The fast rise and eventual collapse of E.L. Cord’s massive industrial empire, with the Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg marques at its core, remains one of corporate America’s most fascinating and tragic stories. From the dramatic turnaround of Auburn in the mid-1920s, which is a textbook case of selective marketing, Cord’s companies manufactured and sold some of the most innovative, stylish and value-rich automobiles ever conceived.
The L-29 Front Drive Cord was developed as a new, medium-priced car with innovative engineering and distinctive styling. The long drivetrain package, necessitated by the L-29’s inline 8-cylinder and front-wheel-drive system, became one of the car’s greatest assets when designer Al Leamy sketched one of the longest hoods ever seen.
American and European custom coachbuilders naturally gravitated to the design possibilities of the low-slung L-29 chassis, and 43 custom-bodied L-29s were created. Just 12 are known to remain in existence today, including the singular and stunning Hayes coupe offered by RM.