Amelia Island | Lot 154

1929 Cord L-29 Town Car by d’Ieteren Freres

$154,000 USD | Sold

United States | Amelia Island, Florida

9 March 2013

Chassis No.
Engine No.
Body No.
  • Offered from the collection of Jim Fasnacht
  • One-off Cord L-29 with Belgian custom coachwork
  • Incredible original condition with four owners since new
  • Certified Category One by the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club
  • Invited to the 2013 Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s

125 bhp, 298 cu. in. side-valve inline eight-cylinder engine, front-wheel drive, three-speed manual 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.

Wealthy automobile enthusiast Henry McVickar fell in love with the Cord Front Drive upon its introduction in 1929. A new, bare L-29, chassis number 2926758, was dispatched to McVickar from the factory in Auburn, Indiana. The town car body from the McVickar family’s 1927 Minerva, built by d’Ieteren Freres, of Belgium, was relocated to the Cord by a highly skilled coachbuilder, reportedly a member of the Brunn family. The completed Cord was registered to McVickar for the first time on December 21, 1929, as is testified to by the original registration document that remains with the car today.

The car remained with the family in Tuxedo Park until June 5, 1940, when it was sold to Patrick Boyle, of Ridgewood, New Jersey. Mr. Boyle never drove the car—it is unlikely it was ever out of his garage—and while numerous L-29 enthusiasts knew of the car while it was in his possession, none were able to acquire it.

After Mr. Boyle passed in 1976, the Cord finally found its third owner, noted sportsman Edwin C. “Ted” Jameson. At Jameson’s passing in 2002, tucked away among the project Duesenbergs and one-owner Owen-Magnetics in his wide-ranging collection was a certain one-off Cord, off the road and forgotten by most since 1940.

Jim Fasnacht purchased the Cord from the Jameson estate, and with his typical tenacity, he began to delve deeply into its history. By contacting every living L-29 authority and historian, he was able to document the short chain of ownership. Writing to the McVickar family revealed a surviving son, who remembered his father as a friend of E.L. Cord, which explained the choice of the L-29. Correspondence with the surviving firm of d’Ieteren allowed the body’s build number to be compared to their original records, verifying that this body was the one built for Mr. McVickar’s Minerva in 1927.

While in Mr. Fasnacht’s care, the one-off L-29’s cowl section was touched up by LaVine Restorations, and then it was carefully “aged” in order to blend it into the remainder of the paint. The roof, which had deteriorated due to age, was reworked by noted experts at Sharp’s Upholstery. Otherwise, the entire car remains absolutely original, as delivered in 1929, having “avoided” every service update recommended by Cord; it retains its original factory four blade cooling fan, the smaller diameter early spoked wire wheels, unvented drum brake covers, and the under hood battery location.

Having taken the slings and arrows of age with pride, the car is a “time warp” example that is far too nice to restore and has all the original factory parts and finishes throughout. In particular, the wool-swathed rear passenger compartment is remarkable. The car has required little mechanical condition to run and drive beautifully, as it should, with its spectacular original condition indicating that its 25,000 miles are actual, and it comes complete with its original owner’s and service manuals. They will accompany the car to its new owner, along with a vast file of documentation that go back to “day one,” and an invitation to be shown at the 2013 Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s.

Jim Fasnacht’s cars are set apart by unrivaled accuracy, authenticity, and thorough documentation that are second to none. This one-off, custom-bodied L-29 has all of those qualities in spades, and it earned them not through restoration, but by careful preservation by dedicated collectors. It may not shine, but its history radiates from its every nut and bolt.

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