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Cord L-29 and an Airplane on Display at the Auburn-Chicago Company Showroom

Today’s lead image taken in 1929 of a section of the Auburn-Chicago Company showroom contains left-to-right a Stinson SM-8A Junior, a stand holding a Lycoming engine, and an L-29 Cord outfitted with the standard Cabriolet coachwork. E.L. Cord acquired a sixty percent interest in the Stinson Aircraft Company late in 1929.

The enlargeable full-sized version of the photo (below) shows an Auburn roadster on the far-right and the banners proclaiming that one of the new “Models” won a “Grand Prix” award.

The actual winner (below) was a Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky design produced by the Hayes Body Corporation located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. After completion the coupe went on a tour driven by de Sakhnoffsky and during the journey it won the Paris, Monte Carlo, and Beaulieu (UK) Concours d’ Elegance “Medal of Honor” awards.

In addition to the pictures of the L-29 automobiles, included (below) are images of the front of the frame and kick-up containing the Lycoming straight-eight engine, three-speed transmission, front-wheel-drive assembly, and tubular axle. Following that are views of the framework, and the dropped rear axle, all of which clearly show how the Cord chassis engineers design led to the finished machine’s low and attractive presence.

View earlier L-29 Cord articles on The Old Motor, and share with us what you find of interest in the photographs courtesy of the Free Library of Philadelphia. The picture of the Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky designed show car is courtesy of Coachbuilt.com where more can be learned about the Count and the other coachwork he designed.

14 responses to “Cord L-29 and an Airplane on Display at the Auburn-Chicago Company Showroom

  1. I know I have read it somewhere else (here) but what were the drawbacks of this front wheel drive system. It would seem to be pretty heavy for one thing, adding to perhaps faster tire wear and heavier steering. Also, did the straight 8 have heating problems similar to the Flat-head Ford V-8?

    • The straight 8 did not have the overheating problems like the Ford V-8 because the exhaust ports did not go clear through the block like on the Ford.

    • One pervasive problem with the Cord was that on steep upgrades, weight transfer to the rear “offloaded” the front
      ( drive ) drive wheels with resulting loss of traction

  2. I think I was in that space about 12 years ago. There was a picture framing business in there at that time. Ornate work around the high ceiling. Seems to me it was on Kedzie Avenue. Even with framing going on, the place just felt grand. Searching online but am coming up blank.

    BTW, anybody that has not been to the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum needs to go. I was there previously and cars were just in rows. Now, it looks like a proper museum, with displays and artifacts. Definitely worth the trip

  3. The airplane is a Stinson SM-8A Junior, a four seat smaller version of the earlier “Detroiter”. The 8A, introduced in 1930 at a cost of $5775. It was powered by Lycoming R-680 which produced 215 hp.

    Cord had been taught to fly by his personal pilot and owned a Detroiter. In 1929, he already owned Lyon my and figured the firm’s new 200 hp radial would be a good fit for the new Junior ( Earlier Stinsons had been powered by Wright engines and the upcoming 8D would be powered by a 225 hp Packard diesel radial).
    Stinson could use the infusion of capital and the assurance of a steady supply of engines, the sale was finalized just after the stock market crash.

    Cord also owned American Airways.

  4. I thought I recognized that building. Turns out I should, if what I have searched is correct it’s 2401 S. Michigan Ave. It was until recently a Fiat dealership. It was a Ford dealership that I visited once upon a time. Around 1929 it should have been Auburn. Floor tile for the showroom appears to be the same as of June.

  5. Seeing an Cord L-29 chassis at the ACD Museum, I was struck by the inconsistency of the shallow offset of the rear frame which one would have expected would have been the same as the front. Since the idea was to get the car as low as possible, this detail might have allowed even a lower overall height. Notwithstanding its poor weight distribution and attendant traction problems, the L-29 is one of the most striking cars of the era.

  6. Great showroom photo! Whenever I see an L29 Cabriolet in real life or photo I think of the one my Dad got to drive in 1930. My Grandfather was a chauffeur, and the boss had a son a few years older than my Dad with an L29. He needed the Cord driven from the NYC place to the country place here in town and asked my Dad to drive it up all alone, 15 years old and no drivers license. What a thrill that two hour drive must have been, what would be the 2018 equal to the Cord today?
    Bob

  7. Some artist certainly spent a considerable amount of time airbrushing all that detail into that excellent photo-illustration of the front suspension. You rarely see something with that clarity even on computer generated artwork these days.

    Just out of curiosity, I do not see any tie rod linking the left and right wheels. Was there a separate drag link for each side?

  8. Very interesting – the history of Cord and his auto empire can be viewed in depth at Cord Complete Book chronicles
    This unique American Auto history in great details; 394 pages, over 600 photos and rare patent drawings , the best Cord 810-812 photographs, every Cord details ofSerial #
    that left the factory when the doors shuttered in December 1937. See http://theoldmotor.com/?p=132887
    You will be amazed, just like The Old Motor!

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