We think we know the coolest cars to ever hit the market, but sometimes we are blinded by our own lust for the names we are familiar with. Our blindness has led us to not know the name of the Cord automobile which certainly could be the car of the 1930s that you never knew existed. This car was made not in Detroit but in a small town several miles south and west of Detroit called Auburn, Indiana. That distinction alone may be one reason you have never heard of this car, but that is really no excuse at all, so let’s see what this car was.
Let me get your engine revving over this car to start with, the Cord was built with a front wheel drive supercharged V8, chrome plated side exhaust pipes, hidden headlights and a disappearing convertible top. Now you really think I’m fibbing because none of that was offered, available or even possible in the 1930s, but in actuality it was and really did exist.
Errett Lobban Cord had an amazing array of successful ventures under the Cord Corporation name. This included Auburn automobiles, Lycoming engines, Stinson aircraft, Checker taxis the Dueseberg automobile. As vanity would have it, he wanted a product that he would be able to put his name on that would become his marque item.
This was corrected in June of 1929 when the introduction of the Cord L-29 cam to be. This car was modeled after the Deusenberg but offered a longer hood to house the straight eight-cylinder engine and was the first front wheel drive vehicle every sold on the American market. the creator of the car was Allan H. Leamy and this car with its long hood and gorgeous features certainly was a fitting tribute to Mr. Cord. The L-29 sold for $3,000 at the time which made it more expensive than the Auburn lineup but less than the Duesenberg. This car was offered in four body styles, sedan, brougham, convertible sedan and convertible coupe.
The only downside to this beautiful car was the fact it had poor traction because the engine was set back far from the drive line. With its weight this car could only reach a top speed of about 80 mph from the 125 horsepower, which was substantial for power at the time, but not for speed. This still wasn’t enough to turn people off to this car, but something else was part of it is undoing.
The L-29 ended up only selling about 5000 units because of the stock market crash that took place in October of 1929 and the production of this version of the Cord ended in 1931. There was however another version made in 1936 called the Cord 810. The 810 was the car that had all the features mentioned in the second paragraph to give us a car full of new and glorious features to love and enjoy.
Unfortunately by this time there wasn’t enough capital coming in to keep the 810 and the next version, the 812 going, this was a car that certainly was well ahead of its time. Mr. Cord retired to California after selling his company in 1937 and the company eventually went into full bankruptcy, leaving a memory of a car company that could have been behind.