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Custom Coffin Nose! Caddy Powered 1936 Cord

This 1936 Cord Model 810 is motivated by a Cadillac flathead and dressed in vintage Edmunds speed equipment.  Seen wearing an older 50’s repaint with a custom tuck and roll interior, filled cowl vents and sporting suicide doors, and a fully appointed turned dash, this Cord can be found here on the Jalopy Journal in Lake George, New York for $65,000 or trade.

Brought to you by E.L. Cord and designed by Gordon Buehrig, the Cord was America’s first front-wheel-drive car with independent front suspension and featured an electrically controlled 4-speed transmission, manually cranked hidden headlights, suicide doors, and a machine turned dash.  The lowered stance, which allowed for the elimination of running boards, and the coffin nose made the Model 810 an instant sensation when it debuted in 1935.  The Cord originally came with a 289 cu. in. Lycoming V8, but that motor is long gone in favor of the flat Caddy power plant. According to the seller, this example spent 40 years in storage at the edge of the California Desert and was originally rodded in the ’50s or ’60.

The Cord 810 is all about style and this car doesn’t disappoint. The stance is perfect, the doors open the right way, the convertible top stows from view, the dash is machined turned, and the lights are hidden. Add to this the Caddy flat motor, the vintage Edmunds dress-up items, and the supercharged 1937 812 side panels with the iconic side pipes handling the exhaust duties, and you have a car that will both stun and run. That is after you give the currently non-running flatty a full mechanical rebuild. The seller points out at a minimum of stuck valves.

The overall impression is of a solid car.  Rust and corrosion are not mentioned, and the long tour of duty in a hot arid climate should keep the tin-worms at bay.  The paint certainly looks serviceable. The interior appears to be free of rips or tears and the chrome seems to display the right luster. The seller provides a long list of refurbished and NOS parts that accompany the car including emblems, brightwork, and various mechanical items. They are open to trades and lists C1/C2 Corvettes, Nomads, and Woodys as possible candidates, and they have a title in hand. So here is the big question; do you restore this Custom Cord or do you leave it a hot rod?


  1. Avatar photo Jeff

    Its a kewl car however is it 60K kewl, that’s the big question.
    What do you guys and gals think?

    Like 0
  2. Avatar photo Gord

    Been for sale there since last October and the price was dropped to $59500 last January. Certainly a one of a kind Rod.

    Like 2
  3. Avatar photo Federico

    Too Cool for the Millennial Patina Rat Rodders that don’t know what ‘Edmunds’ or “Milestone’ mean – Awesome Car

    Like 11
  4. Avatar photo Elanguy

    My first question was whether it’s still front wheel drive. I still don’t know, but the Caddy running through the Cord transaxle is a bit worrisome.

    My second is how many naugas died to cover those seats? As an associate founding member of the Nauga Protection League I find it so, so sad.

    Please, kill the cows and let the little naugas live!

    Like 16
    • Avatar photo Blake

      It may have the complete set up from a cadillac Eldorado. They were all front wheel drive.

      Like 0
    • Avatar photo James HGF

      Not likely is the answer to first question. The V8 is installed in the engine compartment just as in a production Cadillac. The distributor and flywheel end next to the firewall and the generator’s up front tucked into the “V” between the cylinder heads and exhaust manifold as in any ‘40s Cadillac.

      There are several clues in the Cord dash photo. CjinSD said “I don’t see the shift quadrant for the preselector gearbox” which is one. There are more. The accelerator pedal is farther to the left than normal. The pedal rubber looks warn as does a patch of carpet (or?) to its’ right on the transmission tunnel. Can’t tell if the gearshift lever is centered (likely standard) or slightly to left hinting at an automatic. There’s one pedal to the left of the accelerator – can’t see a second one – queue another clue.

      A long time ago in a far away world when party line phone service was common for rural customers and city dwellers alike – mid 50s, I read an article in an American car magazine about an 810 convertible coupe that had been “updated”. A complete early ‘50s Olds’ V8 drive train including rear axle was installed. The V8 wasn’t hopped up – don’t remember gearbox choice. Looked absolutely stock.

      Like 8
      • Avatar photo Elanguy

        Thanks for pointing out the clues. I would suspect that “up-dating” Cords to rear wheel drive was not too uncommon back then. I have a friend who briefly owned such a Cord, though the returned to his main interest in Model A Fords.

        Like 2
      • Avatar photo Al

        I would not worry about how many naugas had been butchered to upholster this.
        The description in the Jalopy page describes the seats as “red tuck and roll Vinyl done very much to the original pattern”, which should provide a very sticky bum in the summer.
        Winter, enough Vinyl to freeze your “A$$ off”. You would definitely need seat belts for the sideways slide on corners.

        Like 6
  5. Avatar photo Bultaco

    Big question is whether it still has the preselector gearbox. It seems that the original Lycomong V8 was less of a reliability issue than the transaxle.

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo CJinSD

      I don’t see the shift quadrant for the preselector gearbox.

      Like 1
  6. Avatar photo B-rad jeepster

    My brother in law was a nauga farmer back in the day and he raised the north american giant breed of naugas so he wouldn’t have to slaghter the little guys. Long live the little naugas!!

    Like 8
  7. Avatar photo William Shields

    It would certainly start conversations wherever it went.
    It would have a certain charm to those who could turn their heads back decades and see what effort went into salvaging what was then just a weird old car.
    Then you’d have the traditionalists who would have to restore it back as it’s current form would be a crime against Cord humanity!
    As a side note I remember my Dad telling me at his service station in mid fifties Canada he had a regular customer ask to leave a mint 1936 auburn speedster there to sell. He was finally told to take it home after several weeks because nobody was going to buy an old car like that for the customers $800 asking price.

    Like 3
  8. Avatar photo DeeBee

    Iconic car rodded in the fifties or sixties? That’s a keeper just the way it is! The bugs inherent in that Cord are well known when it was new, so, with Cadillac mechanicals, if the engine can be returned to life, it’s a sure bet excellent runner. Best part? nobody messed with that body!

    Like 1
  9. Avatar photo bobhess Member

    The fact that the engine is a flathead would lead me to leave the car as is. All pretty much period correct and looks to be well done. Color combination looks great as it seems every other Cord is painted that faded out off white or dirty yellow. I like it.

    Like 9
  10. Avatar photo James Simpson

    So… this is not the Leonard Pray “Royalite” version- but the real deal? My understanding was that the plastic version used Factory bumpers and other leftovers from Cord.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo luke arnott

      Glen Pray – not Leonard.

      A few years ago I was offered a ’36 810 Cord fitted with a Ford V8 which had been converted to rwd.Dreadful condition so I passed.Later bought by a customiser,who put the body on a Jag chassis and turned it into a 2 door!Original RHD car owned by Lord Derby in Liverpool.

      Like 2
  11. Avatar photo Steve RM

    This thing is awesome. Don’t get me wrong I generally prefer stock vehicles but this looks very well done. If it was mine I would get it operational as is and drive it. It would be a blast. Besides, there are plenty of stock ones out there.
    This is unique. I also prefer rear wheel drive so hopefully that’s what it is. I’m still not completely comfortable with front wheel drive but if you want to drive a modern car you don’t have much choice these days.

    Like 1
  12. Avatar photo Al

    Grossly inadequate info from the seller. Good luck selling.

    Like 3
  13. Avatar photo A.J.

    Go here and you every question will be answered.


    Like 5
    • Avatar photo James HGF

      Thanks for posting auburn seeker’s for sale listing on the AACA cars and parts forum. Kicking myself (figuratively) for looking through the LaSalle wheel oblivious to its presence. Duh. Desperately seeking clutch pedal, I was, but owner’s states “The clutch and gas pedal arrangement look a bit awkward…” is… Owner’s description:

      “Yeah they converted it to rear wheel drive. I believe it’s a Lasalle 3 speed. Looks like they harvested the Steering column and wheel from the same car. There are some Universal joints in the steering though so I’m not sure what the box is. It’s not an original Cord Box. The front end is a big Solid axle mounted to Parallel leaf springs. The Clutch and gas pedal arrangement look a bit awkward and it’s hard to say how well it performed with the conversion but the heel area in the front carpet is actually worn through so someone either actually did drive it a bit or sat in it alot dreaming of how good it would be to drive. Someone did take some time on the conversion though and even welded in an H pipe in the exhaust.

      My price is of course negotiable and a starting point for now.
      I would be just as happy with a trade if it was something I liked. Just time to move on to a new project.”

      Like 4
      • Avatar photo John Williamson

        Is this Cord with the Cad engine still available and what’s the bottom line price you want? thanks John Williamson jwillia100@aol.com

        Like 0
  14. Avatar photo John

    That car deserved a better setting for photographing..even a foxy Retro-Babe draped over the hood!

    Like 0
  15. Avatar photo Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    65,000$ for a non-running car? What is this world coming to………?

    Like 1
  16. Avatar photo Dickie F.

    Angel, have you seen the auctioned selling price of a non running barn found rusted mid 50s Mercedes 300 Gull Wing ?
    At 10 times this $65k, I kinda prefer this Cord ?

    Like 4
  17. Avatar photo Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    I’m with you on that, Dickie F.
    I’m just amazed at what some of these cars command now.

    Like 1
  18. Avatar photo MIKE READING

    what a fine automobile, as i sit here and d and d (dream and drool) wishing i was born rich instead of good looking i can only dream of owning an automobile like this, good luck with your sale or trade.

    Like 1

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