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Van Dijk Collection, H&H Sales Limited (3 October 2005)

Founded by industrial entrepreneur Errett Lobban Cord, the company that bore his name became the vibrant third element in an impressive manufacturing portfolio that already contained Auburn and Duesenberg. Released in summer 1929, the new concern's initial 'L-29' model soon earned it a reputation for innovation. America's first luxury car to feature front-wheel drive, it was engineered by the legendary Harry Miller and Cornelius Van Ranst. Drawing heavily on contemporary Indy car technology, its 299ci (4.9 litre) 125HP Lycoming straight-eight engine was mounted 'back-to-front' with a three-speed sliding pinion gearbox and differential attached to the 'nose'. Other echoes of racing practice included a cruciform braced chassis frame, Cardan universal joints for the driveshafts, inboard drum brakes and quarter-elliptic front suspension (the 'dead' rear axle relying on semi-elliptic leaf springs). While, this cutting-edge layout dictated an extravagantly long 137.5inch wheelbase, it also provided Duesenberg stylist Al Leamy with a wonderful opportunity to create one of the lowest-slung, most rakish cars of its generation. Available in four 'factory' body styles: Sedan, Brougham, Phaeton and Cabriolet, the L-29 proved a palpable hit with the glitterati. Bought by stars such as The Marx Brothers, Mary Pickford, Jean Harlow and band leader Paul Whiteman, a $3,100 - $3,300 price range saw it suffer more than most from the Wall Street Crash. Nevertheless, the 5,010 reputedly made up until 1932 bettered Cord's initial projections (albeit by just ten units). Shunned for years because of its alien technology, the L-29 has since been recognised by the Classic Car Club of America as a Full Classic. Finished in two-tone red with cream pinstriping and brown upholstery, this particular Cord L-29 was imported to the UK in 1990. Equipped with dual side-mounted spare wheels, 'Twilite' headlamps, scroll inlay-patterned door handles and trademark glittering metal dashboard (complete with 'push-and-pull' gearchange), it further benefits from a dickey seat and golf club locker. A comparatively early car (or so its serial number would imply), its last US title document dates it to 1930. Though, an older type UK V5 registration document states that it was "declared manufactured 1931". A former prize winner that still retains a Detroit Gear & Machine Co FW-1 gearbox, solitary Schweler carburettor and Delco-Remy dynamo, it is hoped that further research will help illuminate its exact provenance. PLEASE NOTE: The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club have informed us that this 'L29 is most likely an original car we have just not heard of before. The Limousine Body Co. number F107 is the earliest body number known in 1929.'

Lot Details
Auction Van Dijk Collection
H&H Sales Limited, Syon Park, Brentford
Lot Number015
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£57000
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Condition rating
Registration numberBSK 829
Chassis numberFD 973
Engine numberUNKNOWN
Engine capacity (cc)4900
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors