Western Suburbs Weekly - - Driveway -

IF Don­ald Trump is go­ing to make Amer­ica great again, he could do worse than to help Craig Cor­bell get the fa­mous Cord back in pro­duc­tion.

The Cords of the 1920s and ‘30s were well ahead of their time, the low-slung, high per­for­mance 810 and 812 mod­els of 1937 fea­tur­ing front wheel drive, hid­den head­lights and fuel cap, rev counter and a dis­tinc­tive lou­vred cof­fin nose bon­net.

Many peo­ple re­garded the Cord and its re­lated Auburn and Due­sen­berg brands as the great­est cars ever pro­duced in the US.

“It’s one of the most rev­o­lu­tion­ary and cer­tainly one of the most beau­ti­ful cars of all time,” says Jay Leno.

mag­a­zine called it the coolest car you never knew ex­isted. But the Great De­pres­sion of 1933 hit the Auburn-Cord-Due­sen­berg (ACD) firm hard and it closed down in 1937.

Er­rett Lob­ban Cord was a bril­liant busi­ness­man who took con­trol of the fail­ing Auburn com­pany in 1929 and his Cord Cor­po­ra­tion in­cluded Ly­coming en­gines, Stin­son air­craft, Checker taxi­cabs, and the mag­nif­i­cent Due­sen­berg lux­ury and rac­ing cars.

A year later, Cord’s com­pany and its parts in­ven­tory was ac­quired by Detroit en­tre­pre­neur Dal­las Winslow and it op­er­ated suc­cess­fully, sup­ply­ing parts to own­ers of the brands and restora­tion work by former ACD em­ploy­ees at the orig­i­nal fac­tory in In­di­ana.

Then in 1960, Glenn Pray, an Ok­la­homa in­dus­trial arts teacher and Cord re­storer, bought ACD and moved to Bro­ken Ar­row, Ok­la­homa.

He con­tin­ued to of­fer parts and restora­tion work, but pretty soon had plans to put the 1937 Cord back into pro­duc­tion – and a modern Cord, called the 8/10, was avail­able from the ACD in 1964, thanks in part to Gor­don Buehrig, the car’s orig­i­nal designer, worked with Pray on the lines of the new 8/10.

Pray next fo­cused on cre­at­ing a mod­ernised ver­sion of the 851 and 852 Auburn Speed­sters of 1935/6.

Engi­neer­ing started in 1966 and by 1968 the snazzy con­vert­ible, known as the 866 Speed­ster, was avail­able at US$8450.

They had big block 428 Ford en­gines and a choice of au­to­matic or four­speed man­ual.

Pray built 138 cars in his fac­tory and sold about 90 Speed­sters in var­i­ous stages of com­ple­tion.

A decade later the Speed­sters were sell­ing for US18,000 and in their fi­nal years of pro­duc­tion, they were priced in the low US$30,000s.

Pray died in 2011, but his suc­cess at­tracted Texas en­thu­si­ast and busi­ness de­vel­oper Craig A Cor­bell II.

He now owns the Auburn Cord Due­sen­berg Com­pany and wants to take ad­van­tage of the Low Vol­ume Mo­tor Ve­hi­cle Man­u­fac­tur­ers Act of 2015. This leg­is­la­tion frees bou­tique man­u­fac­tur­ers from re­stric­tive car man­u­fac­tur­ing re­quire­ments. Here’s your chance, Mr Trump. For­get about the Mex­i­can wall, get Cord up and run­ning and you’ll be on your way to mak­ing Amer­ica great again.

A drop dead gor­geous 1937 Cord.

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