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Cord Automobiles

Pictures of Cord Automobiles from car shows, car museums and classic car auctions across the U.S.

1937 Cord 812 Beverly Sedan - Tampa Bay Automobile Museum
1937 Cord 812 Beverly Sedan - Tampa Bay Automobile Museum

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Cord History

Born in Warrenburg, Missouri, in 1894, Everett Lobban Cord was no stranger to automobiles. His ventures included building racing bodies on Model T Fords, operating a trucking company, becoming vice-president and general manager of the Chicago distributor for Moon cars and, in 1924, serving as General Manager of the Auburn Automobile Company. By 1929, Cord had turned the failing company into a very successful concern by purchasing other companies which included Duesenberg and Lycoming. Wanting to produce a car bearing his own name, plans began for a Cord automobile.

The Cord automobile debuted in 1929 as a midprice offering between the Auburn and Duesenberg marques owned by Errett L. Cord. The L-29 Cord had a 125-horsepower inline eight-cylinder Lycoming engine mounted backward to accommodate the car?s unique front-wheel-drive.

The Cord was a part of an empire owned by its namesake, E.L. Cord that included auto makers Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg, and Checker Motors. Additionally, E.L. Cord owned Lycoming Manufacturing Company (engines), Limousine Body Company and Central Manufacturing Company (auto bodies), and Century Airlines, among others.

Cord L-29

Cord launched the L-29 for the 1930 model year. The Classic Cord L-29 had front-wheel drive powered by a redesigned 299-cid 125-bhp straight-eight engine that had to be mounted "backward" with the transmission toward the front of the car. The 137.5-inch wheelbase provided the length necessary.

The new Cord proved to popular with celebrities and custom bodies were provided by several coachbuilders.

Four basic bodies were offered by Cord: a brougham, cabriolet, phaeton, and a four-door sedan. The sedan was the least expensive at $3,095.

During its production run from 1929 to 1932, 5010 Cord L-29 chassis were built.

Cord 810/812 Beverly

Cord next produced the Model 810, also a front-whell drive like the L-29. Designed by Gordon M. Buehrig, their styling was a radical departure from the typical design. These models featured a massive coffin-nosed hood with a wrap-around grille, pontoon front fenders, center hinged doors, and lower body sills that eliminated traditional running boards, and the first disappearing headlamps (retracted by hand-cranks on either side of the steering wheel). The Model 810 was considered the best looking car at the 1935 New York Automobile Show.

Despite many orders at the show, the 810 did not go into production until February, 1936, by which time many customers had become impatient and had cancelled their orders. This fact, combined with problems with the transmission and overheating, dampened Model 810 sales and only 1,174 were built in 1936.

A longer wheelbase and a chauffeur's division were offered in 1937, together with an optional supercharger on 810/812 models. Only 1,146 1937 Cords were sold before production ceased.

The front-wheel drive 1936 and 1937 Cord models were some of the most visually striking, novel, and mechanically advanced automobiles of the day.

Cord Production


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