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Cord 812 Phaeton
Cord 812 Phaeton

Distinctive Car Company Plans a Comeback


Cruising in style is looking to make a comeback.

In 1935, E.L Cord unveiled the Cord 810 at the World’s Fair during a time when bi-planes were common. Show-goers were in such awe of the spaceship-like creation with hidden headlights that they reportedly climbed onto the other show cars to get a peek.

The distinctive cars of the prestigious brand will once again come to life, thanks to both new ownership and, in part, to the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015. The new legislation frees boutique manufacturers from a one-size-fits-all approach to automotive manufacturing requirements—especially in regards to replicas, according to a press release.

Following the passage of The Low Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015, Craig Corbell, the brand’s new owner, saw an opportunity.

“As opposed to very lukewarm interest across a massive segment of the population, the appeal of these cars is extremely high—a spike, if you will—but across a small segment of the population: car collectors. 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 both in terms of reviving a source of extreme passion for enthusiasts, and financially as a business investment.”

Cord has been praised as being first to market with innovations that weren’t standard until up to 50 years later, such as front-wheel drive and hidden headlights. It also was first to market with the gas cap hidden under a door in the body and the first car to have a car horn ring around the inner circumference of the steering wheel, according to the release.

Ab Jenkins, in a supercharged 812 model—one of the advanced features of its time—reportedly set a land speed record in 1937 that lasted for 17 years.

Now Corbell plans to bring the brand back.

“We are currently entertaining partnership agreement discussions with manufacturers and the like. There has been a surprising amount of interest from the industry because of the brand,” he said. “Once those discussions are complete, we will have a better idea about those specifics. In fact, any organizations that would like to learn more or contact us may do so at www.cordrevival.com. Speed Digital has set the bar for this project by introducing us to some of the industry’s best and brightest, and I want to continue in that direction. This is an amazing opportunity, and it’s important for us to look past the pure financial aspect. We want to get this right to uphold the honor that people like E.L. Cord and Gordon M. Buehrig brought to this brand.” 

Neil Pitt of Speed Digital notes that the opportunities that reviving brands such as Cord provide are promising.

“Who knows—maybe we’ll see the next Cord production model at SEMA 2017! We are delighted that Mr. Corbell recognized Speed Digital for its design excellence in the collector car industry and selected us to help promote the revitalization of this iconic brand. “

Speed Digital is a cloud-based technology solutions provider for private collectors, specialty dealerships, and classic car auction companies.

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