Friday, December 4, 2009

1936 Cord a roadside rarity

What do you do when you drive-by a rough-looking but rare car? You take a photo of it like Michael K. Joachim did. Joachim of Pelham, Alabama spotted this 1936 Cord 810 Westchester at an automotive repair shop in Roswell, Georgia recently. Joachim knew this was a rare car at first glance. "I've never seen one of these outside of a museum," he noted. Joachim found out that the car does run and drive and belongs to a customer at the repair shop.

Cords competed for the American luxury car dollar with Duesenberg and Auburn. Cord built four door sedans along with two and four door convertible phaeton models. All Cords featured front-wheel-drive and V8 engines. Their hide-away headlights are operated by small chrome hand cranks on each side of the dash. Door hinges are mounted inside the doorjambs instead of externally. These features made for a sleek, advanced vehicle in 1936. According to Hemmings Motor News about 3,000 Cords were built in 1936 and 1937 and it is estimated that about 1,800 survive. A 1936 Cord 810 Westchester Sedan sold new for $1,995, and today is worth between $25,000-$60,000 according to Hemmings.

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1936 Cord facts
  • Unit body construction with a front subframe
  • First American car with horn ring on steering wheel 
  • Hidden headlamps
  • All-steel roof on sedans (no fabric insert)
  • No running boards (deemed old fashioned)
  • Gordon Buehrig designed the Cord 810 and 812 models. He also designed  the Deusenberg Model J and the 1935 Auburn 851 boattail Speedster

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