1931 Cord L-29 news, pictures, specifications, and information
Phaeton Sedan
Chassis Num: 2930071
Engine Num: FF 4998
Sold for $156,750 at 2015 RM Sothebys.
The Cord L29 was the first production automobile with front-wheel drive. All models, open and closed, were built on a 137.5 inch wheelbase. The Lycoming straight-engine produced 125 horsepower.

Because of the front-wheel drive feature, the L29 Cord was much lower and sleeker than most cars of the day. It lasted from 1930 to 1932 during which 5,010 cars of all body styles were produced.

This 1931 L-29 Phaeton Sedan (Convertible 5-passenger Sedan) was has a known history since the 1950s, and was restored in the 1960s and was a CCCA winner in the late 1960s. It was later owned by Tom Lester's wife, Shirley, and then resided in Bobby Crump's Museum in New Orleans until the 1990s when the current owners purchased it. The car rides on a 137.5-inch wheelbase and weighs 4,500 pounds. It is powered by a 298.6 cubic-inch, in-line, 8-cylinder engine developing 125 horsepower. It was the most expensive Cord in 1931 and sold new for $3,295.

The car has just completed extensive 'refreshing.' The A.C.D. Club has certified this car as an authentic Cord and one of only 17 of this body style left in the U.S. as of March 31, 1993. It is the 4,771st L-29 built. It is a late 1931 production model and is equipped with the 'FF' engine, which was a bored-out 322 cubic-inch unit that was stronger than earlier version, and reportedly produced more horsepower, and came with a more efficient exhaust manifold.
Prototype Speedster
Coachwork: LaGrande
Chassis Num: 2927156
Engine Num: FD2687
Sold for $418,000 at 2007 RM Sothebys.
Sold for $290,800 at 2012 Bonhams.
Sold for $368,500 at 2012 RM Sothebys.
In 1930, Auburn Automobile Company president Roy Faulkner ordered Cord's in-house LaGrande coachbuilders to create an L-29 Speedster show car based on concept sketches provided by stylist Phillip O. Wright. The boat-tail speedster was sleek and moder  [Read More...]
By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2012
Sedan
The low-slung Cord L-29 featured styling courtesy of the legendary Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky, a young Russian nobleman who took up auto styling in the 1920s, winning five Grand Prix prizes at the Monte Carlo Concours d'Elegance. The L-29 Cord was h  [Read More...]
Rumble Seat Cabriolet
Manufactured by the Auburn Automobile Company, the L-29 was one of the first front-wheel drive cars and was considered the star of the 1929 model year. The car was also named in honor of the manufacturers Owner and President, E.L. Cord. Front-wheel  [Read More...]
Prototype Speedster
Coachwork: LaGrande
This 1931 Cord is an authentic recreation of the car that made its debut at the 1931 Paris Automobile Show. Paul Berns, the husband of screen actress Jean Harlow, purchased the original car off the Paris show floor. It was designed by 23-year old Phi  [Read More...]
By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2016
Rumble Seat Cabriolet
Chassis Num: 2930061
Sold for $341,000 at 2012 RM Sothebys.
This Cord L-29 cabriolet has spent most of its life in the Los Angeles area. Its earliest known owner was Eddie Brewer, a dialect coach at one of the Hollywood film studios. In the late 1940s, Brewer sold the car to Osro J. Smith, a charter member of  [Read More...]
Phaeton Sedan
This Cord L-29 Phaeton was imported back from Uruguay and completed a 20 year restoration in the late 1990s by a previous owner. The L-29 Cord was the first American front-wheel drive car launching just months of the Ruxton automobile in 1929. The dr  [Read More...]
Rumble Seat Cabriolet
Chassis Num: 2929040
Engine Num: FD3696A
Vin Num: F-117
Sold for $231,000 at 2013 RM Sothebys.
This Cord L-29 Cabriolet was built in July of 1930 and was a late 1930 model that remained unsold as the industry entered 1931. The chassis was re-numbered by the factory from 2928480 to the present 2929040, explaining the presence of both numbers of  [Read More...]
Rumble Seat Cabriolet
This 1931 Cord Rumble Seat Cabriolet has been driven 13,800 miles since new. This front-wheel drive vehicle has been well maintained since new. It has a rumble seat, white wall tires, dual side mounts, and chrome bumpers.  [Read More...]
By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2010
Rumble Seat Cabriolet
The Cord L-29's front-wheel drive system provided outstanding handling and tractability for its time, but the car was not a high performance machine: top speed was only 75 mph. As an attempt to solve that issue, later Cords such as this Cabriolet fea  [Read More...]
Rumble Seat Cabriolet
Chassis Num: 2929245
Engine Num: FD 4046
Sold for $280,000 at 2013 Bonhams.
There was just one two-door factory model cataloged in Cord's four-model L-29 lineup - the all-weather Cabriolet with rumble seat. This particular example is from the family of the late Reno physician Dr. William A. O'Brien III. Dr. O'Brien purchased  [Read More...]
By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2016
Rumble Seat Cabriolet
The current owners purchased this car in 1976, in what would be called 'in barn find' condition, from John Cowan in Danbury, Connecticut. He apparently purchased the car in 1953 from a dealer who in turn bought it from Elizabeth B. Ganung of Millerto  [Read More...]
Cabriolet
Coachwork: Limousine Body Mfg. Co.
There is no disputing the fact that the Cord front wheel drive automobiles of the 1920's are a true engineering and styling marvel. The powerful straight eight engine provides 125 horsepower, allowing performance that rivals its impressive styling.  [Read More...]
Cabriolet
Coachwork: Limousine Body Mfg. Co.
Chassis Num: 3916
Engine Num: FD 4023
Sold for $187,000 at 2017 RM Sothebys.
The Cord L-29 was the first major American production car with front-wheel drive. Due to its lack of having a driveshaft tunnel allowed for the bodies to be mounted low on the frame, resulting in a vehicle that was no taller than a person of average   [Read More...]
By Daniel Vaughan | May 2017
The Cord L-29 was revolutionary, using a front-wheel drive system rather than the popular rear-wheel drive configuration. Many believed that having the front wheels be responsible for turning, carrying the bulk of the weight, providing stopping power and for driving were too much. With the rear wheel drive systems, the weight could be dispersed throughout the body to take advantage of weight distributed. Cord wanted to be different and explore the possibilities of a front-wheel configuration.
Errett Lobban Cord was a visionary, promoter, young and intelligent individual when in 1924 he joined the Auburn Automobile Company which was under performing in respects to sales. Cord was able to revitalize sales and by 1926 he was in control of the company. He then began buying up companies such as Duesenberg Motor Company and Lycoming and brought them under the Cord Corporation.

With control of Duesenberg and Auburn automobiles, the Cord Corporation was positioned for success. What the company lacked was an automobile that could fill the price gap that existed between these two nameplates. The result was a luxury car named after himself, the Cord L-29. The Cord L-29 used a front-wheel drive system. Many people believe Cord used the front-wheel drive configuration because he wanted to exploit the advantages of a low-profile design. Rear-wheel-drive cars sat higher above their driveshafts because the engineers had not figured out how to let the shaft run through the passenger compartment.

Cornelius Van Ranst was tasked as the chief engineer for this unique automobile. John Oswald, a man responsible for many of the Auburn designs, contributed to the L-29. The result was dramatic styling that was attractive and elegant.

Under the hood lurked an 299 cubic-inch eight-cylinder Lycoming engine. The 125 horsepower engine could carry the 4600 pound vehicle to a top speed of just 77 mph, a respectable speed but not the fastest vehicle available.

Since it was a front-wheel drive system, the normal mechanical configuration needed rearrangement. The transmission and differential were in the front, ahead of the engine. The hood was very long, a result of having so many mechanical components in the front. The rear suspension used leaf springs and a beam axle while the front used a deDion type solid axle with quarter elliptic leaf springs.

As was the case in early years of automotive construction, custom coachbuilders were often tasked with providing the bodywork and designs. In 1930 an L-29 with styling courteous of Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky was bestowed with prestigious awards at the Monaco Concours d'Elegance.

Two months after the introduction of the Cord L-29 the stock market crashed and the Great Depression began. Just like many other manufacturers during this time, sales plummeted and production was low. To compete, Cord dropped prices in 1930 in an attempt to stimulate sales. For 1931 a large engine producing just over 130 horsepower was installed under the hood. Unfortunately, this was not enough and production ceased at the close of 1931.

During its production run lasting from 1929 through 1931, fewer than 5,000 total examples were created. In 1930 only 1,873 united were produced. Although production was halted in 1931, there were 157 L-29's dubbed as 1932 models.
By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2006
 
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Image Left 1930 L-29
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