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Gordon Buehrig's personal car?


MarrsCars

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I posted this over on the ACD subforum about 8-months ago but have no replies so far so thought I'd shoot for the collected knowledge of the group. Here is the thread, basically I am looking for Gordon Buehrig's personal car, a specially made Cord. http://forums.aaca.org/f156/info-gordon-buehrigs-personal-car-327172.html

I'm not a Buehrig expert but I believe this was the only Cord he owned. It currently resides at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum. As far as I know it's a standard model.

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Help yourself to the photo. Copyright me, story here:

A visit to the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum | Mac's Motor City Garage

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Guest Rob McDonald

I'd be surprised if Gordon Buehrig ever owned a Cord, unless he bought it used. He said in the linked interview that he was required to drive a company car but it was probably a demonstrator, which was eventually sold to a customer. I've always understood that automotive designers and engineers in the Classic period didn't make any more money than the accountants in the office or even the top men on the assembly line. Some gifted designers employed by car makers were independently wealthy, such as Brooks Stevens, and considered their salaries to be just a token appreciation of their work.

I believe that most in-house car designers, like Mr. Buehrig, Frank Hershey, and Bob Gregorie, were just working stiffs, whose only hope for advancement was to be hired by another firm, who could provide an incremental pay raise. Others took their chances as independent design contractors, including Amos Northrup, Walter Dorwin Teague*, and Dutch Darrin. Some of these men did become wealthy and were thus able to drive spectacular cars of the time. However, it was not due so much to their talent as designers as to their business acumen and successful self-promotion. They probably made more money on Art Deco toasters and Streamlined vacuum cleaner designs, than on the beautiful cars that they also penned.

If I'm wrong and Gordon Buehrig did at some point have title to a new 8-series Cord of his own design, good for him! I'll be pleased to stand corrected.

(* Was W. D. Teague any relation to postwar Packard's and AMC's Dick Teague?)

Edited by Rob McDonald (see edit history)
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Thanks all, great stuff. Magoo, I love that '32 Cord V12 Prototype you snapped a picture of, what a beast!

I have come across both of those cars in my research, but neither is the one I saw.

I really wish I could remember more details, the car was black for certain. I know it was not just designed by Buehrig but perhaps he didn't own it, maybe it was something more along the lines of a one-off design, perhaps it was the Campbell's soup car I describe in the original link. Something tells me it was his personal car, however I defer to knowledge greater than my own.

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Guest Commodore

What you have is a photo of a Cord Convertible Phaeton Sedan. Here is what Coachbult.com has to say about this model "In addition to the basic Cord 4-door, Buehrig and his small staff translated the design into a 3-passenger convertible coupe and a 5-passenger 'convertible phaeton sedan.' Actually, this was neither a phaeton nor a sedan, but rather a convertible victoria with rear quarter windows, pioneering the style common to convertibles today. The quarter window on the Cord Phaeton was solidly, attached to the main bow of the folding top and consequently could not be opened when the top was up. It rotated to the down position as the top was folded." And another photo of this model.

1937_Cord-SC_Lot245-RM_Arizona-2011-01.jpg

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What you have is a photo of a Cord Convertible Phaeton Sedan. Here is what Coachbult.com has to say about this model "In addition to the basic Cord 4-door, Buehrig and his small staff translated the design into a 3-passenger convertible coupe and a 5-passenger 'convertible phaeton sedan.' Actually, this was neither a phaeton nor a sedan, but rather a convertible victoria with rear quarter windows, pioneering the style common to convertibles today. The quarter window on the Cord Phaeton was solidly, attached to the main bow of the folding top and consequently could not be opened when the top was up. It rotated to the down position as the top was folded." And another photo of this model.

That, too, is very close but I distinctly recall a small round window, I thought it was on the side but perhaps it was on the rear like the Campbell's heiress car. The car pictured appears to have a large rear window opening. Also the roof wasn't soft but more like a removable hardtop, perhaps in two pieces, and possibly vinyl covered. That is one beautiful car however.

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Guest Commodore

Well, remember there is alot misinformation out there about classic cars, particularly about a classic car's history. Just because someone said it was Gordon Buehrig's personal car doesn't mean that it's true.

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While a couple of our regulars here are more knowledgeable than I am, and are Cord (and "Cord Cousin") owners - I do not believe Beuhrig owned a Cord while he was actively involved in the design phase of the 810/812. That said, I just received a copy of "Rolling Sculpture" from Santa yesterday (the reprint, BTW available from the nice folks at the ACD museum for $50, or less than a relatively clean 1st edition retails for now, at around $100). This new edition has a couple of updates including some pictures from Dennis Adler, and the centerspread shows a Cord the Buehrigs owned later in life (as the car was donated to the museum by his second wife sometime in the 1980s, I assume they acquired it at some point past the Classic Era) - a clean car, but nothing custom. I do believe Beuhrig considered the Cord 810/812 his best work.

While he is best known for his work at ACD, this book really opened my eyes to some of his work beyond the Classic Era. One of the "Great Masters" for sure!

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I am working now on the assumption that the car was not Buehrig's and misidentified at the event. Now I'm trying to determine if the Campbell's heiress car was at the event in question, which would tie this all together nicely. Thanks for continued input, all very useful.

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MarrsCars,

The ex-Campbell's Soup car, owned by heiress Charlotte Dorrance Wright lives at the Cofer Collection in Tucker, GA.

35_duesey_ferndar_1x.jpg

Here, Curator Cecil Mccall describes some of its features to AACA Hornets Nest Region members during a visit there two years ago....

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Larger

Are you sure the car from your memory isn't Raymond Loewy's custom 1941 Lincoln Continental?

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Larger

Both cars were modified by Derham (the Conti to Loewy's specs) and the Loewy car was sold in 2008 at the Gooding & Co. auction in Scottsdale for $451,000.

TG

Edited by TG57Roadmaster (see edit history)
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TG57Roadmaster, thanks, it was definitely not the Loewy car but that fits my description very well doesn't it? West kindly informed me on the other thread on the ACD subforum that the car is in the Georgia collection and I have sent an email asking for info on the car and if it was possibly at the event in question. Hopefully I will hear back and can share the info here.

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Are you thinking of FLLW's car?

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No but yet another that is strikingly similar to my description, amazing! The car I saw was without question a Cord (this was in Indiana where even the young car kids like myself knew the ACD brands by heart) and it was black, which could change of course but not as likely with such a unique car.

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