“It’s one of the most revolutionary and certainly one of the most beautiful cars of all time.” Those are the words of eminent collector and famed talk-show host Jay Leno. He was talking about Cord, which is now making a comeback… of sorts.
One of the great American carmakers of the Art Deco era, Cord was a sister-brand of Auburn and Duesenberg in the 1930s. It produced vehicles like the one pictured here, a 1936 Cord 810 Phaeton sold by RM Sotheby’s last month for $154,000 in Hershey, Pennsylvania: vehicles that were technologically advanced and singularly beautiful.
Despite efforts to keep it going, the company ceased production in 1932, then again in 1937 and finally fizzled out in 1941. It still enjoys a loyal following among certain classic car collectors and enthusiasts, however, prompting one Craig Corbell to launch a revival effort.
Details remain sketchy at the moment, but what’s clear is that, unlike the resuscitation of marques like Bugatti and Mini. the reborn Cord won’t be producing “new” cars per se. Instead, it will be offering reproductions of old ones, in similar fashion to what we’ve seen from companies like Superformance and Shelby American that offer “continuation” Cobras and the like.
The effort is made possible by the provisions of the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015. The new law allows small-scale automakers to forgo regulations and standards that would otherwise cripple such fledgling operations, or force them to sell their products as DIY kit cars with no engines. Its measures have been a boon to startups, revivals and established players alike, from the aforementioned Superformance to the reborn DeLorean and even Morgan.