1930 Cord L-29 Cabriolet
Sold For $275,000Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.
RM | Auctions - HERSHEY 10 - 11 OCTOBER 2019 - The Complete Collection of Jack Dunning
- Offered from the collection of Jack Dunning
- Part of the collection since 1992
- Well-maintained older concours restoration, with original chassis, engine, and body
- Former Auburn Cord Duesenberg (ACD) Club National Best L-29
- Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Senior winner
- ACD Club Certified Category 1
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.
Fortunately, the L-29’s innovative engineering and attractive styling have long made it memorable to collectors, especially the most desirable cabriolet body style, which has become increasingly popular with Full Classic collectors in recent years.
This particular cabriolet has been around the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club and Classic Car Club of America for decades and, as a result, boasts a superb provenance. Its earliest-known owner was longtime ACD Club member Pete Walker of Atlanta, Georgia, a former employee of the Auburn-Cord dealership in that city and early appreciator of the company’s automobiles; he was an early supplier of quality parts to other enthusiasts. Mr. Walker owned this Cord as early as 1962 and later sold it to Bob Agle of Ohio. Mr. Agle, himself a longtime and avid L-29 collector, owned the car for three decades, but never got around to completing its restoration.
That task fell to Jack Dunning, who acquired the car from Mr. Agle in 1992 and oversaw its return to original condition by Ed Cobb, in a crisp two-tone combination of Navahoe Red (sic) and Black, correct Auburn Automobile Company colors of the era. The car was adorned with Woodlite headlamps and rare parking lights and taillight, popular accessories on the L-29 when the model was new. These lights were a clever design intended to focus a narrow beam of intense light on the road ahead, rather than spreading it out in the fashion of a conventional bowl headlight. In practice, they did not work particularly well—but they were stunningly beautiful, especially as an accent to the L-29’s low lines.
The completed Cord was Certified Category 1 by the ACD Club and, in 1996, received the Alan Leamy Trophy for Best L-29 at the Club’s National Reunion in Auburn, Indiana, recognizing the quality of its restoration. By 2011 it had achieved Senior Emeritus status. It has also been very successful in CCCA National judging, achieving no less than three perfect 100-point scores, and also holds a Senior badge from that organization. Mr. Dunning is justifiably quite proud of the car and its results in competition.
Still a beautiful automobile down to the last detail, well preserved in the Dunning Collection, this is among the most striking L-29 cabriolets available—with excellent purity of its components and a high-quality restoration, awarded the greatest of laurels in the Cord world. It would be welcomed back to ACD Club and CCCA events, as well as to any number of concours d’elegance.