The ACD (Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg) Club supports all 3 long-expired car makes with a series of shows and events throughout the year. The Club’s Annual Reunion is traditionally held each Labor Day weekend in Auburn, IN. I’ve long known about this Reunion from articles in the car magazines I regularly devour, and in 2002, I somehow convinced my wife that we should take a vacation including stops in Corning, NY at the Corning Glass Museum, Cleveland, OH for a visit to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum, and “since we’re so close”, a stayover in Auburn that just happened to land us there on Labor Day.
I had forgotten that I had these photos (taken with a film camera) and so I’m now sharing them on my blog for the first time. We were not registered for any events, so our participation involved entering the ACD Museum (an original ACD sales dealership) and wandering the nearby streets which were quite literally jammed with old cars.
Adding to the crowds was a Kruse auction running at the same time, so the automotive eye candy was not limited to the three featured marques. Nevertheless, my long fascination with Cords, combined with their abundance at the show, meant that most shots included them, with a few Auburns here and there (Duesenbergs were thin on the ground).
According to Wikipedia, the Cord L-29, introduced in 1929, was the first front wheel drive vehicle offered for sale to the American public. (However, a recent article in Hemmings Classic Car would seem to dispute that. The ‘splitting of the hair’ may come down to what is considered mass-produced. It’s also well-known that many racing cars which predated Cords were FWD.) The L-29 was somewhat traditionally styled so that its FWD underpinnings were not obvious. The succeeding model, the 810/812, was designed by Gordon Buehrig and was truly revolutionary, looking like nothing else on the road with its hidden headlamps, ‘coffin’ hood, and deleted running boards. These 2nd generation cars were built in convertible, phaeton, and sedan body styles for only two model years (1936-1937) before Cord went under. They are some of the most distinctive pre-war cars produced, and remain highly collectible among hobbyists today.
The stunning Art Deco design has been almost completely preserved compared to its original 1930s construction. A variety of vehicles are packed rather tightly within, including some non-ACD models (note the green ’56 T-Bird). A mezzanine afforded me the opportunity to take the overhead shots.
Vehicles were parked everywhere, and it was easy enough to take photographs. One got the sense that, like Bentley or Alfa Romeo owners, Cord owners are not reticent about driving their cars. If you reflect back to the vehicles seen in my post about the recent Glidden Tour, imagine driving a new Ford or Buick in 1936 and having a new Cord pull up next to you; the effect must have been paralyzing!
All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.