Bob Lavinia's 1932 Cord L-29 Cabriolet captured the Chairman's Award. Photos courtesy Palos Verdes Concours d'Elegance.

With Cord named as a featured marque of this year's Palos Verdes Concours d'Elegance, it stands to reason that a Cord would capture a top award at the show.

In fact, two Cord L-29 models earned key trophies event, with a 1932 Cord L-29 Cabriolet owned by Bob Lavinia of Paradise Valley, Arizona, taking the Chairman's Award and a 1930 Cord L-29 Murphy Town Car owned by the Nethercutt Collection in Sylmar, California, winning the Most Elegant Award.

Best known as the first front-wheel-drive American car, the Cord L-29 was aimed at the technology-savvy buyer who wanted luxury, but not at the price of a Duesenberg.

Engineered by racer and car builder Cornelius VanRanst (who had achieved success with a front-drive racer of his own design), the Cord L-29 boasted unsurpassed cabin room, thanks to its alternative driveline layout.

Period magazines also cited a host of front-drive advantages, including easier steering, reduced chassis strain, better tire economy and "applying the driving force always in the direction of movement."

How many of these points were valid remains debatable, but they certainly made an argument that front-wheel drive was the wave of the future.

Power came from a 298-cu.in. inline eight-cylinder engine that produced 125 horsepower and gave the L-29 a top speed up to 90 MPH, depending upon the body ordered.

Buyers could choose between John Oswald-styled bodies, including a six-window sedan, a four-door brougham, a convertible sedan and a convertible coupe. Those seeking a higher degree of exclusivity could opt for custom bodies from coachbuilders like LeGrande, Murphy, LeBaron, Hayes and Weymann, and coincidentally both a Cord-bodied L-29 and a Murphy-bodied L-29 stood out from the crowd in Redondo Beach.

Capturing the Chairman's Award was a 1932 Cord L-29 Cabriolet, owned by Bob Lavinia of Paradise Valley, Arizona. One of just 58 examples built in the L-29's final year of production, Bob's pale yellow Cord placed third in the Cord Class at the Palos Verdes Concours d'Elegance, and was displayed earlier this year at the inaugural Arizona Concours d'Elegance.

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