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Customized Cord Sportsman Helps Sell Postwar Used Cars

Omar Motors Cord Sporstman

Gordon M. Buehrig penned the styling of the attractive 810 Cord which stopped the show at the New York Auto Salon held on January 6, 1935. Not content to leave a world class design alone many Cord owners felt the need to install cheap aftermarket ornamental gewgaws on their cars.

After World War II ended the Cord soon became the prey of many would-be customizers, and the result was often atrocious. This Cord Sportsman wears only one alteration that is semi-tasteful, a plexiglass top that is similar to that on Buehrig’s Tasco.

The other exterior changes which are visible include: a huge tail-fin that resembles a rooster tail, a boat-like chromed exhaust port, a shortened hood with a frontend and grille from another car grafted onto it, a hood ornament, a rear bumper swap, and an unattractive front bumper made up from two bumper guards and a bent steel bar with bit of trim on it.

Omar Motors was located at 401 Bristol Pike in Croydon, Pennsylvania in the early-1950s and we are left to wonder if this Cord Sportsman has survived? The photos via Macs Motor City Garage were found by Paul Jaray.

Omar Motors Cord Sporstman

Omar Motors Cord Sporstman

27 responses to “Customized Cord Sportsman Helps Sell Postwar Used Cars

  1. Well, there’s no accounting for good taste I guess. I like the rather rare `42 Chrysler sedan behind the Cord!

  2. Was that on the cover of Rod & Custom? No but it covers just about every aircraft styling suggestion that came out of WWII.

  3. In the 2nd picture, just beyond the “tail-fin,” is a 1942 CHRYSLER. The car also appears in the 3rd picture on the far right.

  4. Just awful. They say that beauty is skin deep and ugly goes clear to the bone. This Cord has UGLY deep in its marrow.

  5. It’s like desecrating a da Vinci…putting a nose ring on the Mona Lisa or Chinese takeout on the Last Supper table…tasteless.

    Averting my eyes…in Item 1 of 3, a handsome ’51 Chevy Styleline Bel Air on the lift.

    In Item 2 of 3 a ’40 Buick sport coupe, likely a Special, a ’42 Chrysler Royal or Windsor 4-door sedan and a pair of ’41 Chevys: probably a Master DeLuxe Coupe on the left and town sedan on the right. Seen in the lower left possibly a ’49-’51 Ford wagon (the latter two years a Country Squire)…it doesn’t appear to have the same years’ Mercury bumper with a lip on the bottom.

    In Item 3 of 3, a ’51 Ford appears on the left along with the semi-skirted rear wheel of a ’41 Nash…and further down a Cadillac Sixty Special, a ’42 or ’46-‘47

  6. Flanking the Cord in the last photo is a 1951 Ford, 47? Nash, 1942 Chrysler, and a 1941 Chevrolet. I would imagine if the Cord survived the scrap drives during the War , it probably was saved, and hopefully restored. Someone may remember the car customized.

  7. For years I thought the greatest indignity inflicted on the 810/812s was the 5/8ths scale late 60s Cord reproduction. It was powered by a Corvair six as I recall. By any standard it was ugly. Grossly ugly. But compared to the instant piece the 60s reproduction was a styling bell ringer. One can only wonder what would have crossed Buehrig’s mind had he occasion to see it.

    • When I was in school in Gainesville, Florida in the mid-1970s, the local paper had a full-page article on one of these repli-Cords. As I recall, this was one of the later versions that had exposed headlights. Neither the paper nor the owner realized that the car was not a real Cord.

  8. Of you read period magazines you’ll see that used Cords…being an orphan with a reputation (deserved or not) of having dodgy transmissions, were seen about the way we regard used Fieros today.

    Watch out for revisionist history…those guys at the time didn’t know better, they thought they were doing a good thing and possibly prolonging the life of the car by making it more desirable.

    Yes, the Cord is a great classic which I love…but remember most classics were just used cars once. Very few were collectable from day one.

  9. It was only a 15 year old used car that was hard to get parts for. What expensive 2004 car today would you say will be a classic and should not be modified?

  10. I would love to find it today! There are lots of original Cords to look at and admire, this one is unique in an interesting way. I don’t get the negative comments here at all.

  11. I say we all run down to Omar Motors and beat the crap out of the owner for desecrating an incredible car.

    Why oh why, do so many people feel the need to “gild the lilly” by adding atrocious add-ons to their automobiles? I’m not talking about customizers or people who personalize their cars with license-plate frames, but those who go to great expense to muck up a perfectly great car design.

    • The problem is one guy’s “muck-up” is another Jay-Z quest for perfection.
      Last week I made a similar comment to yours and was immediately criticized by a frequent poster here who said he loved all the 50s kitsch…The aftermarket Continental kits, blue dot tail lights, dummy spotlights, and all the other junk that may have been cool and cutting edge at the time but are just cliches today (like car shows that play 50s music endlessly).

      Sadlt, there is no accounting for taste.

      • I’ll second the idea of dismissing the play of ’50-’60 music at car shows. It added nothing to the experience, blared loudly to the point where ordinary conversion is difficult. If participants want music, let them play it on low in the individual cars.

  12. Cord was J.C. Whitney-ized. Ugh!
    Thank you for this wonderful site. I check it out everyday. Beats the “news”.

  13. ‘Kustomizing’ was a way to personalize a used car to attract attention. This unfortunate Cord may have been done by the used car dealer for just that purpose. There must have been a junked ’39 Cadillac around to give up its hood and grille. Odds are it didn’t take long on a bright, sunny day for them to discover the greenhouse affect under that plexiglass roof. Certainly hope that Cord convertible coupe survives, has been restored to its original beauty.

  14. At least there was one improvement and that was the Cadillac hood in place of the original coffin nose monstrosity.

    • Wow, really??

      Without the nose, it looks like any other 40s car., albeit with concealed headlamps. Nothing wrong with that, but definitely NOT what Buehrig had in mind. OTOH, it must have really confused the auto enthusiasts of the time!!

  15. The only way I can describe the “customization” of this great classic car is by using a familiar acronym that servicemen returning from WW II were very familiar with; FUBAR!

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