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L-29 Murphy Town Car
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Country of origin:United States
Produced from:1929 - 1931
Designed by:Murphy
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:February 23, 2015
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Click here to download printer friendly versionDuring the late 1920s, two colourful entrepreneurs, Errett Lobban Cord and Archie Andrews each commissioned the development of what could become America's first front-wheel-drive production road car. Although both the respective Cord L-29 and Ruxton were launched in 1929, it was never a fair fight as Cord's business empire also included manufacturers Auburn and Duesenberg, and also engine manufacturer Lycoming.

Cord had intended the L-29 to fill the price gap between the Auburn and Duesenberg range. In charge of the car's development was Auburn's chief engineer Herbert Snow, while Harry Miller, Cornelius van Ranst and Leon Duray served as advisors. They had considerable experience campaigning front-wheel drive Miller racing cars in events like the Indy 500. Work had already started in 1927, so, unlike the Ruxton, the Cord L-29 was ready to enter production when it was first shown to the public in 1929.

The all-important front-end of the L-29 featured a DeDion style axle with separate driveshafts and reversed quarter-elliptic leaf springs. Mated to a three-speed gearbox, the Lycoming-sourced straight eight engine was mounted front-to-back in the steel ladder frame. With the input of Van Ranst, this ladder frame reinforced with what was the industry's first X-frame cross brace. The rear suspension consisted of a straightforward beam axle and hydraulic drum brakes were fitted on all four corners. At the front they were mounted in-board, alongside the differential.

The Cord L-29's unconventional drivetrain had the added benefit that there was no need for a propellor shaft to run from the front of the car to the rear differential. As a result, the body could be mounted lower on the frame, which gave the L-29 a unique appeal. While Cord offered rolling chassis for specialist coach-builders to body, most cars were sold with factory bodywork, which ranged from elegant two-door Coupes and Convertibles often finished in bright colours to more formal Limousines and Sedans.

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  Article Image gallery (10) 2926823 Specifications