Minimize   Cord Automobile 1936 - 1937
 
The Cord is considered by many to be the one of the best-looking cars ever built. When the Cord 810 hit the automotive show scene in the fall of 1935, it caught the attention of the entire automotive world, and almost overnight every other car became obsolete when compared to the smooth and radical new design.
Eager to get the Cords displayed at the 1935 New York auto show, some “rules were bent” to get the car on display. Cars were supposed to be complete and road-worthy, and it was supposed to be a requirement of the show was that 100 examples had to have been built to be eligible for display. Working under incredibly tight deadlines, the Connersville crew assembled the cars with non-working transmissions in place of the real ones which were not ready in time. Only 11 cars were actually assembled by the time they went on display.
 
The Cord was built with technical innovations unavailable on any other car of its time. These included:
 
    • A front-opening coffin-nosed hood with integrated wraparound grille assembly of horizontal louvers.
    • A unibody construction with subframe, and front-wheel drive. (The frame rails extended forward from the firewall.)
    • Independent front Suspension which used a transverse leaf spring attached to longitudinal arms.
    • Huge flaired front fenders which incorporated the automotive industry's first mechanically operated disappearing headlights.
    • A Bendix electrically operated "Finger-Tip Gear Control" unit was used to shift gears, using a small selector mounted on the steering column
    • Center-hinged doors with concealed hinges
    • A sharply-angled split-pane windshield
    • An elegant, sloped rear end and a roomy interior.
    • Flush-mounted tail lamps and fuel filler cap, and an illuminated number plate carrier on the trunk lid.
 
The Cord was also nearly a foot lower (300mm) than the average 1936 Sedan with no running boards. Chrome was limited to the bumpers, windshield frames, hubcaps and handles, and grille trim. Instruments were round “air plane-style” gauges, and the switches styled like airplane throttles.
 
The Cord was offered in the '36 model year in four body styles: the Westchester sedan, the Beverly sedan, the Cabriolet or convertible coupe, and the Phaeton or convertible sedan. Prices were as follows:
1936 Cord 810 Westchester Sedan priced at $1,995
1936 Cord 810 Beverly Sedan priced at $2,095
1936 Cord 810 Convertible Coupe priced at $2,145
1936 Cord 810 Convertible Sedan priced at $2,195
 
Only 1174 Cord 810's were built. In early 1937 the Model 810, was replaced by the Model 812.
With all its innovations and its outstanding design, the Cord was perhaps a bit too far ahead of its time in several ways....
 
The company received a surge of orders when the 1936 Cord 810 was released and short-cuts were taken in the production line. The huge demand for orders caught the production plant unprepared. Technical problems also became apparent as they do with almost any all-new car. The main ones were: chronic overheating, noisy transmission and noisy U-joints. The front-wheel-drive power-train also had problems with wearing in the joints that caused a noise and some cars leaked badly whenever it rained. Due to these delays and problems, many orders were cancelled.
Eventually these and the other "bugs" were exterminated. In 1937 to try and boost sales, Cord offered a supercharger that added 45 more horse-power to the engine. The practical function of the stunning looking chrome pipes was to lower temperatures under the hood by getting the hot pipes "outdoors". Their real purpose was to serve as an identifying mark for the supercharged cars. They also offered a Custom Series including a Beverly sedan and a Berline, built on a wheelbase of 132 inches.
 
Even with all the new offerings and improvements, it was too late to save the Marque. The lingering after-effects of the depression also had an influence - with the Cord being one of the most expensive cars in the market, sales remained low and many cheaper alternatives were bought instead. The Cord Corporation was also in the midst of hard times financially, and the company was finally sold to New York financiers.
Before Cord ceased production in 1937, a combined total of just under 3,000 810s and 812s were produced. Estimates of cars manufactured range from 2,972 to 2,999 units, of which approximately 300 Right hand drive cars were manufactured for export to Argentina, England and South Africa.
 
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. Many of the innovations featured on the 810 can still be seen on today's cars. The 810 even experienced racing success, winning the 24-hour Stevens Trophy Challenge at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
 
Today Cords are in demand by classic auto collectors all over the world. In 2004 at the Barrett-Jackson sale in the USA, a supercharged 1937 Cord 812 Phaeton sold for a record-high $324,000, and a 1936 810 Sportsman roadster, for $201,960. Although these were both exceptional restorations, it shows that Cords continue to appreciate in value.
    

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