VERY RARE CLASSIC CORD IN GOOD CONDITION. DRIVES VERY WELL. THIS WAS ONE OF THE FIRST FRONT WHEEL DRIVE CARS IN HISTORY. NOT MANY OF THESE IN EXISTENCE, THIS WOULD BE AN EXCELLENT ADDITION TO ANY CAR COLLECTION. CALL (800) 231-3616 FOR MORE DETAILS. A Little Cord History:
The "coffin-nosed" Cord was named for company owner, Errett Lobban Cord, and designed by Gordon Buehrig. Although development was done somewhat hastily, and on a strict, Depression-limited budget, the shape was well ahead of its time.
Its streamlined styling, pontoon fenders, pop-up headlights, chiseled alligator-style hood, and then-radical powertrain—a Lycoming-built, 288.6-ci V8 making 125 hp, fed through a four-speed transaxle with front-wheel drive—made it a standout among its upright and boxy rivals. A Bendix electrically operated "Finger-Tip Gear Control" unit was used to shift gears, using a small selector mounted on the steering column. (Hudson offered a similar setup called "The Electric Hand.") The Cord's instrument panel was a work of art with large analog gauges including a tachometer, backed by an engine-turned insert.
An Art Deco masterpiece, the Cord 810 was introduced at the 1935 New York auto show. The cars were slow to reach volume production and early models suffered from oiling and overheating problems. Cord management sent out handsome bronze Cord model cars (now a treasured piece of automobilia) to placate the first 100 "early adopters," many of whom waited six months for their deliveries.
Once production was underway, the cars were offered in several open and closed body styles, including a roadster, a convertible (known as the Phaeton), and a brace of sedans—the five-passenger Westchester and the four-passenger Beverly. Prices ranged from $2,070 for the Westchester to $2,270 for the Phaeton.
Cord did not offer a coupe, but using an existing roadster chassis and parts from a leftover show body, the factory custom-built one hardtop coupe for a Mr. Billy Connors of Marion, IN. It's reliably believed that at least two more such coupes were subsequently constructed.
A few minor changes in 1937 caused Cord to change the model designation to 812. Some 812s were just unsold and renumbered 810s, adding to subsequent confusion on production numbers. The 812 featured an optional Schwitzer-Cummins centrifugal supercharger that added $415 to the selling price, and boosted output to an advertised 170 hp. Some 688 812s were sold with superchargers, and as many as 730 superchargers were built. Most supercharged 812s featured Alex Temulis-designed external exhaust pipes running from the hood sides into the fenders.
There was arguably no faster car in America than a supercharged Cord. One famous advertisement showed a distinguished-looking man driving his Sportsman with the headline, "A Champion Never Pushes People Around." The copy went on to say that this particular gent was so secure driving "the King of the Highway" that "any driver that passes the Super-Charged Cord does so only with the Cord driver's permission."
Just under 3,000 810s and 812s were produced before Cord ceased production in 1937; estimates range from 2,972 to 2,999 units. Truly ahead of its time, the Cord enjoys an enthusiastic following today with the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Club and its impressive museum in Auburn, IN.
As a measure of the Cord's desirability, at the same 2004 Barrett-Jackson sale, a supercharged 1937 Cord 812 Phaeton sold for a record-high $324,000, and a 1936 810 Sportsman roadster brought $201,960. These were both exceptional restorations, to be sure, but proof that Cords are still appreciating in value.
Gateway Classic Cars - St. Louis
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