Learjet Link: 1968 SAMCO Cord Warrior

The replica business has always been an interesting part of the classic car world as various individuals attempt to morph one car into another. One of the more successful that I have seen was a company that would transform a Toyota MR2 into a Ferrari replica. This SAMCO Cord Warrior is slightly different, as it is a replica of a Cord that has been built on a custom frame. With only around 400 of these built by SAMCO, they offer a budget alternative for anyone who loves the look of a classic Cord but doesn’t have the six-figure bank account to buy one. Barn Finder Rocco B spotted this SAMCO Cord for us, so thank you so much for that Rocco. It is located in Newnan, Georgia, and is listed for sale here on Craigslist. The price for the car has been set at $24,500.

SAMCO (Sports Automobile Manufacturing COmpany) was established in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by Bill Lear, of Learjet fame in the late 1960s. His plan was to offer two distinct Cord models, the Royale, and the Warrior. Unlike many such ventures, Mr. Lear did not intend to either offer high-volume cars, or to offer the cars in kit form. Each car was hand-built at his factory, and eventually, around 400 SAMCO Cords found their way onto our roads. This 1968 model is an attractive example. I find the fit and finish of the panels to be particularly impressive, with nice, tight panel gaps. I guess that you wouldn’t expect much less from a man whose livelihood was derived from providing personal jets to the rich and famous. The red paint has a great shine to it, the external chrome and trim are in first class condition, while the finish of the top is extremely impressive for a low volume model. The only aspect of the car that I don’t like is the wheels. These are said to be custom made items, but the style just jars on me, and they look wrong.

Powering the SAMCO is not some pre-war motor, but a 302ci Ford V8. SAMCO offered two engines in its vehicles, being the Ford 302, or a 440 Magnum. I’m told that the latter provided performance that is extremely impressive. The engine in this car is backed by an automatic transmission, but it isn’t clear what type this is. The  SAMCO also features power steering and power brakes, and the owner claims that the car runs and drives nicely. He doesn’t provide any photos of the interior, but as you would expect from a car of this lineage, the interior of a SAMCO was quite nicely finished. This one should have leather upholstery, and we do know that it also features a timber dash and wheel, VDO gauges, and the original radio that was fitted to it by SAMCO. It has also been fitted with a JVC remote control CD player to provide some additional entertainment when on the move.

There is little doubt the cars like the SAMCO Cord Warrior offer pose value by the bucket full at a price that is far more affordable than the car on which it is based. With only 400 cars being built during the late 1960s, they are a bit of a rarity. Having said that, they do pop up on the market occasionally, and prices tend to range between $22,000 and $26,000. This one is one of the nicest examples that I’ve seen for a while (apart from the wheels), and the price looks to be pretty much in the ballpark. I know that there are a lot of people out there who aren’t fans of replicas, but would you make an exception for a car like this?

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Comments

  1. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Bill Lear was a truly class act, and his genius for recognizing something of future interests was incredible. (https://vref.com/bill-lear-the-learjet-and-the-8-track-audio-player/)
    His widow, Moya Lear, continued his positive impact with her own considerable contributions (ideological and fiscal) in the Reno, NV., their final homestead.
    She also tried to have his last very fervent wish come to fruition (the Lear Fan 2100 https://www.museumofflight.org/aircraft/lear-fan-2100
    ) but the FAA didn’t think the gearbox was of adequate design.

    If we could I’d buy this car at this price just because of his influence in its development.

    Like 3
  2. Tony Primo

    There is no way that this car was fitted with those truck wheels back in 1968. This is a very simple problem to fix and shouldn’t stop anyone from purchasing this car. Personally I would replace them with some true wire wheels.

    Like 15
  3. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Or chrome steel rims with dog dish hubcaps. IIRC Cords had holes around the perimeter of the rims, don’t know if you can get them today but I agree that the currently mounted rims don’t fit the style of the car.

    Like 7
  4. Retired Stig

    Somebody tell The ‘A’ Team the rims have been stolen off their van, and are on a fake Cord! Mr. T goin’ to get dat sucka!

    Like 12
  5. b-rad jeepster

    My dad has one and they put genuine imitation wire wheel covers

    Like 5
  6. Coventrycat

    Great use of dryer vent pipe for that exhaust that goes nowhere. Hope his wife doesn’t find out.

    Like 4
  7. SMS

    Years ago got a ride in a Royale. Think the difference between the Warrior and the Royale was the motor. The Royale got the 440.

    If anyone has been in a replica and experienced the squeaks and rattles you will appreciate this car. I remember how smooth and squeak free the ride was. A well put together car.

    Like 6
    • Brakeservo

      Ok, I’m gonna express the negative here. First, not a replica but a parody. Nothing is right, not the shape nor proportions nor the details. Just look at the headlights and windshield for crying out loud! And consider, if you are patient and a good negotiator you should be able to drive a real one home for $30,000 – $35,000. It will have four doors and be far from concours, but it will be presentable.

      Like 1
  8. Ben T. Spanner

    I pity the fool when Mr T finds his wheels

    Like 1
  9. Tim

    I have a Royale With the 440 and I see two directions to go with it. As a replica it falls a little short. It was intended to be a continuation not an exact replica. The headlights offend anyone who loved the original design. I think the tail lights were a good improvement over the original. And the lower and shorter proportions make the design look better than the original. I fell in love with the car at a car show, never having paid any attention to an original. The original was a very technologically advanced design but I like the SAMCO just for what it is. Oh and I could afford it.
    The car with a V8 also lends itself well to the Hot Rod kulture. Mine has Torque Thrust wheels on it and the 440 sounds great.
    Here is a link for more history on how the SAMCO Cord came to be.
    http://www.stutzbearcat.com/cordhistory.htm

    Like 5
  10. peter r

    I like it but for a very occasional driver it’s just too expensive for me. I already own too many cars and need to reduce the fleet.

  11. Linda Grady

    Considering the linage, the fit and finish and how well it was approached, I am surprised that none of them had an a/c unit. I have viewed several of them, and the red is stunning, the maroon unit radiates desirability, but the white one, oh yeah, that is the classiest of the bunch. Oh, and the brown and gold one needs to be hidden from view until it is painted! Just saying.

    Like 1
  12. Little_Cars

    I prefer the Glenn Pray over this due to SAMCO exposing the headlights and that goofy split windshield painted body color. A Pray 8/10 has been on my bucket list for years, preferably with the Corvair turbo 180 powerplant. It’s a shame so many concessions were done in 1968 for cars to meet some Federal mandate. The round side markers look wonky on the sides of the front fenders, the taillights must have been raised to meet some standard too. Finally, I’d take these wheels over the more common Appliance Wire Wheels or, gulp, faux wire wheelcovers.

    Like 1
  13. Doug

    Fit a set of Borrani wire wheels, or body -colored steel wheels with baby Moons and beauty rings for a classic look. If you’re more into the Fat Fender rod look, TorqThrust Ds, with the gray center are the way to go. Just about anything else looks silly, and makes it look like an oversized Hot Wheels toy……

    Like 2
  14. Sam Dibitonto

    If it was on the West Coast I would buy it..

  15. Bryan W Cohn

    A fun detail, the rear tail lights are Triumph Spitfire/GT6, used up to 1970. The mounting based look a bit like MGA but they don’t match.

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