17 May 1999
1930 CORD L29 FOUR DOOR PHAETON SEDAN
Chassis no. 930
Engine no. FDA 2371
Green over yellow with black wings and green interior.
Engine: straight eight 298.6cu.in. 4900cc, side valve, 125bhp; Transmission: three speed manual in unit with front wheel drive; Suspension: independent front by transverse quarter elliptic springs, live rear axle with half elliptics; Brakes: four wheel drum, inboard at front. Left hand drive.
Errett Lobban Cord was one of the great impresarios of the American automobile. His roller-coaster ride in the industry lasted no more than a decade but in that time the companies he controlled created three of the most charismatic of all classic cars. 1929 was surely his greatest year, with the birth of the Auburn Speedster, the Duesenberg Model J and, above all, the front-wheel drive Cord L29. It is probably true to say that it had more influence on the cars that were to follow it during the next decade than any other single automobile. Cord knew exactly what was needed to sell cars. Tantalising hints dropped for twelve months before the car's launch in late Summer 1929 had their effect; it was claimed that in three days, one and a half million people trooped through Cord showrooms to examine this fascinating new kind of automobile. And fascinating it was. For a start there was the virtually unknown feature of front-wheel drive, created specially for the Cord by the great racing car designer Harry Miller with Cornelius Van Ranst. Then there was the car's appearance - longer, lower, more eager than just about anything that had gone before. Working to E L Cord's brief, stylist Alan H Leamy produced a shape that was not only enticingly rakish but also harmonious, from the noble radiator shell nestling racing-car style between the front wheels, to the elegance of the interiors. It was high style and it appealed wherever quality cars were appreciated. At the end of 1930 the company was able to announce that it had won 39 concours d'elegance on the Continent.
This was one car where an endless bonnet was justified by the great power-plant within, the easy straight eight Lycoming (Lycoming was another concern within Cord's empire) providing an ample 125 bhp and an abundance of torque. It drove forward through a three-speed transmission and constant-velocity universal joints. But the timing of the L29's birth could not have been worse.
This fine example from the collection was restored to show standard some while ago and is still in very good order. The paintwork is good with a black suage line neatly dividing the green and yellow, whilst the interior has mottled green trim throughout. Whitewall tyres fitted to the green wheels set-off the paintwork well. A trunk is fitted on the rear of the car and it also features short Lucas trumpet horns and Scintilla indicators. The chromework is all good. The Cord has not been used recently but has been properly dry stored. With advanced features such as front wheel drive, inboard front drum brakes and the gearbox mounted ahead of the engine, it is certainly an exceptional motor car of its period. This example was used in an advertisement for Veedol oil. The car is Swiss registered. of its period. This example was used in an advertisement for Veedol oil. The car is Swiss registered.
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The chassis number is 2926450
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