1931 Cord L-29 Speedster
Lot 350
1931 Cord L-29 LaGrande Speedster Chassis no. 2927156 Engine no. FD2687
Sold for US$ 290,800 inc. premium
Lot Details
1931 Cord L-29 LaGrande Speedster
Chassis no. 2927156
Engine no. FD2687
*298ci Lycoming straight eight
*Front-wheel drive

*Exacting recreation of the 1931 New York and Paris Auto Show showcar
*Over 20,000 hours to build
*Sleek, French-inspired design

This stunning car is an exacting re-creation of the legendary 1931 Cord L-29 LaGrande Speedster. One of the most beautiful and famous examples of the classic front-wheel drive marque ever made, the original has long been lost to the sands of time.

During 1930, Auburn Automobile Co. president Roy Faulkner ordered Cord's in-house LaGrande coachbuilders to create an L-29 Speedster show car based on concept sketches provided by stylist Phillip O. Wright.

Built on the standard 137.5-inch wheelbase L-29 chassis, the boat-tail speedster that subsequently emerged was strikingly sleek and modern, with aircraft inspired "pontoon" fenders and a steeply raked Vee windshield. Even the door hinges were covered with streamlined teardrop-shaped blisters.

The Cord LaGrande Speedster made its show debut at the 1931 New York Salon. Later that year, it was featured at the Paris Auto Show and then a French Concours d'Elegance. Before 1931 was out, the Speedster was photographed in Toronto. Records indicate it was thereafter returned to Europe. Historians believe the original L-29 Speedster was scrapped during World War II.

Stories persist connecting the fabulous Speedster to famed 1930s Hollywood film star Jean Harlow and her husband, MGM executive Paul Bern. However, such reports have yet to be corroborated.

Californian Arnold A. Addison was fascinated by the 1931 LaGrande Speedster and set out to reproduce it in the mid-1990s.

Addison, a long time car enthusiast, had restored a Cord L-29 Convertible Sedan, an undertaking that netted him a spare L-29 frame and other authentic components. A correct 298ci Cord L-29 engine and front-drive three-speed transmission were also obtained.

The Tyree brothers, a trio of automotive artisans from California, were commissioned to re-create the LaGrande Speedster to the highest standards. They extensively researched the original car before commencing the project.

A venerable Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Club member who, as a youth, viewed the original LaGrande Speedster during the 1931 New York Salon validated the authenticity of the Cashmere Cream and Royal Cranberry colors found on the re-creation.

In 2004, after more than nine years and 20,000 man-hours of research and labor, the new LaGrande Speedster was completed. The Cord has a working convertible top, which stores under a metal covering behind the seats when folded.

A cigar rack is built into driver's door, and a bar set including two decanters is designed into the passenger door. As per the original, a (reproduction) Duesenberg-type altimeter supplements the standard L-29 instrumentation.

Numerous magazine and newspaper articles praising the beauty, exactitude and quality of the re-created car fill a large binder that will accompany the LaGrande Speedster at sale.

In 2007, ownership of the highly acclaimed and award-winning Cord Speedster was passed to the collection of the late John O'Quinn, who rated the car "excellent" after test-driving it.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note, the estimate published in the catalog is incorrect. The correct estimate is $250,000-350,000. Please note that this vehicle is titled under its engine number FD2687.
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