it remains a highly collectible icon of the Classic Era. This truly stunning 1931 L-29 Cabriolet wears a recent and extremely high-quality restoration and remains in fresh, show quality condition. The known history of this wonderful car begins in 1946 when it was purchased for a mere $750 by a Mr. Huffey of Cincinnati, Ohio. Several short term owners followed until 1953 when it was purchased by Jerry Fisher, also of Ohio. It remained with Fisher for some time until reappearing in 1969 when Hubert Wood of South Charleston, Ohio acquired it and performed an amateur-level restoration, as was quite common for the time. A new owner was found in 1980, which proceeded to drive the car to his private museum in the western United States. In 2013, the car was purchased by its last owner, and a full and comprehensive restoration was undertaken. The Cord was completely disassembled and every component carefully stripped with preservation of original parts a priority. The chassis, springs and axles were stripped and painted or powder coated. The body was carefully restored using as much of the original sheet metal as possible, with the structural wood work being replaced as needed. A striking color combination was chosen with deep maroon main body and fenders accented by black stripes and black painted wire wheels. The wheels are wrapped in blackwall tires (including the dual sidemount spares) lending the car a magnificently sporty and aggressive look. The paint quality is gorgeous, with very high quality metal work and a deep beautiful gloss. The chrome trim was similarly restored to a show-quality standard and has been expertly refitted. The cabriolet body style features a two-seat cockpit up front, with room for two occasional passengers in the rumble seat. As part of the restoration, new black leather was fitted to the seats and door cards using original works patterns. The leather is piped in dark red to complement the exterior with dramatic effect. Rear passengers are treated to the same high-quality upholstery in the rumble seat. L-29s have a magnificent dash design, with beautifully ornate panels inset into the fascia and a distinctive shift lever sprouting from the dash. This car had the instruments and dash panel fully restored to the same high level as the exterior with exquisitely detailed switchgear, textured panels and intricate dials. A new black canvas top, subtly stitched in red, has been fitted to a renewed top frame with new wooden bows and restored metal components. The big Lycoming inline eight-cylinder engine was fully rebuilt with new Babbit bearings, as well as new pistons, rings and shell bearings. It also received a new camshaft and the crankshaft was polished and balanced while the cylinder block was bored, honed and the head planed. The resulting engine is strong and exceptionally smooth, supported by freshly rebuilt cooling and charging systems. Concurrently, the transmission was carefully cleaned, inspected, resealed and re-installed with a new clutch and pressure plate. Upon reassembly, the engine assembly was correctly painted and beautifully detailed with newly plated hardware and correct fittings and wiring. A truly stunning automobile, this L-29 Cabriolet is one of the most desirable of the breed. This example still wears its original engine, original body as well as original body number and serial number tags. An unrestored original trunk rack is also included. This extremely high quality restoration done in fabulous colors makes this breathtaking Cord a very worthy candidate for show at virtually any important event.
At first glance, the Cord 810/812 may not seem like a car born of the Great Depression. But during those anxious years, high end manufacturers were struggling to sell extravagant machines, as even the most wealthy of buyers shied away from flaunting their status quite as openly in public. Many manufacturers resorted to developing lower priced models to make up sales. Packard developed the Junior series, Lincoln added the Zephyr line and GM introduced LaSalle to fit between Buick and Cadillac. Even Duesenberg wasn’t immune to the pressure and work was begun on a “baby” Duesenberg that could help pick up sagging sales. Partially through its development, the baby Duesenberg idea was dropped, as it was thought it could tarnish the illustrious brand. But E.L. Cord, the man in charge of Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg, saw great potential in the design and pressed forward to produce it as an all-new model for his revived Cord brand. The Cord L-29 had been out of production for some time, and E.L. saw this as an opportunity to revive the brand that bore his name. Development of the new car forged ahead and the Cord 810/812 was realized by 1936. In spite of its “entry level” roots, technical boundaries were pushed to the limits. Drawing inspiration from the innovative Citroen Traction Avant, Cord designer Gordon Buehrig gave the 810 a semi-monocoque chassis, and it was the first American car with both front wheel drive and independent front suspension. Motivation was courtesy of a Lycoming V8 engine (Lycoming being part of E.L. Cord’s industrial empire) and a solenoid actuated pre-selector transmission. Of course the most distinguishing feature of the 810/812 was its Gordon Buehrig-penned bodywork. The front end featured curvaceous fenders with hidden headlights – a first for any production car. Rather than a traditional radiator shell, the Cord’s radiator was hidden behind a sleek and unorthodox wraparound grille and a uniquely shaped hood, which earned it the nickname “Coffin Nose”. Fully extended doors, no running boards and a sleek, minimally adorned body gave the 810 its distinct appearance. Nearly 80 years later, the Cord 810/812 is still considered to be one of the greatest American car designs in history. As the 810 evolved into the 812 for 1937, some models gained a supercharger, while others remained naturally aspirated. Several body styles were available, from four-door sedans to the open-air phaeton. In fact, several four door versions were available with different designations depending on wheelbase, equipment and body fitments. At the “entry level” lay the Westchester, followed by the Beverly, Custom Beverly and range-topping Berline, the latter two riding on an extended wheelbase. The most distinguishing feature between the Westchester and Beverly was the addition of a “bustle” trunk on the on the Beverly. It also offered more luxurious trappings inside, with additional trim and equipment. The Beverly rode on a 125” wheelbase and shared the same 288 cubic inch Lycoming V8 and sophisticated preselect transmission with the rest of the model range. This fine 1937 Cord 812 Beverly Sedan is an attractive, usable example of one of the most iconic American automobiles of all time. Coming out of recent long-term ownership, it wears an older restoration that has been well-maintained and presents in very good order, showing some light patina in areas, remaining mechanically and cosmetically very sound. It is finished in Palm Beach Tan, with very good paintwork applied over straight and properly aligned panels with excellent, consistent gaps. During a time when cars were defined by their prominent chrome radiator shells and trim, Gordon Buehrig eschewed the flash in favor of a subtle, measured design with limited chrome adornment. That said, bumpers, wheel covers and door handles provided some subtle flash, all of which appear in very good order on this example. The bumpers, wearing original overriders, are straight and tidy with good quality plating and detail. A pair of period-correct Cord fog lamps is fitted to the front apron and the original polished stone guards remain in good order on the rear fenders. The interior presents in very good order, again, well detailed and tidy though showing some patina from use since the restoration was completed. Plum-colored upholstery piped in off white complements the Palm Beach Tan body color quite well. The seats, door panels and headlining remain in very good condition with quality trim accented with very good chrome fittings and hardware. Cord’s signature instrument panel is beautifully presented with its aeronautic-style engine-turned fascia and an array of dials keeping the driver informed of underhood matters. A very cool period Motorola heater is fitted, presumably from new. The 288 cubic inch Lycoming V8 engine and undercarriage are tidy, appearing sorted and well-maintained. The specification and condition of this 812 Beverly should lend it very well to touring, and thanks to the Cord 810/812’s recognition as a CCCA Full Classic, it is eligible for CARavan touring and is well suited to regular enjoyment. The Cord 812 is an icon of American design and this is a good quality, usable example that has benefitted from long term ownership and care.
In the mid-1920s, Auburn Automobile Company was struggling with poor sales and a humdrum product offering. They enlisted the help of entrepreneur and successful Auburn salesman E.L. Cord to help bail them out of trouble. Auburn was stuck with a large amount of unsold inventory, and their cars were considered boring by the general public. E.L. Cord came up with a simple but effective plan of repainting the unsold cars in bright colors to help gain attention. To the surprise of many, his plan worked incredibly well. As a result of his success, he was offered a position within the company. But Cord was an extremely ambitious and aggressive business man, and a job within the company simply wasn’t enough for him. By 1928 he was in complete control of Auburn, having saved it from certain bankruptcy. At that time he was also well on his way to building a massive manufacturing empire that included Auburn, Lycoming Engines, Checker Cab, Duesenberg, Stinson Aircraft and New York Shipbuilders, among others. Having re-energized Auburn as a successful car builder, he decided to build a car with his own name on it – one that would compete with the likes of Lincoln, Packard and Stutz for luxury car honors. In typical E.L. Cord fashion, he eschewed tradition and specified a car that was as innovative as it was beautiful. In 1929 the L-29 appeared as a sleek, attractive and impossibly low slung machine with front wheel drive and a De Dion front axle, designed by an ex-Miller Indy Car engineer who spearheaded the project. The L-29 was significant as it was the very first front wheel drive American car, beating the lesser known Ruxton to the market by a few months. The L-29 shared the 301 cubic inch Lycoming straight eight with Auburn, but with the engine reversed in the chassis, driving through a three-speed transmission at the front. Performance was adequate, and thanks to the low center of gravity, handling was impressive. The L-29 was available with various factory bodies, though many were custom bodied by some of the finest coachbuilders of the time. Only 5,014 L29s were built between 1929 and 1932, as the Great Depression took hold and luxury automobiles suffered the consequences. This lovely Cord L-29 Convertible Sedan is presented in a striking combination of cream with medium blue accents with a fabulous effect. The older restoration still presents very well with good quality paintwork, nice detailing and finish work. The paint shows very well, revealing only minor signs of use, still remaining in fine enough order to show. Blue accents are particularly endearing, featuring as flashes on the body swage lines, running boards and chassis. The famous low-slung lines of the L-29 are further enhanced by the gorgeous chrome wire wheels with blue accented wheel rims. Dual side mount spares are fitted with mirrors and the chrome bumpers and exterior brightwork all present in very fine condition. A period trunk in good condition sits on the trunk rack, wearing a tan canvas cover that matches the convertible top. The tan top remains in very good condition, with the frame in good order and working well. The interior is trimmed in lovely tan leather and it is in very good condition, with only some light patina from use since the restoration was completed. L-29s have a glorious art-deco dash design, and this example has been recently freshened to enhance the cosmetics. Original instrumentation and steering wheel are in very good condition. The 301 cubic inch Lycoming inline-eight cylinder engine is the same as an Auburn 8-32, though cleverly turned 180 degrees for installation in the front drive L-29. It is nicely detailed and has been recently treated to a thorough cleaning. Correct wiring, fittings and clamps point to a very high quality restoration and care since completion. With its magnificent lines and ground breaking front-drive layout, the Cord L-29 remains one of the most desirable classics of all time. It is of course welcome at virtually any CCCA, AACA or similar road event. The high quality restoration has been very well maintained and the car remains very much in showable condition. Fabulous colors and detailing just add to the appeal of this handsome and highly desirable Cord L-29.
(SOLD) This very rare and original Cord Phaeton convertible has a lovely air of patina throughout. It has resided in a museum collection for many years and is eligible to become part of the ACD Club. It has had a recent service, and is being made road worthy currently. This Cord is a very solid, and presentable car as it stands. It comes with the sleek sensational coffin-nose styling, a 4-speed electrically-selected semi-automatic transmission, cranks below dash for raising headlights, fog lights, chromed stone guards on rear fenders, chromed full wheel covers with wide whitewall tires and an engine-turned instrument panel with 120 MPH speedometer, fuel, temperature, oil, amp gauges, tach and clock. The Phaeton was originally conceived by Duesenberg president Harold T. Ames as a new baby Duesenberg. This would be a great car for someone who is looking to add a very sought after Cord to their collection. It can be kept as is with the originality preserved, or restored to its former showroom days and made a great show contender.