1969 SAMCO Cord Warrior with a 440 V8

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There’s no denying that the original, but short-lived, Cord 810/812 automobile would be on the first ballot of nominees of any Automotive Styling and Innovation Museum. The sleek European styling alone from designer Gordon Buehrig was a big leap for the American automobile. So, it’s no surprise that such an iconic car that only had an 18-month run, would see several attempted revivals. The most recognizable and popular of these revivals were the Cords produced from 1968-1970 by SAMCO (Sports Automobile Manufacturing Company). Only about 400 were assembled at SAMCO’s Tulsa, Oklahoma factory and one is for sale in the Nashville, Tennessee area here on craigslist for an asking price of $15,000. A big thank you goes out to T.J. for sending this tip our way.

The seller doesn’t give a lot of details and no history of the Cord other than “1969 Cord Warrior 2D. Rebuilt engine (1969 GTX 440) with less than 50 miles, Rebuilt transmission and rear end. Clean title.”  There are also a few photos included but I wish they could’ve been taken in better lighting and shown more detail. On the plus side, though, this Warrior has the powerful 440-cubic inch V8 under the hood. Based on the photos, the exterior looks all there and undamaged but it definitely needs repainting. I’m not sure what color it is, maybe gold, but it looks faded and is thin in several areas. The chrome is dull and the convertible top needs attention and replacing as well.

I wish I could give you a better description of the interior, but there are only two dark photos of the Cord’s cockpit. A peak through the driver’s suicide door shows pleated black bucket seats and an armrest that appear to be in very good condition. Although not as ornate and luxurious as the original Cords, SAMCO Cords came equipped, not stripped, and usually included power steering, power brakes, and power windows, plus factory air conditioning.

Under the front-hinged hood (original Cords were rear-hinged, one of many SAMCO “inaccuracies” that ruffle the feathers of some Cord purists) rests the clean-looking Chrysler 440-cubic inch four-barrel carb V8 that is mated to a TorqueFlite automatic transmission. Buyers of these Cords had a choice between a Ford 302-cubic inch V8 or the 440. Based on what I could find online, the 440 made these Cords quite peppy and is the more desirable of the two powerplants. On the plus side, the seller says this Cord’s 440 has been rebuilt with less than 50 miles on it and the transmission and rear end have been rebuilt as well.

Based on the online forums I read, car enthusiasts are in two camps when it comes to these Cords. Purists refer to them as “parodies” or “tributes” more than replicas since there’s a list of inaccuracies from its smaller size to not having disappearing headlamps. Other people like these modernized versions of the classic Cord Phaeton, inaccuracies and all. No matter which camp you might be in, one thing’s for sure, you’re  going to get attention driving and showing one of these. After the first one was sold 86 years ago, the basic look and vibe of the original Cord 810 and 812 still turn heads. And they probably will for another 86 years.

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  1. CadmanlsMember

    I get it to the purist crowd this is just a tribute type car. But now I could have some fun with that. Put in a big bump stick, intake and some aluminum heads. Shift kit in the tranny and rumble in and out of the car gathering and won’t see another.

    Like 9
  2. nlpnt

    I was thinking the NSU Prinz a few days ago was a “Minimum Acceptable Product” (in the business-school sense, a placeholder until we can build what we really want which in NSU’s case was the Corvair-like gen 2 Prinz)…

    …but those non-hidden headlights on a Cord replica. Oof. There’s compromises to get product out the door, and then there’s that.

    Like 6
    • Tony Primo

      That and the Dollar Store simulated wire wheel covers.

      Like 9
  3. Chris Webster

    It’s not even a decent ‘tribute’ without the iconic concealed headlights.

    Like 5
  4. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Those fake exhaust tubes look like a bad halloween costume

    Like 8
    • Dave

      The exhaust tubes on this car are very close to genuine Cord exhaust. Hood closed you wouldn’t know the difference

      Like 0
      • wuzjeepnowsaab

        Thanks. Of course, obviously I know that. The point is they’re bad fakes that look like mom made them for you out of dryer vent ducting

        Like 5
  5. Don

    Get rid of the ridiculous side pipes. Move the headlamps into the fenders behind clear covers and something besides the VW taillights. Could be a fun car.

    Like 1
    • Don

      Get rid of the ridiculous side pipes. Move the headlamps into the fenders behind clear covers and something besides the VW taillights. Could be a fun car.
      I forgot the Wheel covers, too ugly for words. Put some nice wheels on it.

      Like 2
  6. Steve Clinton

    This car has two strikes against it; the headlights.

    Like 0
  7. Bob McK

    Someone paid a lot of money for this toy and then forgot to maintain it. I remember when they came out. I was horrified by those headlights. Today, I am still horrified. If a good body man hid them away like the originals, it would help. But it looks like a great place to start.

    Like 0
  8. Psychofish2

    Step back.

    It’s not a Cord and never was. It’s not FWD. It wasn’t produced by ACD. OMG the hood hinges the “wrong” way.

    So direct comparisons are absurd.

    Judge it one it’s own merits. BF features a lot of pure crack priced junk on a daily basis, in much worse shape after 50 years than this.

    Comparison between this and other ’60s special interest cars on offer are far more appropriate.

    And I call sour grapes as I suspect 90% of the critics of this car could never get beyond a museum visit of an actual Cord.

    Like 8
  9. Psychofish2

    It has it’s own unique backstory as well as well known industry connections involved:

    Like 1
  10. John E. Klintz

    The ones made in 1966-67 that had Corvair power and FWD were much closer to the original and they had hidden headlights. IMO one of those would be much more interesting to own than this.

    Like 0
  11. Sam61

    The family of a kid I graduated high school with had one of these in the mid/late 1970s. It just doesn’t look right.

    Here’s my fix: no side pipes, Detroit steel Delray’s, vogue gold/white line tires, ditch the VW tail lights, massage the front fenders to french some late 90’s mb e class headlights, interior with puffy Chrysler tc buckets…no backseat and some appropriate or no bumpers.

    Like 0
  12. HCMember

    The original Cords were and are out of reach for most of us. I wasn’t aware of a company, Samco, that made these tributes in the late 60s. They may have got alot wrong like the headlights and tail lights but at least they tried.

    Like 2
  13. Rod Faurot

    An earlier version of the 8/10s scale Cord was made by Glen Prey(sp) in the early 60s. He had purchased the remaining parts from
    ACD and produced a car with a Corvair engine in front with a manual transmission. The body was made of a foam plastic material that could be returned to original shape after being damaged by heating, I didn’t try that but that was one of the sales patches. Original dash instruments and operating head light doors. They are a fun car to drive and do attract attention, I restored 2 of them over the years. He also made the boat tailed Auburn.

    Like 0

    When I was in high school during this same time period, the local Oldsmobile dealership was selling converted Toronados that looked like Cords. The entire front end was replaced. Does anyone know anything about them? I got a few good looks at them but can’t find any reference to them online.

    Like 0
  15. wifewontlikeit

    Had one. Legacy of painful ownership. When it got stolen,(the second time!) it was a combination of sadness and relief. Long story, but as Packard said, “Ask the man who owns (ed) one.” I wish I’d never bought it. Impossible to get serviced, so BYOW. The engine is indeed a 440, but in retrospect, I should have bought an Excalibur SSK. GLWA!

    Like 0
  16. George

    Much prefer the Glenn Pray Cord Sportsman 8/10. It was 8 tenths scale of the original Cord, with all the exterior styling cues which are missing on the Samco. It was front wheel drive with the corvair running gear. Samco bought Pray’s Cord company and modified it to build this version.

    Like 0

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