Art Deco Automobiles
1930 Cord L-29 Cabriolet
Fascination with automobiles transcends age, gender, and environment. While today automotive manufacturers often strive for economy and efficiency, there was a time when elegance reigned. Influenced by the Art Deco movement that began in Paris in the early 1920s and propelled to prominence with the success of the International Exposition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts in 1925, automakers embraced the sleek new streamlined forms and aircraft-inspired materials, creating memorable automobiles that still thrill all who see them.
Sensuous Steel: Art Deco Automobiles at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, Tennessee, is an exhibition from some of the most renowned car collections in the United States. Inspired by the Frist Center’s historic Art Deco building, this exhibition features spectacular automobiles and motorcycles from the 1930s and ‘40s that exemplify the classic elegance, luxurious materials, and iconography of motion that characterizes vehicles influenced by the Art Deco style.
With the Art Deco style so iconic in Miami Beach, South Florida Opulence thought you’d enjoy a front-and-center look at some of the very classic cars that likely cruised down the streets of South Beach. Buckle up and enjoy the ride!
Errett Lobban Cord rose to national prominence after rescuing the Auburn Automobile Company of Auburn, Indiana, in 1928. Seeing an opportunity for a uniquely engineered luxury automotive brand, Cord encouraged Fred and August Duesenberg to build what he envisioned as America’s finest motorcar. Noted racecar constructor Harry A. Miller was retained to engineer a radical front-drive chassis. The innovative and luxurious L-29 Cord was unfortunately introduced just as the New York Stock Market crashed.
The lowslung bodylines were exquisite. Features include an Art Deco styled transaxle cover, an elegant streamlined grille that evoked the styling of Harry Miller’s racing cars, sweeping clamshell fenders, and a low roofline. These are embellished by myriad Art Deco styled details ranging from accented fender trim, tapered headlamp shapes, etched door-handle detailing and tiny, but exquisite instrument panel dials.
The L-29 Cord’s art modern styling and engineering prowess attracted buyers of taste and style who were not afraid to try something different. Owners included the era’s most prominent and controversial architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, who bought a new L-29 Convertible Phaeton in 1929. Wright had many of his cars painted in a bright hue called Taliesin orange.
This stunning Delahaye was one of French coachbuilders Joseph Figoni‘s and Ovidio Falaschi’s first aerodynamic coupe designs. The coupe’s striking design emphasized flowing lines with teardrop-shaped chrome accents on the hood and the front and rear fenders. The door handles and headlights were flush with the body. The dashboard was made of rich, golden wood, a Figoni & Falaschi signature. A sliding metal sunroof and a windshield that opened outward at the bottom afforded ventilation.
A French racing driver named Albert Perrot commissioned this coupe. The Comtesse de la Saint Amour de Chanaz displayed it at a concours d’elegance in Cannes. It was successfully hidden from the Germans during World War II. After the war, it reportedly belonged to actress Dolores del Rio, a well-known owner of exotic cars who lived in Mexico City and Los Angeles.