09 March 2013
1936 Cord 810 Westchester
Sold for $77,000
- Chassis no. 810 1376A
- Engine no. FB 2609
- Body no. C 90 474
- From the collection of Skip Barber
- The purest form of Gordon Buehrig’s legendary design
- The most modern driving car of the 1930s; well-sorted for touring
The 810 was E.L. Cord’s second attempt at a front-wheel drive automobile. Its engine was a V-8, also by Lycoming, but a four-speed, electrically-shifted, pre-selector transmission was used. The body, designed by Gordon Buehrig, was a thing of beauty. Its blunt, louvered hood gave rise to the nickname “coffin nose,” always a term of endearment, and such features as a “step-down” floor, unitary construction, hidden door hinges, and a total lack of running boards were all previously unheard-of.
The car’s reception at the November 1935 New York Auto Show was enthusiastic, with onlookers reportedly standing on the roofs of other cars just to catch a glimpse, and the orders poured in. Alas, production start-up for the advanced and complex design was slow, and by the time supply caught up with demand, some customers had changed their minds. Cord production wound down in 1937.
The car offered here is an example of what was Gordon Buehrig’s favorite version of his design, the original 810 Westchester sedan, without the side exhaust or bustle-back trunk added to later models, and with a refreshingly clean and simple interior in correct cloth upholstery. Skip Barber acquired the car several years ago following a full restoration, and he then invested some $10,000 in having Jack Roush rebuild the correct engine to top running order. The original Startix, designed to restart the engine in a stall, was replaced with a Ford solenoid for more reliable starting; the Startix is included with the car, should the new owner prefer a stock system. The transmission has been sorted, and as a result, the Cord today runs strongly and functions exactly as it did when new, perhaps even better.
It is ready to set out and drive, as one would expect of a car owned by the legendary driver, Skip Barber.
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