art deco master piece, when style was every thing
By the mid 1930s, it would not be unfair to say that American car design on the whole had gone a little dull and “samey”. It really reached its peak in 1932 and after that, things seemed to become more mundane. Not only the everyman’s Chevrolet and Ford, the top makers too were losing the flair of their earlier designs – even the top of the line Duesenberg was a late 1920s car with very few upgrades. There were the odd exceptions, Chrysler Corporation’s Airflow models looked stunning but were way too futuristic for the conservative American car buying public and flopped – not good news as the makers were struggling to recover from the effects of the Depression.
So imagine the response when at the 1935 New York Motorshow, Cord unveiled the 810. Where was the radiator grille? Where were the running boards? Retractable headlights? Pontoon mudguards (fenders if you want to get in character here); front wheel drive and a vacuum/electro- preselect gearbox were all pure fantasy. It wouldn’t have got a more stunned response if it had arrived from outer space.
Any Cord expert will tell you that 1937 model Cords are known as 812. Both this car and its 4 door donor were first registered new in the UK as model 810, in 1937. Maybe it took a while for them to cross the Atlantic?