Lot Number
272
language

1931 Cord L-29 Cabriolet

Sold For $187,000

Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.

RM | Sotheby's - AMELIA ISLAND 10 - 11 MARCH 2017


Chassis No.
Engine No.
Serial No.
3916
FD 4023
2928916
  • One of the most desirable American Classics; a landmark in engineering and design
  • Long and well-known ownership history
  • Fresh, comprehensive ground-up restoration
  • Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic

At its debut, the Cord Front-Drive (L-29) was the first major American production car with front-wheel drive. 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. Sadly, the L-29 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 cabriolet offered here, an example of the most popular and desirable L-29 body style, has had its history traced back to 1946, when it was purchased for $750 by a Mr. Huffey of Cincinnati, Ohio. Following several intervening short-term owners, it was purchased in 1953 by Jerry Fisher of Piqua, Ohio, largely complete, less its top and several small items. Hubert Wood of South Charleston, Ohio, performed an amateur restoration in 1969. A new owner acquired the car in 1980 and proceeded to drive it to his private museum in the American West, where it remained until 2013.

In its current European ownership, the Cord has been comprehensively restored by Packard and Classic Cars of Bremen, Germany. The owner notes that it was completely disassembled, with the frame sandblasted and powder-coated, springs and axles disassembled, sandblasted, and painted. A full engine rebuild included new Babbit bearings, pistons, rings, and shell bearings, a new camshaft, the crankshaft polished and balanced, and the block bored and honed and heads planed. The cooling system, water pump, generator, and starter were rebuilt, with a new radiator. The transmission was checked and cleaned, and new clutch and pressure plate installed. Front ball joints were custom-made and hardened to original specifications.

The sheet metal, fenders, and running boards were all properly finished, with new inner woodwork, and paintwork with four layers of clear coat on every painted surface. The brightwork was re-plated to show standards. The dashboard was completely disassembled and rebuilt. Complete new wiring harnesses were made and installed. The wheels were restored and repainted in black, including four layers of clear coat. A new leather interior was fabricated to original patterns and piped in dark red, including rumble seat. New top bows were made and a new canvas top with red stitching were fitted. New rubber parts were sourced from the United States, while some parts had to be custom made. The car is accompanied by its unrestored original luggage rack.

Still equipped with its original serial number and body tags, this car retains its original chassis, engine, and cabriolet body, just as it was delivered in 1931, and benefits from a fresh and comprehensive restoration with the show field in mind. It awaits a new caretaker who will enjoy it just as it has been enjoyed for over 85 years!

125 bhp, 298.6 cu. in. L-head inline eight-cylinder engine, three-speed front-drive manual transmission, live front axle with dual quarter-elliptical leaf springs, tubular beam rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 137.5 in.



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