Errett Lobban Cord was the savior of the Auburn Automobile Company and the patron of Duesenberg. Were those the totality of his accomplishments, we’d probably remember him, but he was not one to be content with saving other people’s bacon. His long-standing ambition was a car to bear his own name. In August 1929, he realized his dream with the announcement of the Cord L-29.
Taking the job of General Manager at Auburn in 1923, Cord obtained an agreement that if sales improved sufficiently he could buy into the firm. He then spruced up the accumulated inventory of unsold Auburns with bright paint jobs and nickel trim and quickly sold them all. By 1926, Cord was President of the company and held a controlling interest. He readied new models and positioned Auburn as a performance car at a low price, which further enhanced sales. That year, he acquired the foundering Duesenberg operation to serve as flagship of his growing empire.
With the top and the bottom of his automotive catalogs complete, Cord set out to define the middle, and define it he did. There was nothing ordinary about the Cord automobile. For architecture he chose an x-braced frame, and for propulsion he selected front-wheel drive. Chief Engineer on the project was Cornelius Van Ranst, who had built a front-drive racecar for the 1927 Indy 500 with driver Tommy Milton. Van Ranst was assisted by Auburn Chief Engineer Herb Snow, with consultation from racecar engineer Harry Miller and driver Leon Duray.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in March of 2011 at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida.
125 bhp, 298.6 cu. in. inline L-head eight-cylinder engine, three-speed front-drive manual transmission, live front axle with dual quarter-elliptic leaf springs, tubular beam rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 137.5".