CON­VERT­IBLE CORD

art deco mas­ter piece, when style was ev­ery thing

Classic Driver - - FRONT PAGE - STORY TONY HAY­COCK PHO­TOS ALEX MITCHELL, JOHN BEL­LAM­ORE, TONY HAY­COCK

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?

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