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The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same
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Driving With A Black Sheep
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What if? - The Cord 810


For the 1936 model year, Cord unveiled its bombshell beauty 810 sedan to great fanfare. Designer Gordon Buehrig conceived of the design from scratch, meaning he didn't have to use any off the shelf parts from elsewhere in the Cord/Auburn/Duesenburg organization. By being allowed such freedom in his design, the result was a car that has frequently been voted one of the most beautiful American cars ever built.

But what if Gordon Buehrig didn't work for Cord? What if instead he was a designer at one of the other American car companies producing vehicles in 1936? Well Frank Peiler over at The Daily Drive blog on Consumer Guide - Automotive wondered just that. Only, Frank took that wonder and put it on paper.

Frank produced a series of drawing depicting what might have happened if Mr. Buehrig had been employed by Walter P. Chrysler or Harley Earl.. and a few others, four other to be exact.

Below is what Frank imagines the Cord 810 would have looked like had it passed through the design house at General Motors headed by Harley Earl in 1935.

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What do you think? Dive in to the article to see what the Cord 810 might have looked like had it been built at Chrysler, Hudson, Studebaker, Ford, or Nash. Which one is your favorite?

What if GM, Hudson, Chrysler, and Others Had Designed the Cord 810?
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21 Comments

Always an interesting part of an issue of Collectible Automobile.

A couple of things bother me, though, about the drawrings: the GM one has its nose offcenter, his perspective is skewed wrong, the driver's side of the coffin nose is farther from the fender peak than the passenger side. If the perspective were natural, it would appear opposite. And the Studebaker's headlights? the passenger side is clearly too far back in the sketch.

I am not trying to be a sketch nazi, just saying, it throws me off an otherwise enjoyable conjecture. I do like the GM one the best, however.
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^ I see what you're seeing Bill, but I don't think it's necc. off. I know you'v seen this era cars in person; the distances between forms, such as the bumper to the sheet metal, is often much greater than one would expect. I'm not saying the drawing is spot on; it isn't, but off so much as to effect the viewing? These are tough to illustrate convincingly because they are so many unjoined shapes.
I'm looking at the fog lamps- where are they in relation to the bumper guards, exactly?

I like the Ford, then the Nash versions, but my main question is; why are they all so much taller in the body than the factory Cord??
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Perhaps this is a question best left unanswered.

Seems to me that we should be glad that the Cord happened just the way it did.
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Yeah, this is a long-running series in the magazine. Sometimes the sketches are downright humorous.
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I like the Ford, then the Nash versions, but my main question is; why are they all so much taller in the body than the factory Cord??


Because they are all built on frames and bodies that had to accommodate a drive shaft to the back.
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Perhaps this is a question best left unanswered.

Seems to me that we should be glad that the Cord happened just the way it did.


The '48 Tucker is my absolute favorite vehicle, and the '36 Cord 810 follows.
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GM Nash and then Hudson are my top three picks in that order of what I like in addition to the original beauty.

Posted ImageCamino LS6, on 25 October 2012 - 06:14 AM, said:

Perhaps this is a question best left unanswered. Seems to me that we should be glad that the Cord happened just the way it did.
The '48 Tucker is my absolute favorite vehicle, and the '36 Cord 810 follows.


I agree with you, Tucker first then the Cord. :)
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I really like the Studebaker.
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I like the Ford, then the Nash versions, but my main question is; why are they all so much taller in the body than the factory Cord??


Because they are all built on frames and bodies that had to accommodate a drive shaft to the back.


Yes but no. Even the driveshaft out of my DuraMax wouldn't necessitate raising the Cord body shell that high.
I know- they're only drawings. :D
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I like the Ford, then the Nash versions, but my main question is; why are they all so much taller in the body than the factory Cord??


Because they are all built on frames and bodies that had to accommodate a drive shaft to the back.


Yes but no. Even the driveshaft out of my DuraMax wouldn't necessitate raising the Cord body shell that high.
I know- they're only drawings. :D


If money was no object and I had unlimited time, would it not be fun to take a donor frame/engine and then build some of these?

You could truly have some special cars then.
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Oh absolutely yes to the concept. I would love to design my own vision of a fat-fendered circa '40 machine.

I've thrown this one up before (the bottom one next to the locomotive), because it's got the presence & proportions right, and the fighter plane cockpit kicks ass. I'd change up the front end some, but this beats down everything in the above piece IMO :

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wildness. i am guessing, but it appears the three at the mid-left depict a rear end and two fronts. everything was about jet aircraft.
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Perhaps this is a question best left unanswered.

Seems to me that we should be glad that the Cord happened just the way it did.


The '48 Tucker is my absolute favorite vehicle, and the '36 Cord 810 follows.


they are both fantastic vehicles!

Oh absolutely yes to the concept. I would love to design my own vision of a fat-fendered circa '40 machine.

I've thrown this one up before (the bottom one next to the locomotive), because it's got the presence & proportions right, and the fighter plane cockpit kicks ass. I'd change up the front end some, but this beats down everything in the above piece IMO :

Posted Image


That is a sweet design, and it even has a lot of the same proportional stuf I like about a lot of more modern sports cars.
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^ beyond long hood/short deck, I'm not seeing it.
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^ beyond long hood/short deck, I'm not seeing it.


IU like it when the cockpit of the car doesn't overwhelm the body....which is what I liked about the original Mustang fastback. Too many cars are dominated by the greenhouse, the car you posted is just the opposite....
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here's another example...


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Exactly...a greenhouse should be light and unobtrusive on a car, and not domiante the design....
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gotcha... tho a LOT of it (vs. a Mustang & Pacer), is that the one I posted is full-size.

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So they've crossed the sweltering, parched desert and what appears before them? That's no Mitsubishi Mirage... it's real, and it's spectacular!
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Oh absolutely yes to the concept. I would love to design my own vision of a fat-fendered circa '40 machine.

I've thrown this one up before (the bottom one next to the locomotive), because it's got the presence & proportions right, and the fighter plane cockpit kicks ass. I'd change up the front end some, but this beats down everything in the above piece IMO :

Posted Image


Was that an Olds?
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Well it has Silver Streaks
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