Amelia Island

10-11 March 2017

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Lot 272

1931 Cord L-29 Cabriolet

  • Chassis no. 3916
  • Serial no. 2928916
  • Engine no. FD 4023

Sold for $187,000


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.

  • 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!

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more