Get Ready For The Return Of The Legendary Cord Automobile

1937 Cord 812 Westchester sedan. Photos from wikipedia.org.

Known for creating innovative cars, the Cord automobile company could be returning in 2017 with a limited production run. This return to the market is due to the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015.

The Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act, which was pursued by SEMA for several years prior to its passage, met with mixed feelings from the hot rod world. Many feared that it would diminish the value of original versions of collector cars.

Despite any previous concerns, the act has allowed defunct auto manufacturers like Cord to re-emerge on the scene without devaluing the original vehicles. If anything, the act has helped stabilize the value of the first run vehicles while allowing others to purchase and enjoy the extremely rare car of their dreams.

A 1929 L-29 Cord Phaeton.

Automobile manufacturing has many barriers to entry for new manufacturers. Part of the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act helps eliminate many of these barriers like the expense of crash testing that big manufacturers are required to perform for modern cars. While it does exempt them from crash standards, it does require these small volume manufacturers to use an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) compliant engine, which will most likely be a GM engine.

About Cord

Cord automobiles were manufactured from 1929 to 1932 and again in 1936 and 1937 by the Auburn Automobile Company. Their streamlined designs and innovative engineering brought elements like front-wheel drive and hidden headlights to the marketplace. Electromechanical shifting, marketed as “servo” shifting, was another milestone innovation from the brand.

A 1930 Cord L-29 model.

Reliability problems helped cause the demise of the automaker in 1937. An attempt to bring the car maker back in the early 1940s failed for several reasons, but primarily was doomed by a lack of resources to manufacture automobiles due to the war effort.

Under the provisions of the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act, companies are allowed to sell up to 325 reproductions per year, of a model that is at least 25 years old, and must include a full powertrain.

The Hupmobile Skylark. These Skylarks were built by Graham Paige on a per piece contract basis before the Cord name completely retracted from auto manufacturing.

Texas entrepreneur Craig Corbell bought the rights to the Cord name and trademarks in 2014 with the purpose of relaunching the brand. While there is nothing firm, Corbell has made a statement of his intent. “Until now it was cost prohibitive to manufacture these cars profitably, but now that expensive high speed crash testing, for example, is no longer required to manufacture low runs of replicas, this makes tremendous sense,” he said in a press release.

We can’t wait to see which version of the Cord that Corbell and company are going to release. One thing will be certain: If you are going to want one of these masterpieces, start saving your pennies now. They may not cost as much as the original copies but they won’t be cheap.

About the author

Bobby Kimbrough

Bobby grew up in the heart of Illinois, becoming an avid dirt track race fan which has developed into a life long passion. Taking a break from the Midwest dirt tracks to fight evil doers in the world, he completed a full 21 year career in the Marine Corps.
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