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Interesting 37 Cord SC convertible, has Caddy power?


Ed Luddy
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There were many Cord's converted to V-8 rear wheel drive in the 1950s.  Some done well, some not.   There was very interesting one on the ACD forum with a Hudson Straight 8.  

 

I doubt that car is more than 75k as is.   Cord's bring no money for some reason which I have never understood.

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It might depend on whether it's actually a supercharged car from the factory or just pipes added like mine.   Surprisingly you would think they would bring more in unrestored state.  Although I would tell anybody looking you are going to have trouble finding many open Cords in good shape to restore under 75000.  I know I would have to get in that area to consider selling mine,  unless I had another car lined up that I needed to sell it to buy.  There are only so many unrestored cars left so I can't imagine the price of projects going down as more and more get restored.

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The car is a gutted Cord that from a practical standpoint probably should be left as is and hopefully enjoyed by a non purist as a fun driver.  The Cord parts required to put this one back tend to be pricey, especially for the supercharged ones, not to mention the labor.  Someone with a parts car might do ok, if all the goodies weren't already been stripped from it, which is often the case.  Relatively complete unaltered Cords do come up for sale, one was at Hershey this year at a seemingly reasonable asking price, perhaps a better start.  

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I agree, unrestored Cords, particularly phaetons, are getting harder and harder to find.  I looked at the one at Hershey, Dave, and it was a good start but it seemed a little overpriced.  Of course, if mine were ever to go on the market, the same comment might be made by many!

 

I think the asking price was in the 60's at Hershey.  A decent project phaeton, all there but not running, sold at an auction a year or so ago in the high 50's.  I'm of the opinion that, if the car being discussed is sound, the converted drive train lowers value considerably, and it might be a 40K car.

 

By the way, there are a couple of reasons that I'll never restore my '37 phaeton, and one of them is just that fact, that there are very few unrestored, driving, semi-presentable Cord phaetons left.  I can tell you a few years ago at the ACD festival in Auburn, my unrestored car (which looks like it came off a 1950's used car lot, you know, the ones in the back no one wants!) did get quite a bit of attention, in a field of dozens of restored ones.  I had a little fun, as my car, for some reason, runs cool, while many do not.  We'd done the parade, and parking at the square, a restored Cord parked to my left, and another restored Cord parked to my right.  Both began heating up when shut off, and spewing coolant.  One driver seemed friendly, so I said "well, makes me worry about my car". He asked why, and I said "Guess I must be out of coolant, mine isn't boiling over!"  He sort of grinned...sort of....

 

I didn't put on the registration it was unrestored, didn't know any better, so I was parked with the restored cars, and not in the back with the unrestored.  Some restored car owners weren't happy with that....

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Edited by trimacar (see edit history)
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Complete parts cars can still be had in the low 20's to convert it back and then you are left with a sedan that will still bring close to 10G for a hot rodder to modernize.   I know I have picked up alot of correct drivetrain parts for my car.  Many of which have been restored.  I think a modified Cord with bad paint and some 50's personalizations sold for somewhere in the 60's I think a few years ago.  Didn't the complete rusted/ burnt out cord phaeton sell a couple of years ago for around 30G?  That car was very very rough as it had been burnt then exposed for a number of years.  

  I think this particualr car has been for sale off and on for the last 3 or 4 years by various sellers at various locations for that same 100 G mark. 

  I know a pretty rough pretty complete not running for several years sedan was in Hemmings a few months ago for low 20's and it sold as soon as Hemmings was sent out to the Priority mail subscribers.  It was already sold when I called on it. 

  I think when unrestored (non survivor type) model a's sell for more than 2/3 the price of restored ones why wouldn't  a Cord sell for a similar or less ratio? 

  Not to say my car is worth a great amount amount of money, (I just know what I would have to get to consider selling it) just observations I have made over the past few years and I'm in no way looking to sell mine any time soon.  Unless of Course just the right Auburn Comes along.  I can't drive mine right now as it needs work to do that but one has to admit it makes a pretty darn nice static sculpture in my shop. 

Edited by auburnseeker (see edit history)
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Yes, I agree, 57 K for a car that's not running, and has more or less been put together from all the parts that were found at the estate.

 

It went straight to a restoration shop, so final price tag will be interesting.

 

I think a running, driving, unrestored solid car, is $25K or more beyond that figure.  But, my opinion, and I'm prejudices, owning one of the few unrestored Cord phaetons extant....

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As far as Rodder's Journal, great graphics and pictures.  However, there are a lot of cars out there that can be cut and chopped and "upgraded", but it's sad that a Cord would be among them......that shows no respect for history or our heritage.....just shows that you can possess the money to do something, but not possess the knowledge nor respect to do something correctly....

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 A purist at heart, but nevertheless think there are circumstances where there is a place for rodders and Cords.  I once acquired in derelict condition for parts the early '50's customized Cord dubbed the "Cordomatic", which had made it into the custom magazines in the day.  It had featured '46 Lincoln front clip and wheels, a Ford tubular front axle offset to extend the wheelbase, a Olds Rocket engine with hydramatic, a 2-speed Columbia rear, a '51 Merc rear bumper (upside down), and a '34 Pontiac spare tire cover on a '35 Ford carrier attached to the trunk lid!  Other than that, whatever was left was bedraggled and tattered Cord.  My interest was in saving the remaining Cord goodies; dash, radio, handles, windshield frames, etc.  It would have been financially unfeasible to attempt to reconvert this hybrid's remains back to the original Cord configuration. The conversion was that which was sometimes done to broken down orphan Cords without pangs of conscience in those days. 
While disapproving of that conversion, I do strongly approve of what became of the remains.  An owner of a "real" Cord acquired it as a companion car, and very cleverly created a restorod Cord from what otherwise would have had little chance of continuing to exist. 

Edited by Dave Henderson (see edit history)
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Well, actually, parts and service availability was great in the 1950's for Cords!  Read the attached history, and you'll see that the company name continued after 1937, and there was both a large parts inventory and a servicing/rebuild business which continued.

 

Many 810 and 812 Cords now have engines that were repaired or replaced in the 50's and 60's, and there were actually Cord ex- factory employees doing some of the work.  The ACD Club recognizes this fact, and a car can become Certified by the club even if the serial number of the engine isn't in the sequence that it might have come from the factory. 

 

So, parts availability was not a reason to change drivetrains, although there were other factors.  A Cord was collectable almost from the day it was built, which is one reason the survival rate is so high...2500 some odd cars built, 1500 some odd cars surviving..

 

 

http://www.cordautomobile.org/

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It wasn't that the Cord motor was so difficult to keep going, the transmission was much a major factor.  With shifting difficulties, and plagued with internal gear train failures, it lived up to its poor reputation in the earlier years.  (Since then modifications have vastly improved durability and reliability). 
In converting to RWD the most plausible approach was to not retain the Cord engine, because it was positioned backwards, with the flywheel at the front.  Thus, the easiest installation utilized the whole drive train including the engine of the donor RWD car.  Some of the factors complicating converting back to FWD include; first obtaining all the Cord drive line parts, dealing with any changes to the front suspension, (some retained the Cord set-up, others didn't.  One I know of had a complete '49 Mercury independent front suspension, another a Ford tubular axle), reconstructing the floor area, and dealing with undoing steering changes that sometimes had been needed to provide clearance.  The re-conversion could become a reverse engineering project. 
On the positive side, these conversions to RWD did prevent some Cords from being scrapped.

Edited by Dave Henderson (see edit history)
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It might depend on whether it's actually a supercharged car from the factory or just pipes added like mine.   Surprisingly you would think they would bring more in unrestored state.  Although I would tell anybody looking you are going to have trouble finding many open Cords in good shape to restore under 75000.  I know I would have to get in that area to consider selling mine,  unless I had another car lined up that I needed to sell it to buy.  There are only so many unrestored cars left so I can't imagine the price of projects going down as more and more get restored.

I just learned of a good solid example for sale. 810 phaeton, "complete and totally rust-free, but taken apart." $60,000.

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I think 60K is probably right for a car in pieces, as evidenced by both the auction and West's post above.

 

The problem with buying an "apart" car is obvious, it doesn't take many missing parts, big or small, to add up to a hefty price tag to replace same.

 

I think I wrote about this on another thread, there was a Cord phaeton, supercharged, that sold in my area a few years ago.  It was taken to a restoration shop for cleanup and minor work, where it was found that the supercharger was just a shell, missing parts, wrong camshaft, and so forth.  That's a $20-25K hit on a Cord, so what had seemed like a good deal was now not a bargain......

 

Mine isn't for sale, but as mentioned before I think there is a good premium for a complete, running, driving car, versus one that's been taken apart and in boxes.....

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In addition to usually being cheaper and harder to sell than an all together car, an "apart" car does have the advantage of making it easier to inspect individual parts which aren't seen or easily assessed when all is assembled.  In addition, if a total restoration was contemplated by the buyer, the "taking apart" part of the job would have been already done. Some seem to do surprizingly well on ebay. You'd better hope the dis-assembler properly marked everything, and you must be able to determine if parts are missing.  Moving the beast is much more difficult than transporting an assembled car.  Cars in this condition have appeal that lessens to a buyer incrementally as the distance to it increases. 

Edited by Dave Henderson (see edit history)
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Having bought 3 cars in my years that were taken apart then abandoned projects I will NEVER EVER do that again. I just don't have the patience and time to start looking thru boxes, trunks and jars for all the trinkets and miniature pieces necessary to put  a car back together properly that I didn't share in taking apart. I can't imagine one as unique as a Cord with all the Cord only parts that can, and do go missing during dis-assembly, moving and re-starting someone else's forgotten dream, no matter how cheap.

 

  I have one project on the go that was taken apart by the former owner then stalled, and put up for sale. All the pic's posted of the car listed for sale were when it was running and driving. When I got there the engine/ trans. were gone, the interior stripped out, and the front clip and hardware removed. The owner said "this is a piece of cake" to put back together,blah,blah. So I told him if its so easy, put it back together and I'll buy it. I'll even come help. Caught him off guard, and after a long pause he agreed to get most of it back together and go over all the unassembled parts with me there. I'm scratching my noggin as to why I did buy it!

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Dave. you and I are friends, but have to disagree with part of your comment.

 

How many times has one heard, when looking at a disassemble car, "Oh, the hard work is done, taking it apart!"  Horse hockey.  That's the EASY part.  If the fellow taking it apart didn't bag and tag each screw and bolt and piece, you're in for a world of hurt buying such a mess.

 

I draw an analogy to my wife, who I love dearly, doing yardwork.  We have an acre, many trees (and down to the last apple tree, thank goodness, but that's another story that, unless you live with 15 or so apple trees on your property, you won't understand), and I'll tell you what.....hand my wife a fourteen foot tree pruner and an orchard lopper, and she'll take thirty minutes to give me two days of work hauling bush and limbs to the dump.

 

The EASY part is taking apart, and so many people even do that incorrectly.  Each part should be put in a bag or labeled, and a log kept of each.  Photographs too.  You think you'll "remember" where everything goes, ha, that's not even close to the truth.  I could write an entire article on the proper way to document a disassembly, as taught to me by both a well known restoration shop and my personal experience.

 

So go ahead, buy that car that's in boxes, and when you're missing this clip or that bracket or that assembly.....whew, you'll be fussing and cussing...

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That's the whole reason mine is still together and at this point  I think I will only buy a complete together mechanically parts car (there are alot of old blocks and cases laying around that I have steered clear of) so I have a complete assembled car to see what needs to go where on my car.  A cord restorer that has done 24 cars who looked over my car remarking how complete it was and other than drivetrain still very correct,  said that would be the smartest thing to do as well.  Eventhough I do have many parts that have been restored to do the job.

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Friend David,  I didn't imply that the take-apart phase was the hard part.  And, if it was done carefully without wringing off bolts for instance, that's a plus and a real time saver for the buyer, for which the seller gets little if any reward.  Sure, it's a whole ball game apart from getting an assembled car, but with an almost inherent price advantage some are a good deal, depending on the motive and desires of the buyer.
Say David, next year why not swap chores with wifey, you do the pruning part, fair is fair, no?

Alsancle, you're about right regarding the price differential.  Here's one I bought apart which I assembled and then sold as is, with those results.
 

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Edited by Dave Henderson (see edit history)
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