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Cord

AMT 1/12 1937 Cord 812 S/C Convertible Kit First Look

By Ray Mehlberger

Date of Review October 2010 Manufacturer AMT
Subject 1937 Cord 812 S/C Convertible Scale 1/12
Kit Number 8127 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Beautifully detailed large scale classic car; Some working features Cons Trunk lid molded shut, with no trunk compartment provided
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) Out of Production

 

 

First Look

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The very first Cord on the market was the L-29, introduced in August of 1929. It was in it's own way as revolutionary as the later 810 and 812. The L-29 was the first American production car with front wheel drive. It was 61 inches high, and average of 9 inches lower than it's competitors, and was very stylish with a "V" radiator, long flowing front fenders and had excellent proportions. It was produced until 1932, at which time it went out of production. America and the automobile industry were still suffering from the effects of the late 20's stock market crash and the depression, and it was not until 1936 that the next generation Cord was again on the market.

The new Cord had had a shaky beginning in that when first designed it was not to be a Cord at all, but a Duesenberg. Auburns, Cords and Duesenbergs were all produced by the same company in Auburn Indiana. It was to have a straight eight engine with rear wheel drive, and be a mid-priced automobile. The chief stylist at Duesenberg; Gordon Buehrig, was called upon to design the new car, and it proved to be a benchmark in automotive styling. During the final design stage plans were changed and the new car, complete with front-wheel drive, a V-8 engine and pre-selector transmission, became the new Cord 810. This was not until 1936, however, that the Cord 810 went on the market.

The economy was still shaky and the funds at the ACD Works were a bit thin in 1934. It was not until the company got a contract to produce steel kitchen cabinets that enough money was available to bring the new car to dealer showrooms. Even the new car's introduction was a real cliff-hanger. The company wanted to introduce the new cord at the New York Auto Show on the second of November of 1935. This decision was made just four months before the auto show. This meant that the new car had to be hand assembled for the show. This would not have been possible except that to be allowed in the show, at least 100 production cars had to have been already made to qualify. As no production stamping dies were ready and other production tooling did not exist, the cars were actually made by hand with craftsmen hand forming the body panels and fabricating the chassis. Impossible as it sounded, the job was done with the minor exception that the show cars were missing their transmissions. No one really noticed this missing bit of hardware though and the new Cord was allowed in the show and stole the show.

Quite futuristic in 1936, and still beautiful today, the Cord 810 and 812 have stood the test of time both in style and engineering concepts. The '36 Cord had such innovations as hidden door hinges, a front sub-frame which cradled the engine and transmission, a fabricated steel body that pre-dated the uni-bodies on cars today. The transmission, which was placed ahead of the engine, was a pre-selector type that the drive moved a small lever to the next gear selected, but the gear would not change until the clutch was depressed and released. The engine was a V-8 L head design purchased from Lycoming which drove the front wheels. In body style, the Cord stood alone. The traditional running boards were gone, the grille was now a set of horizontal ribs that ran around the elegant Art Deco hood. The headlights were hidden in the pontoon front fenders during daylight hours. Wheels were smooth chrome units replacing the wire wheels of it's contemporaries and the whole car sat far lower and racier than anything else on the road. Beautifully shaped, aerodynamic and well balanced, the new Cord was an innovation then that forecast the cars of today.

In 1937, a supercharger was added to the engine (making the car the 812 S/C), bursting power to 170 out of 288.6 cubic inches. External chrome exhaust pipes exited the engine compartment into the front fenders, further improving the rakish look of the car. These and other improvements warranted the new designation and the car became the Cord 812, the subject of this kit. As remarkable as the new Cord was, delivery problems and production delays made 1937 the last year for the car. The modest production numbers between 1936 and 1937 now make the Cord 812, in fact "ALL" Cords, very precious and very valuable examples of automotive art and design, a high point from the golden era of the classic American car.

ERTL is an American model company based in Dyersville, Iowa. Which is 52 miles from my home. The sell a lot of car and truck kits under the AMT/ERTL label.

This kit comes in a large tray and lid type box. The box is 26” x 15” and jam-packed inside. The tray is a heavy cardboard, but the lid is light-weight cardboard. To stiffen the lid ERTL has added a stiffer sheet of cardboard inside it, to keep the kit from getting crushed. Good idea ERTL!

The box art features a color photo of the model made up and sitting on the cobble-stone base that is included in the kit. It is in a red paint job with a Michigan license plate on the front.

One side panel has a color profile photo of the model made up, showing the passenger side with the door open and the canvas roof removed. There are other color photos showing a close up of the exhaust pipes that exit the sides of the engine compartment and a close up shot of the engine. Next to these is a one paragraph history of the car. The kit says that it has a LEVEL 3 complexity to build it and has over 230 parts. The copyright date is 1993. The kit is also hawked as A CLASSIC MASTERPIECE.

The other side panel has another color profile photo showing the car from the driver’s side with the canvas roof in place and another photo of a close up of the interior with the passenger side door open. Next to this is list of features of the kit. Which are:

Inclusion of cobblestone textured display base and nameplate.
A highly detailed 46 piece super-charged Lycoming V-8 engine.
Steerable front wheels, roll up (crank operated) side windows & opening doors.
Model measures over 16” long when fully assembled.
Contains over 230 finely detailed pieces.

Below this is a 1-800 phone number to reach ERTL with about any problems with the kit, which is guaranteed. ERTL’s address also appears with MADE IN USA.

Inside the box are 4 sealed cello bags containing 19 light gray parts trees. Three more sealed cello bags contain 3 chrome plated parts trees. There is a loose body shell part that is also light gray. The trunk lid is molded into this part and there is no trunk compartment parts in the kit. With all the other detail in the kit and the working features, this area should have been added to be able to open it.

There is a small loose tree of 2 red light lenses, 4 black vinyl  tires, a loose tree of clear window parts, a decal of the dashboard dials, the instructions, a list of actual colors that were used on the Cord 812 and a subscription application card to subscribe to ERTL’s newsletter THE BLUEPRINTER complete the kit’s contents.

There is a very minimum amount of flash on a few trees. Nothing to get upset about.

Trees are not alphabetized, but the part numbers are next to the parts. However, with no parts tree drawings in the instructions you will have to search each tree for the part you need, matching it against the assembly step illustrations then. It will make for extra work.

The black vinyl  tires are very nice with raised letters that say VOGUE TYRE & VOGUE RUBBER CO. CHICAGO ILL., with 6.50-15 6 PLY RATING and MADE IN USA on them and great tread pattern.

The instructions consist of two large single sheets that are 17 ½” x 22 ½” format, printed on both sides.

The first sheet begins with a black and white line drawing of the car, the history of the car, a list of recommended hobby tools to use to build the kit, ERTL’s address and the first 9 assembly step drawings. The other side of the sheet continues with assembly step drawings 10 through 22.

The second instruction sheet has steps 23 through 36 on one side and steps 37 through 48 on the reverse side. Both of these kits are folded 5 times to whittle their size down to 4 ½” x 7 ½” after the folding.

A single sheet, printed on one side in 8 ½” x 11” format folded in half in the middle of it’s length. This sheet has a listing of all the exterior and interior colors that the Cord 812 ever appeared in. Very handy for modelers to customize their kit in authentic colors.
ERTL mentions the possible use of real auto paint, but warns how caustic it can be to plastic, to use a good barrier if you decide to hit an automotive paint store for your paint.

The first large chrome plated parts tree holds: the dashboard, flexible exhaust pipes & their bezels, tail light bezels, hub caps, steering trim wheel, some engine parts and the name plate that goes on the base (26 parts)

The second large chrome plated parts tree holds: the bumpers, horns, side window frames, upper exhaust grills, door panels etc. (27 parts)

The third medium sized chrome plated parts tree holds: the windshield frame, rear view mirror, license plates, windshield wipers, rear fender guards, oval rear window frame etc. (10 parts)

The first light gray item is the body shell, which is loose in the kit.

The first sealed cello bag of light gray parts holds: the canvas roof part, a tree with the floor panel, a seat back-rest cushion and left and right kick panels (4 parts), a tree of seat cushions, another seat back-rest cushion, seat backs and inner door panels (7 parts)

The second sealed cello bag of light gray parts holds: a tree with the hood, speaker cabinet, transmission cover, passenger seat floor support panel, steering gear etc. (6 parts)
A tree with the aerial, window gears, base nameplate frame and foot pedals (12 parts) a tree with wheel back discs, fan belts and steering wheel (11 parts) a tree with outer door panels, a wheel hub, more wheel parts etc. (9 parts) a tree of the front fenders and 3 more wheel hubs (4 parts)

The third sealed cello bag of light gray parts holds: the single floor panel, a tree of engine parts (15 parts) a second tree of engine parts (18 parts) a tree of exhaust manifold parts (4 parts) a tree with frame cross members etc. (8 parts) a tree with the rear axle with springs part, suspension arms etc. (10 parts) a tree with the fire wall, bracing arms, dashboard housing, radiator halves etc. (21 parts) a tree of the exhaust pipes and muffler (4 parts)

A tree with the front springs and trailing arm parts (8 parts) a tree with the frame sides etc. (6 parts) and a tree with the fuel tank halves (2 parts).

A final sealed cello bag of light gray parts holds the 2 pieces of the cobblestone embossed display base plate.

The four black vinyl tires and dash board instrument decal complete the kit’s contents.

I purchased my kit at the ERTL factory store in Dyersville Iowa back in the early 90’s. I paid $25.20 for it back then. The kit is currently out of production, but I saw a posting on eBay for one asking $125.00 for it. Another company, on the internet, that deals in old kits is asking the same price for theirs and theirs has been partially built it says.

I bought some flocking material at my local hobby shop later for this kit. This stuff is used, along with Elmer’s white glue to make the upholstery in the car look like velore.

I highly recommend this kit.

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