1931 Cord L-29 laGrande Speedster re-creation
Philip O. Wright , a designer who was responsible for some of the sportiest Duesenberg Model J's ever created , presented this sleek boattail speedster design (Front wheel drive). The coachwork was built by Union City Body Company, part of E.L.Cord's growing industrial complex.Completed in time for it's debut at the New York Auto Salon public Showing in 1931, the car was introduced as the Lagrande Speedster. It then departed to France where it appeared with actress Suzy Vincent at the Paris Concours d'elegance and achieved First Place. The Lagrande Speedster was returned to the states for another showing, then sent back to Europe, it disappeared in Europe and not the slightest hint of it's fate has yet to surface. Only one Cord L-29 was bodied with Philip Wrights front wheel drive Lagrande Speedster coachwork. The Lagrande Speedster is believed to have been lost during World War II . Recreation started in 1995 and was completed in 2004, consuming 20,000 man-hours, meticulously recreated in every detail , even in its original colors of Royal Cranberry and Cashmere Cream.
Union City built 8 LaGrande bodies for the Cord L-29's ''Custom" body program, 2 Town cars, 2 Victorias, 1 Coupe,1 ( Salon ) Sedan, 1 Boattail Speedster and 1 Sedan.
He married Katherine Whitney, daughter of a Chicago insurance man. They moved to Chicago and while selling cars, he met a fellow salesman, E.L.Cord. They decided to build a car of their own and proceeded to buy a defunct plant in Connersville, In which they retooled. Within a year, they marketed three automobile models Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg named for the Duesenberg brothers whom they hired to produce the high-powered 12 cylinder engine. Manning became President of the Duesenberg Co. and then Vice President of Cord Corporation Holdings Co.
Here is one of two hardtop coupes that were built by the Union City Body Company for Duesenberg in 1930 for the 1931 model year (Fixed Top Coupes) with individual sliding seats, patented by the Union City Body Company.
When the first Cord Front Wheel Drive (Model L-29 reached full production in September of 1929 plans were conceived for the next model to be a 1932 New Cord Front Drive. The wheelbase was to be 157 5/8 inches, 20 inches longer than the L-29. The engine was to have 16 cylinders, double that of the L-29 engine. One month later (October 29,1929,Black Tuesday) the stock market collapse changed the phrase Roaring Twenties to the Great Depression. One prototype, E-1 was produced with a 16 cylinder Lycoming engine as a 7- passenger chauffeur-driven Limousine. A letter signed by E.L. Cord brags about his custom built Limousine for his own usage. Finished in blue with black reveal moldings. The driver's compartment was upholstered in tan leather and the passenger area was covered in tan broadcloth with Butler finish for all metal hardware and fittings. The body has aluminum panels over a heavy oak structure with solid walnut interior mouldings. All of the bracketry is steel forgings or bronze castings. The skirted fenders and running boards are steel. The Depression had gotten to the point that hardly anyone could sell cars much less buy something as expensive as this proposal. The 1932 Model Front Wheel Drive proposal was scrapped and the E-1 Cord Limousine with only 800 miles of use was also scrapped. Major components were disassembled and scattered to various dealers. The engine remained in Auburn as a standby generator at the power station. In more recent years , the body was discovered in the Rockford, Illinois area. Shortly afterwords, a group of blueprints surfaced in Auburn,Indiana. The grille assembly was discovered in Urbana, Ohio. Another lead located the fenders in Phoenix, Arizona. Five years after accumulation of parts were united, the running boards were located in Plato Junction, a small community just outside of Elgin, Illinois. Something destined this Cord to live and to live again
DUESENBERG SSJ SPEEDSTER
1931 E-1 Experimental L-29 CORD Limousine
ORIGINAL 1931 L-29 Cord LaGrande Boattail Speedster
Duesenberg custom built cars SS J - 563 and SS J- 567 with 125'' inch wheelbase chassis. The rolling chassis was sent to the factory's in - house Coachbuilder Union City Body Works, better known as LaGrande to be clothed with unique " Sweep Panel " Speedster Coachwork. The cars were eventually sent to Connersville Indiana where ACD moved their finishing operations in 1934, then to Los Angeles factory branch , where they were prominently displayed in the showroom as Roadster promotional vehicles; perhaps as a last resort effort to attract new buyers. SSJ - 563 would not sit idle long, as Hollywood screen actor Gary Cooper saw the unique Speedster and bought it off the showroom floor for $ 16,000. When Cooper presented the new car to his wife Veronica, she immediately expressed disdain for the colors of the car and refused to drive or ride in it until it was repainted. Cooper took the car the car back to the factory in Los Angeles and had it painted a two tone gray, but opted to retain the caramel leather interior. As with SSJ - 567, it also had been sent to the Union City Body Works to be clothed with similar "Sweep Panel'' Coachwork. The only differentiating Coachwork features on SSJ - 567 were the typical curved tails of the rear fenders and the presence of the Duesenbird radiator cap. Finished in high gloss black laquer with tan ostrich leather interior. SSJ - 567 also featured headlight bowls painted to match the body, black lacquered steel wheels and a rear mounted encased spare.
Original L-29 Cord lagrande Speedster
A cigar rack is built into driver's door.
H.S. Lewis from Beaver Falls, New York purchased the Coupe new on 5-23-1931.
Initially the automobile was equipped with WoodLite headlamps, which was common for the New York Auto Salon Show, but not practical or really desired by many for actual night driving. Named after Inventor William G. Woods.
ORIGINAL 1931 L-29 Cord LaGrande Boattail Speedster
Previous paint scheme of the Lucius B. Manning Duesenberg shown on HOME PAGE.
A bar set including two decanters is designed into the passenger door.