1930

1930 Cord L-29

Vehicle Profiles

Cabriolet

Chassis Num: 2928297

The front wheel drive Cord L-29 was innovative and different. Its design and mechanical complexity proved the true genius of Errett lobban Cord. Harry Miller and Cornelius Van Ranst were responsible for the engineering. The body was engineered by ....[continue reading]

Convertible Sedan

Chassis Num: FD2936A

This rare 1930 Cord L29 Convertible Sedan sat atop of a 137.5 inch wheelbase. It was powered by a 298 cubic-inch eight-cylinder engine capable of producing 125 horsepower. It had a three-speed manual transmission and quarter elliptic front leaf spr....[continue reading]

Convertible Sedan

Chassis Num: FDA 3837

Cord L29 Convertible Sedan with chassis number FDA3837 was one of 5010 built from 1929 through 1932. There were 1873 Cords were built in 1930. The folding top is tan in color and matched with a burgundy leather interior. It has recently undergone ....[continue reading]

Phaeton

A Styling Sensation Admired by Frank Lloyd Wright....[continue reading]

Cabriolet

The beautiful flowing classic lines and front wheel drive with the transmission forward of the engine make the Cord one of the most outstanding automobiles ever produced in the US. The shifter lever is located on the dash panel.....[continue reading]

Hayes Coupe
Coachwork: Hayes Body Company

Chassis Num: 2927005
Engine Num: FD2638A

One of the most extraordinary one-off L-29 Cords is this Hayes Coupe, which was a collaboration between Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky and the Hayes Body Company. At the 1929 Monte Carlo Concours, it won the Grand Prix award. A few days later, at the ....[continue reading]

Phaeton

The L-29 Cord, named for E.L Cord, Chairman of the Cord Corporation that owned the Auburn Automobile Company, was introduced in 1929 to great acclaim. America's first production front wheel drive vehicle, it featured engineering by Harry Miller and ....[continue reading]

Phaeton

The new Cord, a product of the Auburn Company along with the Duesenberg, was introduced under E.L. Cord's leadership in 1929. It was a styling sensation with its low, sweeping lines on the low-slung chassis made possible by its innovative front-whee....[continue reading]

Phaeton

The Cord L-29 was the first production car in the United States to feature front wheel drive. The brainchild of automotive builder E.L. Cord, the L-29s front wheel drive allowed for lowered overall body height and spectacularly rakish styling. This C....[continue reading]

Cabriolet Convertible Speedster

In the early 1920s, E.L. Cord used his business and sales talents to gain control of the Auburn and Duesenberg automobile companies. In 1929, he created his namesake, the Cord, as the middle-class volume sales part of his ACD conglomerate.....[continue reading]

Town Car
Coachwork: Murphy

This handsome L-29 Town Car is one of only three produced by Cord. Simply put, a Town Car is a long-wheelbase limousine with divider window and an open driver's compartment for the chauffeur. With its novel front-wheel drive arrangement, this car was....[continue reading]

Dual Cowl Phaeton
Coachwork: Murphy

Considered by experts to be the ultimate classic design, the 'dual-cowl phaeton' was out of style by 1930 due to its impracticality; but the design was continued on custom-ordered cars. It was this attention-getting appeal that prompted E.L. Cord, p....[continue reading]

Cabriolet

Chassis Num: 2928140

Of the two front-wheel drive American cars announced for 1929, Errett Loban Cord was the first to market. His Cord L-29 began production in June, followed a short time later by Archie Andrews short-lived Ruxton automobiles. The Cords were referred to....[continue reading]

Sedan

The Cord L-29 was not inexpensive - the sedan and brougham were priced at $3,095 and the cabriolet and phaeton were priced at $3,295. Prices were lowered for 1931 but the luxury car market was beginning to disappear, thanks, in part, to the stock mar....[continue reading]

Cabriolet Convertible Speedster

Chassis Num: FDA1423

The boat-tail 'LeGrande' speedster was designed by Phil Wright, who had left Murphy Coachbuilders. He headed to Detroit in search of work where he found it with Auburn. Auburn Automobile Company president Roy Faulkner found Wright's sketches intrigui....[continue reading]

Cabriolet

This Cord L-29 was shipped to Buenos Aries when new where it remained until returning to the United States in 1978 in complete disrepair. The car passed through several owners, until a full restoration was started in 2000. After several years, the cu....[continue reading]

Convertible Sedan

Chassis Num: 2928013
Engine Num: FDA3160

This Cord L-29 Convertible Sedan belongs to Christopher Cord, the grandson of E.L. Cord. The car was completed in April of 1930 and was one of 1,163 convertible sedans built. ....[continue reading]

Sport Cabriolet
Coachwork: Voll & Ruhrbeck

Chassis Num: 2927898
Engine Num: FD 3029

Voll and Ruhrbeck of Berline was a world-class builder of fine custom coachwork. Their work graced the finest of chassis, including Horch, Mercedes, Daimler, Bugatti, Maybach, and Rolls-Royce. Their work would also adorn the Cord automobile.....[continue reading]

Town Car
Coachwork: Murphy

Chassis Num: 2926823
Engine Num: FD 2410

The effects of the Great Depression were deepening and a toll was be exacted all around. In order to remain in business, industries had to become creative and maximize every angle possible. For Errett Cord, that opportunity rested with Hollywood and ....[continue reading]

Cabriolet

The Cord L-29, America's first production front-wheel-drive car, was introduced in 1929. The innovative front-drive system contributed to a long, low car that looked fast standing still. Its design was inspired by front-drive Indy cars, and the L-29 ....[continue reading]

Sport Cabriolet
Coachwork: Voll & Ruhrbeck

The L-29 Cord was the first front-wheel-drive (fwd) American car to achieve volume production. It was developed under the direction of E.L. Cord, who'd taken control of the Auburn Automobile Company in 1924. In 1927, Cord brought the ultra-luxurious ....[continue reading]

Cabriolet
Chassis #: 2928297 
Convertible Sedan
Chassis #: FD2936A 
Convertible Sedan
Chassis #: FDA 3837 
Phaeton
 
Cabriolet
 
Hayes Coupe by Hayes Body Company
Chassis #: 2927005 
Phaeton
 
Phaeton
 
Phaeton
 
Cabriolet Convertible Speedster
 
Town Car by Murphy
 
Dual Cowl Phaeton by Murphy
 
Cabriolet
Chassis #: 2928140 
Sedan
 
Cabriolet Convertible Speedster
Chassis #: FDA1423 
Cabriolet
 
Convertible Sedan
Chassis #: 2928013 
Sport Cabriolet by Voll & Ruhrbeck
Chassis #: 2927898 
Town Car by Murphy
Chassis #: 2926823 
Cabriolet
 
Sport Cabriolet by Voll & Ruhrbeck
 

History

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
1930
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