Engine:FWD Straight 8
Transmission:3 Speed Manual
The Cord L-29 was introduced in August 1929 as a 1929 model. It was the first production automobile with front-wheel drive and was made to fill the gap between the low-priced Auburn and the top-of-the-mark Duesenberg in the Cord Corporation line of cars. The Cord sedan and brougham were priced at $3,095 each, and the cabriolet and phaeton were $3,295.
The L-29 also was the first among American automobiles with the “X” braced frame, designed by Herbert C. Snow. Project engineer Cornelius W. Van Ranst designed the new front-wheel drive system around the units in the successful Indianapolis 500 racecars. Harry Miller and Indianapolis driver Leon Duray served as consultants on the project. Alan H. Leamy was the chief stylist. Cord claimed advantages in safety, easy handling, comfort, and durability. Plus, front-wheel drive provided a lower body silhouette, allowing a distinctive and pleasing front end appearance that appealed to coachbuilders.
The L-29 was available in four models: a Convertible Cabriolet with rumble seat, four-door convertible Phaeton Sedan, five-passenger Sedan, and the five-passenger Brougham. All four models sported a stylish cadet-type visor. The Cabriolet and the Phaeton Sedan stood only 58 inches high, some 12 inches lower than their competitors. They are known for their long, low, racy lines. Their narrow corner posts provided a clear field of vision. The V-shaped radiator grille would inspire a throng of imitators, most notably the 1931 Chrysler Imperial.
The L-29 regularly won prizes in the European Concours d’Elegance, which was quite an accomplishment for an American Manufacturer. A Cord L-29 Cabriolet was also the pace car for the 1930 Indianapolis 500 mile race.
Unfortunately, the Cord L-29, which was the first automobile to bear Errett Lobban Cord’s name, was introduced only two months before the stock market crash in October 1929. Although praised for its quality, sales didn’t reflect its popularity. The L-29 was built from 1929 – 1931 with only 5,010 units produced.
This very nicely restored Cabriolet was discovered in the late 50’s in Denver in the possession of an Army Captain who was growing tired of moving it every time he was transferred to a new post, so traded it to Tom Donohue’s Father for a Ford Model A Roadster Pickup, which was more useful to him. Tom and his father worked on the car which needed extensive work including new wood framing for over 2 decades before completing the car in the mid 80s’ and selling it on to ACD Club Member #8 Odell Friar, of Oklahoma. The car was purchased from Mr. Friar by the Seller roughly 11 years ago, and is a regular participant in the Annual Labor Day Meet in Auburn. The car is in excellent running and driving condition, features High Speed Gears and received a new Head Gasket in 2020. Finished in a striking Red/Maroon color scheme the car still presents very well cosmetically. This car is a proven Tour car, and needs nothing really to be enjoyed immediately. It is ACD Certified.
The L-29 Cord is arguably one of the most beautiful and pivotal designs of Classic Era not only in Appearance but in Engineering. Very few of these cars remain. This is a rare opportunity to get a turnkey example ready for action this Show and touring season.
This is Number 252 of 259, only 65 of which were Cabriolets.
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