This 1936 Cord 810 Sportsman Convertible is a beautifully restored, concours award-winning example with southern history. Established in 1929, the Cord Corporation, was the namesake holding company for Errett Lobban E.L. Cords automotive ventures, including his shares in the Auburn Automobile Co. and Dusenberg, Inc., and the Lycoming Mfg. Co. among others. Shortly after the establishment of the Cord Corporation, the company began producing its first automobile in June 1929 with the Cord nameplate, the Cord L-29. The L-29 famously beat out Ruxton to be Americas First Front-Drive Car when in actuality, several automakers at the turn of the century experimented with and even attempted, albeit unsuccessfully, with front wheel drive vehicles. The purpose of Cords L-29 was that the car could serve as a somewhat intermediate model sitting above the more affordably priced Auburn and below the top-of-the-line Duesenberg. While the Cord L-29 was and continues to be lauded for its gorgeous stance and appearance, the timing for its release could not have been worse. With the onset of the Great Depression starting in late 1929 and then continuing into 1930 and beyond, Cord production ceased in the end of 1931 and the remaining 157 models in stock were sold off at 1932 models. By the mid-1930s the economy began to recover and Cord reintroduced its novel front-wheel-drive automobiles, only this time sporting a new, distinctive Coffin Nose design. Styled by Gordon Buehrig, the new Coffin Nose Cord 810 models were essentially designed to be the Baby Duesenberg. Not only did the 1936 Cord 810s feature famous new styling, they are also renowned for a number of revolutionary updates automobile design including front wheel drive, semi-automatic transmissions, hide-away convertible tops, and roll up headlights. Touted in advertising materials as a car that always goes where it is pointed, the front wheel drive design of the 810 Cord also allowed for a lower ride height, which eliminated the need for running boards. Another innovation for Cord in 1936 was the introduction of a semi-automatic transmission that utilized a remote-controlled pre-selector shifter that is set into the desired gear on the dash and then when the clutch is depressed the transmission shifts into the selected gear. Not only did this unique transmission design make for a roomier drivers compartment, it also paved the way for the true automatic transmissions that rose in popularity in the 50s and now dominate in automobiles today. The next innovation for the 36 Cord 810 Sportsmans was the introduction of the hide-a-way convertible top where the convertible top, when in the down position, tucked into a hidden compartment and gave the Cord Convertibles a gorgeous open look. The final innovation was the addition of the roll-up hidden headlights which made the Cords more aerodynamic and again were another precursor for automobile designs in the future. Despite their ingenuity, financial issues finally put a halt on Cords production in August 1937, with the company producing a mere 2,992 810 and 812 models during its short run from 1936-1937. Due to their unique design, their mechanical innovations, and overall rarity, the Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) has designated all Cord automobiles as Full Classics which means this 36 Cord 810 Sportman is eligible to participate in CCCA events and CARavans. This particular example spent its most recent years in several prominent collections and was awarded Best in Class and Best in Show awards at a concours event several years ago. Powering this 36 Cord Sportsman is a 288.64 Cubic Inch Lycoming V8 engine fed by a single 2 barrel carburetor that together were said to have created 125 horsepower when new. The 289 Lycoming V8 is mated to a 4 speed manual transaxle that is shifted via a novel for 1936 dash-mounted remote control shifter where the driver selects their desired gear, then depresses the clutch pedal
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