Lot 128

Amelia Island 2015

1931 Cord L-29 Convertible Phaeton Sedan


$156,750 USD | Sold

United States | Amelia Island, Florida



Chassis No.
Engine No.
FF 4998
Body No.
G 1264
  • ACD Club Certified Category One (CL-076)
  • Desirable late “FF” engine
  • Well-known ownership history since the 1950s
  • A regular concours competitor

125 bhp, 322 cu. in. side-valve inline eight-cylinder engine, front-wheel drive, three-speed transmission, quarter-elliptic front leaf springs at the front, with rear semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 137.5 in.

Addendum: Please note that contrary to the printed catalogue description, the correct chassis number of this car is 2930071.

At its debut, the Cord Front-Drive was the first major American production car with front-wheel drive, and it was easily the most innovative automobile that had been offered to the public in a decade. The Cord’s front-wheel-drive system employed a Lycoming straight-eight that was reversed in the chassis so that the transmission was at the extreme front. The lack of a driveshaft tunnel allowed for the bodies to be mounted low on the frame, with the result being that the Cord was no taller than a person of average height. Their interiors boasted flat floors, allowing for comfortable, spacious seating.

The Front-Drive, like so many of the great automobiles of its time, had the bad luck to have been born at the worst possible moment. It was offered to market just as the Great Depression’s crushing weight came down on the automobile industry, and production of the car faded away in late 1931.

The Convertible Phaeton Sedan offered here is recorded by late L-29 historian Paul Bryant as having been the 4,771st L-29 built. As a late 1931 production model, it was equipped with the desirable “FF” engine, which was a bored-out 322-cubic-inch unit that was stronger than earlier versions, could reportedly produce more horsepower, and came with a more efficient exhaust manifold.

Known history of this car begins in the 1950s, when it was purchased by early ACD enthusiast Karl E. Queilzsch, of Dallastown, Pennsylvania. It passed in 1960 to J.A. Luttrell, of East Lansing, Michigan, and following a restoration by Dave Ten Brink, the car earned a CCCA National award, with 100 points earned at Dearborn, Michigan, during his ownership.

The car next passed to Shirlee Lester, the then-wife of famous vintage tire magnate and car collector Tom Lester, who regularly displayed the car at various concours d’elegance. It was later sold on June 2, 1984, to Bobbie Crump, of New Orleans, and it remained in Mr. Crump’s well-known museum for many years prior to its acquisition by the present lady owner, who is located in the Midwest.

This 1931 Cord, which has been well-maintained in its present ownership, still presents beautifully, having had a recent cosmetic and mechanical freshening, and it has been shown as recently as 2014, at the Stan Hywet Concours d’Elegance in Akron, Ohio. It is fully certified as a Category One Original Car by the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club, with copies of the certification paperwork on file, and it is also a CCCA Premier car.

Few L-29s have as much well-known history, with such illustrious collectors in and out of the close-knit ACD world, as this wonderful Convertible Phaeton Sedan. It is ready to enjoy its next home in an important private stable.