Category: Cord

Is it a Cord? Is it a Corvette? Or is Marty Martino’s latest creation, the CordVette, the best of both cars? – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

Is it a Cord? Is it a Corvette? Or is Marty Martino’s latest creation, the CordVette, the best of both cars? – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


For a vehicle that only lasted a couple years on the market, Gordon Buehrig’s Cord 810 and 812 have sure had an outsize influence on car designers and enthusiasts ever since. David North, Stan Wilen, and Bill Mitchell packed the Oldsmobile Toronado with all sorts of design elements paying homage to the Toronado’s front-wheel-drive predecessor. Multiple customizers through the Fifties tried their hand at making a sports car out of the coffin-nose Cord. And on at least three occasions, entrepreneurs have resurrected or attempted to resurrect the Cord. So Marty Martino’s really just following in a grand tradition by building a modern Cord out of the bones of a fifth-generation Corvette.

“I never thought of this project as a ‘sport custom’ in the traditional way, but being that it’s a one-off Cord-inspired design, I now see it as a continuation of the genre,” Marty said after reading our recent story on Fifties-era sport-custom Cords.

The roots of the project date back to the late Eighties, when Automobile Quarterly ran a design contest asking for its readers to envision the Cord 810, Tucker 48, or Packard Caribbean as they would have appeared in 1990. “What really made the contest exciting to me was that it was to be judged by Alex Tremulis, Frank Hershey, Dick Teague, Bill Mitchell, Chuck JordanJack Telnack, and Dave Holls, many of my automotive heroes!” Marty said.

Marty’s updated Cord 810/812 rendering.

Marty selected the 810, and while the phone-dial wheels, wraparound indent, and jellybean taillamps all reflect the era in which he re-envisioned the Cord, the coupe managed to blend the original’s subtly stepped fastback, haunches, hidden headlamps in winglike fenders, and speed line grille in with contemporary shape and proportions. The entry made it into print as one of four runner-up designs that the judges chose. Not bad, Marty thought, considering “most of the entrants were accomplished illustrator/designers, students at Art Center, and so on,” he said.

The rendering got filed away until about a decade ago, when Marty’s younger brother, Robert, expressed an interest in building a modern Cord using a Corvette as the donor car. Robert, according to Marty, “had long held 1936 and 1937 Cords as his favorite prewar car design… and considers the Cord Sportsman the Corvette of its day.”

They figured the fifth-generation Corvette would work best for this project given that Marty had already built the PsyClone Motorama tribute car from a C5 and that both the C5 and the Cord had hideaway headlamps. Robert wanted a convertible, so the brothers found a profile shot of a C5 Corvette, laid it on a lightbox, then drafted the CordVette’s design on a blank piece of paper above the profile shot using many of the same elements and lines that Marty had incorporated into his Automobile Quarterly rendering. Marty also did a little Bondo sculpting on a 1/25-scale model of a C5 to see his alterations in three dimensions.

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Gold Bars, Refused Registrations, Unfounded Rumors, and a Devastating Fire: The Curious Case of the Cord Comet – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


“Is it real?” David Paynter heard the question often enough when showing off the custom front-wheel-drive sports car known as the Cord Comet, and he was never quite sure how to answer it. “Compared to what?” he’d usually respond.

So much of the story of the Comet does seem unreal, from its origins to the minimal attention it’s received since the one time it appeared on the cover of a magazine 70 years ago. In fact, it takes on the elements of a fever dream with colorful characters, implausible situations, and the element of fire. But it is indeed real, as current and past owners can attest.

According to its serial number, 310046S, the Cord came from the factory as a 1937 812 long-wheelbase Custom Beverly sedan. According to the February 1951 issue of Motorsport, it eventually wound up in the hands of Martin De Alzaga Unzue, who believed that by slicing off the Beverly’s back half – chassis and all – then combining it with the front half from another Cord chassis mounted in the rear, he’d not only have a vehicle with front and rear independent suspensions, he’d also be able to make a sports car out of the supercharged Cord. He only got as far as stitching the chassis together before selling the project to Long Island advertising manager Stanley Kramer. Kramer, in turn, had a custom roadster body built for the chassis and completed it sometime before its feature in the magazine, then turned right around and listed it for sale later that year.

The Comet next turned up in an Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg publication in June 1959, looking much like it did in 1951, though with a soft top. ACD Club founder Harry Denhard supplied the picture, noting that it belonged to a neighbor of his in upstate Greenville, New York, and that “it is in excellent condition.” Denhard wrote that the “paint is fair, but chrome is starting to go. The present owner plans to fix it up and install doors and side curtains, etc.” As we see in later photos below, doors did make it on to the car, though it’s uncertain whether the side curtains did as well.

According to Paynter, by the spring of 1978 the Comet had traveled much farther north, to Canton, New York, where a Cord collector and dealer had listed it in Hemmings Motor News. “He told me the story that it had been built for racing, but abandoned in 1949 when the Jag 120 came out,” Paynter said, noting that it had a 1949 New York tax sticker still on the windscreen. “It then went to rod and Cord people. The dealer had two other Cords for sale, but the supercharged convert was the one for me.”

Paynter, a California-based lawyer, was then on sabbatical from his law firm and living on a farm in northern Vermont, so he bought it and towed it there as his sabbatical project. “Cleaned up, it got to the point of cranking, catching, and going silent. I then discovered that the distributor was not wired to the supercharged configuration and once done she fired on the second crank,” he wrote. “The transmission took another month and then we were on the road, sorta.

“While he tried to register the Cord in Vermont, he said the state’s DMV refused to accept the bill of sale “because no one can buy a supercharged 812 for that amount of money,” Paynter recalled. So he waited until he returned to California, the Comet in tow “in various house furniture moving vans,” rebuilt the car, and continued working on it, to some degree of success.

The car’s springs had been lowered by removing leaves, and she was always too close to the ground. I tried to fit a factory spring in the back, but couldn’t attach it. It was too scary to try and fit it in front. Accordingly she  nose dived and then lifted when she hit a bump. It was a blast!

I always loved the line and style as did anyone who saw it. The Comet was a sleek, unique auto of rare Art Deco styling sort of as if Cord had hired Darrin for a showcar.

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1937 Samco Cord Replica – @Hemmings


Seller’s Description:

Here is another of our popular 1937 Cord replicas. this one is also factory built by Samco in 1970 & is the Warrior model, 302 V8 Ford, automatic, Power Brakes & Steering, rear jump seat, like new tan top, rich red interior, luggage rack with rear spare, CD player, suicide doors, 1 piece body, & now 48 years old!! 220HP, heater etc.

This is one of the coolest looking replicas ever built. 1937 Cord that was factory built in 1970 by Sports Automobile Maufacturing Company in Tulsa, Oklahoma- SAMCO & the model is the Warrior, & our other one listed in the Royale. has the famous Coffin Nose grille, front & rear Cord bumpers, & still powered by the peppy 220 HP Ford 5.0 liter 302 V8 engine with the 3 speed C4 automatic transmission, Power brakes & Power steering, heater. Just rebuilt the carburetor, new plugs, points ,cap etc. Thick suicide doors with lift out side windows, rear jump seat, like new tan top, & titled as a 1970 Cord, rich red interior, side supercharger pipes, luggage rack with rear spare tire, Michelin radials, Cord front emblem, new CD player just installed, full tilt up front end for easy engine access, chrome air cleaner & custom valve covers, very clean engine area, 1 piece body, 2900 pounds with 108″ wheelbase, wood grain dash with custom steering wheel, 3 rear view mirrors, seat belts, 6 black face classic styled gauges, tinted glass, 2 piece windshield, & showing 43,000 miles in 48 years!! paint is peeling in some areas, & tach isn’t working right, runs & drives great, has a clean Florida tile in Bobs Classics Inc. name. and being 48 years old now, its actually a classic, even being a replica, & exempt from all emissions, & eligible for antique tags in most states. only 400 cars were ever built from 1968 to 1970. Vin# is 099W1127F a lot of car for only $22,900.!! that’s all $22,900.!! we can ship it to your door, by enclosed, insured, truck carrier, & we also ship almost anywhere in the world by enclosed ship containers. a lot of fun for the bucks!!

See the listing here

The Cord that thought it was a Chrysler (or is that vice versa) – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings


This is the fascinating story of a car that began life as a Cord 812 and then ended up atop a Chrysler chassis

The car was orginally spotted in the Boston area back in the early 50’s

Make yourself a coffee and read the article here

Cord L-29 and an Airplane on Display at the Auburn-Chicago Company Showroom – The Old Motor


Being a fan of anything ACD and Chicago along with having visited the ACD museum and Chicago a number of time this article on The Old Motor got my attention.

Today’s lead image taken in 1929 of a section of the Auburn-Chicago Company showroom contains left-to-right a Stinson SM-8A Junior, a stand holding a Lycoming engine, and an L-29 Cord outfitted with the standard Cabriolet coachwork. E.L. Cord acquired a sixty percent interest in the Stinson Aircraft Company late in 1929.

Read the rest of the article here at The Old Motor


Automotive Design Oral History Project – The Reminiscences of Gordon Buehrig


This is an excellent interview with Gordon Buehrig from back in 1989 carried out as part of the Automotive Oral History Project.

Cord 810

Some of the cars designed by  Gordon Buehrig were the Stutz Black Hawk, Auburn 851 Boattail Speedster, Duesenberg J, Duesenberg J, 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II, and, perhaps the car he’s most known for, the Cord 810/812. He also invented the removable T-top, patented in 1951

I’ve actually visited the excellent ACD Museum in Auburn Indiana and there is a display of Buehrig artefacts.

The Buehrig interview is here




Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum (originally published in 2008)


The Art Deco Showroom

A picture from the stairs showing an excellent view of the car and the original showroom floor.

Original Clay Model From The Thirties!

Displays of other vehicles that used to be built in the area, such as Studebaker
The preserved building sign outside the showroom in Auburn

As part of our road trip we visited the fantastic Auburn Cord Dusenberg Museum in Auburn IL

The museum has a fantastic display of all three marques (and other cars), and is sited at the old factory and showroom. The showroom is particularly interesting, it has been restored to it’s former art deco glory. The entrance fee is very low and the whole thing is maintained by enthusiasts.

The original offices of E.L.Cord and the design offices have been restored.

There is an excellent Gordon Buehrig exhibit and also his clay models and drawings are on display along with those of the various designers of the three marques.

An excellent museum, well worth a visit!

Whilst we were there we watched the Ben Stiller film “Tropic Thunder” which was really funny.
Strange thing was there were only four people in the cinema including us, during the show the weather was so bad there was a power cut. The reason it was so quiet was that the cinema had only been open for a few days. We stayed at an any excellent Hampton Inn (also brand new) and ate at a Buffalo Wild Wings (very frendly, good food, again brand new) All three were next to each other on a new development just outsise Auburn.