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The 810 Cord Introduction at the Detroit Auto Show 1935

1936 810 Cord at the New York Auto Show

G. Lewis and Doris Midworth inspect a 1936 810 Cord at its introduction at the New York Auto Show in November 1935. It was a runaway hit, and it has been reported that the crowd was so thick around it that showgoers stood on the bumpers of nearby cars just to catch a glimpse of the sensation. The show cars were inoperable because of issues with getting the transmissions finished. Because of the problems with the gearbox the first cars were not shipped until the early part of 1936. The Old Motor press photo.


  •                        One of the prototypes with the headlamps set back on the inside of the fenders.

See our earlier coverage that includes many interesting images and the patent drawings of the Gordon Buehrig masterpiece here.


10 responses to “The 810 Cord Introduction at the Detroit Auto Show 1935

  1. There is a common photo kicking around of the office/studio of Mr. Buerig. It has the clay model or similar mock up of a Cord automobile, and a model makers gantry crane. If you go to the ACD museum, you can see the studio in real life and the clay model. Really a nice place to visit.

      • Cords were shown without transmissions. A canvas cover was tied under the car where the transmission should have been.

        The Cord at the Henry Ford Museum is without a transmission and it has a canvas cover in place.

  2. The Cord show cars were shipped with no transmissions installed. The engines for the Cord 810 and 812 were produced in my home town of Williamsport Pa. at Lycoming Motors.

    John F.

  3. The in-board head lights were the before the front mount and only found in prototypes. From a styling stand point the in-board location is not as visible as the front mount location. This keeps the visible front part of the fender clean, however, there were two problems with the in-board design. The biggest issue is the with the head lights off and in the down position they were right next to the front wheels. There was not enough room to have the head lights there and have full travel of the wheel suspension and turning. The second issue is that the light is not out front and the fenders block some of the out board illumination. There is a surviving prototype 810 Cord sedan at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum which has the in-board head lights.

  4. I have an early production 810 Cord sedan that has covered around 300,000 miles since new. It had an engine swap probably before 1950. It drives like a dream and sits comfortably on 60 mph in overdrive with the engine ticking over at 1800 rpm. I believe the transmission or gear box and differential drive unit was fitted to the 1935 Show Cars as the front wheel drive shafts have to be supported. The transmissions were probably not operating. Having the canvas slung under the transmission would not completely hide them, besides people at the shows would have been looking closely under the cars and there has never been a report from shocked viewers. Perhaps the canvas was there to catch leaking oil ?
    The inboard headlights in the prototypes was the original concept. Fabrication problems with the fenders was sorted out allowing the headlights to be moved to the front and centre. There is not a lot of room between the headlights and front wheels but it still works like a charm. Each headlight is operated by a separate had crank. They are at the ends of the dash and can be reached comfortably by the driver while in motion.
    The 810 Cord was probably the world’s most modern car when released in early 1936. It still turns heads.

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