Cord HistorySource: Gooding & Company
Super-salesman Erret Lobban 'E.L.' Cord saved the Auburn Automobile Company in the mid-1920s by taking their drab sedans, repainting them in spiffy colors and aggressively promoting them throughout the country. Having saved Auburn, he then bought the company in 1928 and proceeded to build a steady flow of very good-looking Auburns, including the stunning boattail speedster. In 1929, Cord announced a car carrying his own name: a front-wheel-drive luxury automobile with extremely low lines and ravishing good looks. To complete his whirlwind year of automotive activity, he also produced the mighty Model J Duesenberg, completing plans for his very own automotive empire.
L-29 Cord production ceased after two years, but E.L. had another car in the works - a 'Baby Duesenberg,' also a front-driver, but with V-8 power from his Lycoming Engine Company and priced in the upper-medium band. Called the Cord 810, this car was created to help Auburn Automobile out of the deep financial hole that dismal sales during the worst years of the Depression had caused. A totally clean-sheet design by the hugely talented Gordon Buchrig, it debuted at the 1935 New York Auto Show and was the hands-down hit of that event with its 'coffin nose' front styling, retractable headlamps, lack of running boards, and sleek, integrated shape. Cord salesman couldn't write orders fast enough.
However, teething troubles with the cars themselves, along with assembly line glitches plus a financial pinch, made for a slow delivery of Cords, and the first cars didn't get into owners' garages until mid-1936. With Auburns and Duesenbergs halted after 1936, the Cord was continued into 1937. But on August 7, 1937, the last Cord rolled off the assembly line and the glory days of Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg came to an abrupt end. In its two years of existence less than 3,000 Cord 810s and 812s had been built.