Lot Number
115
language

1930 Cord L-29 Cabriolet

Sold For $203,500

Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.

RM | Sotheby's - AMELIA ISLAND 12 MARCH 2016


Body No.
Engine No.
Serial No.
F-850
FD 3266 A
2928140
  • Original chassis, engine, and body
  • Known ownership history since 1939
  • Well-preserved older restoration; assembly and finish by L-29 expert Ken Clark
  • ACD Club Certified Category One (CL-038)

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, thanks to engineering input from legendary racecar builder Harry Miller. 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 car offered here, serial number 2928140, is an authentic cabriolet, which retains its original engine, chassis, and body, including the correct engine and serial number tags, and has been certified by the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club. According to information published in the ACD Club Newsletter (No. 1, 1997), the car was unit number 3110 in L-29 production, completed in May of 1930. Its earliest known owner was Ernest Cook of Belgrade, Maine, who purchased the car in 1939 and proceeded to use it for his honeymoon. Subsequently, it was stored on Cook’s property until 1982, when another Maine resident, David Ault of Wayne, succeeded in acquiring it.

The cabriolet’s restoration was begun in earnest several years later, with extensive work done to the body and its inner wooden framework, and the engine was reportedly fully rebuilt. The car was then handed over to Ken Clark of Ken’s Classics in Pittsfield, Maine, one of the foremost L-29 authorities in the United States, whose cars have won numerous awards in ACD Club National judging. In a recent conversation, Mr. Clark recounted that the car was finished to Mr. Ault’s specifications in a rich dark blue with light blue moldings, similar but not identical to the factory standard cabriolet color scheme of Gainsborough Blue and Blue Boy Blue. The interior was properly upholstered in pale blue leather, with a tan cloth top and chrome wire wheels.

Mr. Ault enjoyed the cabriolet until 2009; it was added to its present owner’s collection three years later. Recently freshened mechanically and cosmetically, including a recent fuel system cleaning and valve adjustment, its restoration has aged exceptionally well and still shows the fastidious attention to factory-correct authentic detail and finish, rather than “over-restoration,” that marks Mr. Clark’s L-29 work. Even the underside is still very clean and presentable. Mr. Ault reportedly drove the car for several years, and it records 19,777 miles today, making the car’s current presentation that much more remarkable.

This is a beautiful example of a car that is among the most popular and sought-after CCCA Classics today—a masterpiece of form and function.

125 bhp, 298 cu. in. side-valve inline eight-cylinder engine, front-wheel-drive, three-speed manual transmission, quarter-elliptic front leaf springs and rear semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 137.5 in.



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