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1936 Cord 810

1936 Cord 810

Beautifully restored to perfection over 20 years, this 1936 Cord 810 would have to be the most desirable Cord today.
Originally E.L.Cord founded Cord in 1929 and produced front wheel drive cars from 1929 to 1932,  then in 1935 the Cord 810 was designed by Gordon Buehrig and released at the 1935 New York Motor Show. It created a major stir with many orders being taken.
Built by  Auburn / Duesenberg on paper the Cord was set for a rosy future, but reliability problems especially with the pre selector 4 speed gearbox forced delay after delay in promised delivery dates.
Consequently the shrinking lid scenario came into effect as dealers voted with their feet and many forward orders were cancelled.
Same time Auburn and Duesenberg were struggling financially  which put pressure on their Cord division to get the car onto the market without having to spend precious dollars doing it.
This meant a lot of innovation in utilizing what they already had, and have to give them full marks on what they achieved, but it was too late as the cars reputation of poor reliability had taken its toll.

The Cord 810 / 812 was a small car by the 1930’s standard,  was powered by a 289 cu in V8 putting out 125 HP,  or 190 HP supercharged.  This engine was made by Lycoming for Auburn and was a masterpiece of engineering in itself.
Front suspension was independent, and being front wheel drive it had a very low profile which meant running boards were not required.
The pre selector gearbox was operated by electric solenoids and vacuum, and as you will see in this video was very smooth when operating as it should.
Problems included it slipping out of gear, and developing vapor locks in the vacuum system.

Original sales expectations were 1000 per month but during 1936 just 1174 were made.  In 1937 unsold 1936 Cord 810’s were renumbered and marketed as Cord 812’s, and then production stopped.  In 1938 a one-off prototype was made which still exists today, but nothing came of it as the Cord company was sold.
In 1940 Graham Page in an attempt to stay afloat acquired the Cord body dies and produced the Hupmobile Skylark and the Graham Hollywood using conventional front engine rear wheel drive but they too failed to survive.

The Cord had innovations that became standard in many cars, see the video.

Special thanks to Jay Leno’s Garage for this video and road run of his prized Cord 810.
Also big thanks to Wikipedia for their info about Cord.
Photos are screen shots from this video.

Tucker was another innovative car manufacturer with similar pre-select gearbox and front wheel drive.
You can see the review here: