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1936 Cord 810 news, pictures, specifications, and information
Convertible Phaeton Sedan
Designer: Gordon Buehrig
Chassis Num: FB1703
 
Sold for $154,000 at 2006 RM Auctions.
Designed by the legendary car designer Gordon Buehrig, the Cord 810 created a sensation when it debuted at the 1935 New York Auto Show. Also known as the Baby Duesenberg, it was Cord's attempt to market a car priced between the Auburn and the Duesenberg. This model, the 810 Phaeton, sold new for $2,195, a considerable amount of money in 1936. Sadly, Cord's finances couldn't match Buehrig's incredible design and the 810/812 Cord lasted only two years. In 1937, the ACD Automobile Company went out of business, yet another casualty of the Great Depression.

Today, the Cord 810/812 is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cars ever built and was honored by the Museum of Modern Art, which named the 810 Cord as one of the 10 most significant cars of the 20th century. This beautifully restored example is one of a few 810 Phaetons still in existence and has won many awards over the years.
Sedanca de Ville
Coachwork: Derham
Designer: Gordon Buehrig
 
In those early days car companies came and went. Only the strong survived. And so it was that when the Auburn Motor Company found itself in dire straits in 1924 a young Erret (EL) Lobban Cord was brought in to fix the beleaguered company. Cord, former race car driver, mechanic and car salesman, was also an astute businessman. By 1928 he controlled Auburn and a year later created the Cord Corporation as a holding company for what eventually was over 150 companies. Holdings included Duesenberg, Lycoming engines, Checker Cab, as well as aircraft manufacturers, airlines, and shipbuilders. Talented and confident, he positioned Cord between auburn and Duesenberg. The Cord 810 was initially envisioned as a 'baby' Duesenberg, but was rebranded Cord at the last minute. It debuted at the 1935 New York Auto Show and was a hit. The body was the handiwork of rising star and Duesenberg alum Gordon Buehrig who'd been wooed back to the fold from Harley Earl's prestigious GM design stable.

The 810 featured a semi-automatic four-speed transmission that extended in front of the engine, eliminating the need for a transmission tunnel and making for spacious, five-passenger seating. It was also front wheel drive with an independent front suspension. Weighing in at just over two tons, it had 125 horsepower from a high-compression (6.5:1) 289 CID Lycoming-designed V-8.

This car features a Derham-designed three-position disappearing top and a one-piece windshield. It was commissioned by Dr. John Dorrance, founder of Campbell's Soup, for his daughter as a wedding present.

This 1936 Cord 810 Sedanca de Ville is fitted with coachwork by Derham of Resemont, PA. It was built for Mrs. Charlotte Durrance Wright, heiress to the Cambell Soup fortune. The Cord was a wedding present from her father. This Sedanca de Ville features a three-position, three-piece top and is also fitted with a one-piece windshield. The Cord has such outstanding features as hidden headlights, the absence of a running board, and a radio with the antenna under the car.

The car is powered by a 288.6 cubic-inch Lycoming V8 engine developing 125 horsepower. It rides on a 125-inch wheelbase. It has a Bendix pre-selector transmission coupled with front-wheel drive.
Beverly Sedan
Designer: Gordon Buehrig
 
The new car caused a sensation at the 1936 New York Auto Show in November. The crowds around the 810 were so dense, attendees stood on the bumpers of nearby cars to get a look. This was the car of the future. The body design of the Cord 810 was the work of designer Gordon M. Buehrig and his team of stylists. Nearly devoid of chrome, the new car was so low that it required no running boards. Pontoon fenders, wraparound grille and concealed headlights were featured. Its engine-turned aircraft style dashboard featured a tachometer and built-in radio. Mechanically the car was innovative with front wheel drive, a pre-select gear transmission, and a Lycoming engine with performance to match its looks.

Although it was designed and built on a very limited budget during the Great Depression, the 810 sported a few distinctive features and industry firsts, including the 'alligator' hood hinged at the rear, lateral louvers in place of a traditional upright radiator, hidden door hinges, and concealed headlights.

The 125-inch wheelbase was made possible by the 289 cubic-inch 90-degree V-8 Lycoming engine that was specifically revised for front-wheel drive and produced around 125 horsepower. The 1937 models - known as 812s - would offer an optional centrifugal supercharger, producing 195 horsepower.

Other features included a four-speed transmission, a Stromberg dual-downdraft carburetor with a new type of automatic choke, four-wheel hydraulic brakes, and a four-speed pre-selector Bendix transmission with vacuum/electric shifting.

Cord produced around 3,000 of the 810 and 812 models; it is estimated that approximately two-thirds of those cars survive today.

This vehicle is a 1936 Cord 812 Beverly and is owned by the Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg Museum. The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum is located in Auburn, Indiana in the company's magnificent block long art-deco showroom. This example once belonged to its designer, Gordon Buehrig.
Convertible Phaeton Sedan
Designer: Gordon Buehrig
Chassis Num: 2729H
Engine Num: 1562
 
The Cord 810 Phaeton was an impressive vehicle, complete with front wheel drive, pre-selector pneumatic steering and retractable headlights. The radio antenna was hidden adding the vehicles clean lines.

This example has been shown at Meadow Brook and Pebble Beach. It is an Auburn-Cord Duesenberg Club 1st Junior and 2nd Senior on two occasions. It is seen here at the 2007 Hilton Head Concours d'Elegance.

There were approximately 3,000 Cord 810 and 812s produced over a two year period. With a selling price of around $2,000, Cords could not compete with models from GM and Ford where engineering costs could be spread across a much larger number of cars produced. Auburn ceased car production in 1937.

This example was the last Phaeton made in 1935 and has been in the same ownership for nearly two decades.

The Cord Model 810 was introduced in November 1935 at the Los Angeles auto show. It had advanced aerodynamic styling, plus mechanical features that would not be seen again for many decades. With front wheel drive, electric pre-selector shifting, unit body construction, retractable lights and optional supercharging, they were certainly ahead of their time.
Westchester Sedan
Designer: Gordon Buehrig
Chassis Num: 2307A
 
Sold for $60,500 at 2008 RM Auctions.
The Cord 810 Sedan was named the Westchester after the New York City suburb which, during the 1930s, was synonymous with wealth and good taste. It had very unique styling and was well ahead of its time. It was aerodynamic and elegant, and caused a sensation where it traveled. At the front was the trademark 'coffin nose' hood that concealed the 288.6 cubic-inch Lycoming V8 engine. A total of 1629 Cord 810s were constructed in 1936 with each different bodystyle being a rarity in modern times.

This example is finished in ivory color and has traveled 64,865 miles during its lifetime. Several years ago, it was treated to a complete restoration and has been maintained with several extensive cosmetic refurbishing since that time. Most of its chrome, glass, and rubber are new. The interior is white-trimmed burgundy and mounted on all four corners are period-correct Firestone wide whitewall tires.

In 2008 this Cord 810 Westchester Sedan was brought to the Automobiles of Amelia presented by RM Auctions where it was estimated to sell for $60,000 - $80,000. The car was offered without reserve. The estimates proved to be accurate and the car was sold for a high bid of $60,500 including buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008
Westchester Sedan
Designer: Gordon Buehrig
 
When introduced at the 1935 New York Auto Show, the 810 created such a sensation and crowds, that attendees stood on the bumpers of the other display cars just to get a glimpse of the future. Today, the Museum of Modern Art has named the 810/812 as one of the top ten finest industrial styles of all time. The Gordon Buehrig design is sleek, low, and devoid of running boards, the door hinges and headlights are concealed, the fenders pontoon to surround a wrap-around grill, and the dashboard is in an aircraft style. The mechanics are equally unique with front-wheel drive and a Lycoming 288 cubic-inch 125 horsepower engine. The Auburn Automobile Company produced Cord 810 was priced at $2,195.
Cabriolet
Designer: Gordon Buehrig
 
E.L. Cord was the founder of the Cord automobile. The body design of the 810 was the work of designer Gordon M. Buehrig and his team of stylists.

The artistic styling included a coffin-nose, pontoon fenders (sans running boards), retractable headlights, rear hinged doors and an art-deco dashboard. There were four different designs - 2 coupes and 2 convertibles. The coupes were called Westchester's and Beverely's while the convertibles were four-seater Phaetons and the rare two-seater Cabriolets such as this example.

The price when new was $3,100 and only 205 Cabriolets were built in their two year period of production. This car is powered by a Lycoming L-Head V8 with a 288 cubic-inch 125 horsepower engine and an electric vacuum operated pre-select 4-speed shifter.

The 810 caused quite a stir at the 1936 New York Auto Show, and the design of the 810 remains one of the most distinctive of the 20th century. In 1996, American Heritage Magazine called the 810 'The Single Most Beautiful American Car.'
Convertible Phaeton Sedan
Designer: Gordon Buehrig
 
It was Gordon M. Buehrig and his team of stylists who designed the body for the Cord 810. Virtually devoid of chrome, the new car was so low it required no running boards. Pontoon fenders were featured, complete with headlights that disappeared via dashboard-mounted hand cranks. A Lycoming V8 engine powered the car, which was among the first to have front-wheel drive as well as numerous other innovations. This particular Cord has been the property of a Cord collector and enthusiast Ric Simpson since 1959. The car was purchased as a very poor 'hot rod' and it took the owner eight years to complete its initial restoration. The second restoration took 5,000 hours and three years.
Convertible Coupe
Designer: Gordon Buehrig
Chassis Num: FB2540
 
Sold for $181,500 at 2009 RM Auctions.
Sold for $198,000 at 2011 Worldwide Auctioneers.
This 1936 Cord 810 Convertible Coupe was purchased by Dr. Atwood from a California owner in 1984. A restoration soon followed bringing it back to sound mechanical and cosmetic condition. After the work, the car earned its AACA National First Junior and Senior awards and its Grand National First status in 1986, and Preservation in 1987.

It is painted in black and has a tan canvas top and brown leather upholstery, with matching interior panels. Brown carpeting is matched by the lining in the trunk. The odometer reads 95,519 miles.

There were just 194 examples of the Convertible Coupes construction out of a total 2,900 810 and 812 Cords produced during the 18 months of production. Just 63 were fitted with superchargers.

In 2009, this Convertible Coupe was offered for sale at the Automobiles of Arizona auction presented by RM Auctions. The car was expected to sell for $175,000 - $225,000 and was offered without reserve. As bidding came to a close the lot had been sold for the sum of $181,500 including buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2009
Beverly Sedan
Designer: Gordon Buehrig
 
The Cord 810 featured disappearing headlights, a 'coffin nose' hood, and an aircraft-style instrument panel. Thanks to its low profile, it did not have running boards. It was built by the Auburn Automobile Company, which was owned by E.L. Cord.

The 810 was powered by a V-eight motor by Lycoming Motors (another Cord-controlled company) that developed 125 horsepower.

Four body styles were available on the 810: a Beverly sedan, a Sportsman, a Phaeton and the Westchester sedan. Base price of the Westchester sedan was $1,995.

This Cord 810 is especially significant since it was formerly owned by its original designer, Gordon M. Buehrig, who also designed automobiles for Auburn and Duesenberg. Many years after its original introduction, this car was presented to him by his wife as a birthday gift. Following his death, the car was donated to the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Automobile Museum in Auburn, Indiana.
Beverly Sedan
Designer: Gordon Buehrig
 
President Roosevelt requested that the 1936 automobile show be moved up to mid-November from the scheduled mid-January dates. As the Auburn Automotive Company had chosen their new 810 Cord to make its debut at the show, the company now had only seven and one-half months to get the Cord ready to exhibit. The Automobile Manufacturing Association only allowed production vehicle to be exhibited, which meant Cord had to produce at least 100 examples. Auburn attempted to build the 100 needed Cords by hand in 116 days. This example is one of the hand built prototypes and is restored as a show car with copper accents.

In 1936, the Cord 810 Sedan sold new for $1,995. Power was from a 289 cubic-inch Lycoming V-8 engine offering 125 horsepower.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2010
Convertible Coupe
Designer: Gordon Buehrig
 
Cord produced approximately three thousand 1936 and 1937 Cords, and only three of them were hardtop coupes and only one of them was like this vehicle. Robert A. Stranahan, Sr., President and founder of Champion Sparkplugs, commissioned this one-of-a-kind Cord to be built by himself. There are many unique features included in this car, including chromed Auburn headlights, a padded leather top, an Auburn hood ornament, and LaSalle ventports on the sides of the hood. After having been in Ohio and abused in California, the Cord was discovered in Montreal, Canada in very decrepit condition by an Auburn Cord Duesenberg enthusiast. After a multi-year restoration, this one-of-a-kind Cord was donated to the ACD Museum.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2010

Source - ACD Museum
Westchester Sedan
Designer: Gordon Buehrig
 
The Cord 810 made its introduction at the 1936 auto shows in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Show rules required that 100 cars had to be produced in order to be displayed. Auburn built the 100 cars in 116 days, just in time for New York. The show car, with copper accents, was very well received.

This car is one of 22 exported to Canada. It was disassembled in the 1940s and stored in a shed for 30 years. It was re-assembled in the 1970s. The current owner purchased the car in the mid-1990s and restored it to the beautiful condition you see today.

By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2012
Convertible Phaeton Sedan
Designer: Gordon Buehrig
 
The descendent of the L-29, the Cord 810, was intended to be a 'baby Duesenberg.' Its 1935 debut featured the iconic 'coffin-nose' hood. The Gordon Buehrig design was sleek, stylish and unique.

Its short 125-inch wheelbase was made possible by the 289 cubic-inch, 90-degree V-8 Lycoming engine that was specifically revised for front-wheel drive and produced around 125 horsepower.

It featured a four-speed transmission, a Stromberg dual-downdraft carburetor with an automatic choke, four-wheel hydraulic brakes, and a four-speed pre-selector Bendix transmission with vacuum/electric shifting.

This is an early model of the 404 Cord 810 Phaetons produced. It also features many of the optional accessories featured in the Cord-Approved Accessories factory brochure: Bumper guards, fog lights, an ashtray, deluxe heater/windshield defroster, license plate frames, and radio. It also features the exceptionally rare compass and trunk luggage rack that were shown in the original Cord factory photograph.

It was acquired by the current owner in 2000. It underwent an extensive eleven-year restoration, and was back on the road for Cord's 75th anniversary in 2011. It debuted at the Auburn National Reunion and received first place in the Primary division. It has also been awarded First Place Senior in 2012 and First Place Senior Emeritus in 2013.
Westchester Sedan
Designer: Gordon Buehrig
Chassis Num: 810 1376A
Engine Num: FB 2609
 
Sold for $77,000 at 2013 RM Auctions.
The Cord 810 was powered by a Lycoming V-8 engine and mated to a four-speed, electrically-shifted, pre-selector transmission. This was actually E.L. Cord's second attempt at a front-wheel drive automobile. It wore a body designed by Gordon Buehrig which featured a louvered hood with a blunt nose, earning it the nickname 'coffin nose.' It had a 'step-down' floor, unitary construction, hidden door hinges, and was devoid of running boards.

It made its debut in November of 1935 at the New York Auto Show.

This particular example is a 810 Westchester Sedan. It lacks the side exhaust or bustle-back trunk added on later models.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2016
Convertible Phaeton Sedan
Designer: Gordon Buehrig
 
This Cord Convertible Phaeton is one of about 600 built. The Gordon Buehrig designed body was a bold step forward in automotive design. Its blunt louvered 'coffin nose' hood, retractable headlights and the absence of running boards were revolutionary. Cords have front-wheel drive, unit body construction and are powered by a Lycoming V-8 engine with a pre-selector, electro pneumatically shifted transmission. Orders streamed into the factory after being introduced at the 1935 New York Auto Show, but quickly diminished after production delays and quality flaws exceeded prospective purchaser's patience.

This 810 series was delivered new by the Cord factory agency in Los Angeles, California with Supercharger trim installed. One former owner was Robert C. Stemple, former President and CEO of General Motors.
Westchester Sedan
Designer: Gordon Buehrig
Chassis Num: 1113A
Engine Num: FB24F
 
Sold for $90,750 at 2016 Motostalgia.
This Cord 810 Westchester is finished in Ivory White with an interior done in shades of dark blue with gray broadcloth. It appears to have been treated to a cosmetic restoration several years ago and is quite presentable today.
By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2016
Sportsman
Chassis Num: 810 2533 F
Engine Num: 1879
 
Sold for $159,500 at 2015 RM Auctions.
Sold for $143,000 at 2016 Gooding & Company.
This Cabriolet Sportsman was discovered behind a gas station in North Portland in 1971. It was given a restoration and finished in Cigarette Cream over black leather. The car was fitted with the improved front axle U-Joints that allowed for comfort and reliability on long distance journeys. The car has its original bronze windshield frame, a correct accessory ashtray, and a rebuilt original radio. The original engine, FB 1742, was changed out for another many years ago. The original serial number tag remains on the car.

A prior owner enjoyed this Cabriolet Sportsman for 44 years.

By Daniel Vaughan | May 2016
Westchester Sedan
Designer: Gordon Buehrig
 
Errett Lobban Cord's ultimate creations were the Cord 810 and the supercharged 812, both of which featured a front-wheel-drive system pioneered by Harry Miller on the racing circuit. The Cord 810 debuted to rapturous reviews in November 1935, and an example eventually made its way into the Museum of Modern Art in New York. This Cord has a 125 horsepower Lycoming V8 engine combined with a Bendix 4-speed pre-selector gearbox tucked inside designer Gordon Buehrig's iconic 'coffin-nose' body. Created for a General Motors styling competition, the body design was way ahead of its time and failed to impress styling boss Harley Earl, but it was admired by Buehrig's fellow designers as well as E.L. Cord. Sadly, although the 810 caught the imagination of the press, Cord was in financial trouble and only 3,000 of the 810/812 series were built before production came to a halt in August 1937.
The Cord was owned by Auburn, Cord, and Duesenberg. Thus their similarities in vehicle design. These three firms also owned the Lycoming engine manufacturing company. This company supplied the 289 cubic-inch V8 engine that gave this vehicle life. The engine was rated at 125 horsepower, with the supercharger the horsepower increased to 170 bhp. The 125hp engine was capable of 90 miles-per-hour with a zero-to-sixty rating of about 20 seconds. A four-speed pre-selector was used, and the wheels were fitted with drum brakes.
The Gordon Beuhrig design is very classic, clean and inspired by aviation. The hood was called the 'Coffin Nose' look for obvious reasons. The hood, when opened, would open upwards. The windshield was split in the middle and was small in comparison to other vehicles. This was due to the room needed by the massive V8. The front had a chrome bumper and a wrap-around grill. Two lights were attached to the bumper and two retractable lights were hidden in the front wheel covers.

Production began for the Cords in 1936 and sales were steady. However, the company itself was not doing as well. The industry was very tough during that era due to many obstacles such as competition.

In 1937 the car was renamed to the 812 and included a few modifications. The 812S were supercharged and had chromed exhaust pipes attached to the side. It was too little, too late. Production ceased later that year due to company financial problems.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2006
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810/812
L-29

1937 810 Image Right
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