Cord 810/812 by Grant Calton

Cord 810:812 Main

This week, Aestheticons’ serial petrol-head, Grant Calton’s time machine conveys him to the 1930’s where he braves Prohibition to indulge his probably incurable Cord 810/812 habit.

A majestic mass of chrome curved, Art Deco, coffin nosed, high style, gangsteresque, motor car …

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What else could I be referring other than the Cord 812. Oh lordy me I have so long had a vision of myself cruising the great, American open roads in one these beautiful beasts and that vision is so alive and real I almost don’t need to buy one. Except …

Cord interior

Cord was a brand name manufactured by the Auburn Automobile Company in Connersville, Indiana, from 1929 to 1937. The man at the top was one E.L. Cord who multifarious motoring interests. Mr Cord had a strong philosophy that building truly innovative and unique cars, would result in huge sales and add plenty of cash to his bottom line. This did not always work well in practice.

The 810/812 – without a doubt the best of the company’s offerings – was designed by Gordon M. Buehrig and was a sensation at its launch at the New York Auto Show in 1935. They featured front-wheel drive, independent front suspension and a 4,739 cc (289 cu in) Lycoming V8 with a four-speed electrically-selected semi-automatic transmission – all cutting edge autotech at the time. Oh and don’t forget those glorious hidden headlamps, which didn’t become popular until the 60’s.

Orders were taken at the New York show with Cord promising delivery December 1935. Production delays pushed the expected delivery date to February 1936 and then back again until April 1936. In all, Cord managed to sell only 1,174 of the new 810 in its first year. The car is well known for the flat front nose with a louvered grille design.

Cord 810:812 Featured

These delays were followed by early reliability problems, which cooled initial enthusiasm, leaving unsold cars and which were re-numbered and sold as 1937 812s. In 1937, Auburn ceased production of the Cord. A single 1938 Cord prototype with some changes to the grille and transmission cover was built, and it still existed in 2015.

The Cord empire, amid allegations of financial fraud, was sold to the Aviation Corporation, and E.L. Cord moved to Nevada where he earned millions in real estate and other enterprises. Nowadays the most valuable can fetch north of $150,000 (new they were $1,995).

Cord publicity

Stars in Cars…The plot of the David Niven movie Where the Spies Are features a rare Cord 812 convertible as the incentive for the hero to undertake an espionage mission.

In the novel Live and Let Die, Felix Leiter drives a Cord (unspecified model) when he and James Bond are in Florida.

Felix leiter 1937-cord-phaeton

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Cross Classic Century – Sterling Silver ballpen

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The Cross family business was founded in Providence (Rhode Island) in 1846 by Richard Cross who manufactured gold and silver casings for pencils. Richard’s son, Alonzo T Cross, inherited the business from his father and developed a host of innovations including the predecessors of the mechanical pencil and modern ball-pen.

Cross pens are the essence of understatement and their simple, iconic and fine Art Deco lines make them timeless. The ladies’ Classic Century is elegant and its Sterling Silver body acquires an allure with age – a patina that, in my view, should only rarely be cleaned.

I was in New York looking for a gift for my wife and there is something classically American about this iconic and authentic pen that forms part of a range that was launched in 1946.  Its patented twist-action barrel sparked a design revolution and its sleek profile has found an army of loyal fans.

Cross is, perhaps, not regarded as being a foremost luxury brand but for me the range, style and workmanship are underrated. The Classic Century is an authentic American classic with a trade mark design that evokes the majesty of certain of New York’s skyline. See our earlier post on The iconic Chrysler Building Chrysler Building, New York City

In 2013 the business of AT Cross was purchased by Clarion Capital Partners LLC.

Should you like me be tempted to buy the special lady in your life an heirloom pen then I can highly recommend the Cross Classic Century – please click the following AMAZON link below the image – to gift this beautiful pen.

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Cross Century Classic Hallmark Silver Ball Point Pen

You may also be interested to add the matching and equally iconic Century Classic Sterling Silver Pencil to this wonderful gift. Please click the Amazon link below the image

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Cross Classic Century Sterling Silver 0.7mm Pencil (H300305)

Don’t risk losing you beautiful and valuable pens – keep them in a bespoke designed leather holder – available for one or two pens – please click the AMAZON link below the image

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Cross Classic Century Pencil Cases, 15 cm, Black

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Image Credits AT Cross & Co Inc. – with grateful thanks.