The Hollywood Cord
A Rare Custom Bodied 1930 L-29 Town Car

Recently discovered after more than half a century tucked away in the Pacific Northwest, a 1930 Cord L-29 Town Car with coachwork by Murphy & Company, one of the most fabled, important and truly special Cords is to be offered in the Bonhams automobile auction at Amelia Island on 12 March.

One of just four surviving examples of the model, this exceedingly rare automobile, thought to have belonged to famed silver screen actress Dolores del Rio (who starred alongside such legends as Elvis Presley, Jimmy Stewart, Bette Davis, Sophia Loren, Anthony Quinn, Omar Sharif, Orson Welles), is not only unique in its model and history but also totally original.

The Cord motorcar is regarded by enthusiasts, collectors and historians as one of the greatest American automobiles ever made. Innovative and advanced, Cords were powerful, cutting-edge, luxurious and stylish. Due to the timing of the company's debut just before the great stock market crash of 1929, however, the Cord marque was short-lived and production numbers were low. In fact, it is thought that of the L-29 model, in all its variations, only around 300 exist today. Very few Cords were ever supplied to coachbuilders, making custom bodied examples such as this extremely uncommon.

Owned by Jay Hyde from 1959 until his passing in 2014, the car was carefully kept and sparingly used. Very rarely seen in public, it emerged in 1987 to be shown at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance alongside others of its breed in a class devoted solely to custom-bodied Cords. With its shorter wheelbase, the beautifully proportioned L-29 Town Car is powered by a strong 8-cylinder inline engine which provides 125bhp, while intricate detail throughout illustrates the hallmarks of a bespoke, handbuilt car of this golden age. Still in its original and unrestored state, the car is incredibly well preserved and runs smoothly – a testament to the impressive stewardship of Hyde.

With pre-war automobiles in original condition becoming more uncommon and more highly prized, this Cord, with its scarce coachbuilt body and ascribed Hollywood glamor, is surely one of the most desirable cars of its kind anywhere in the world. The distinctive vehicle, along with many more exceptional automobiles, will be featured at the Bonhams Amelia Island Auction at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club in Fernandina Beach, Florida.

For more information about this highly anticipated event, please click here.


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to


Related auctions