The World Debut – September 1, 2007 Auburn Indiana
After 23 years of work it seemed appropriate to present the finished car at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival held every Labor Day in the birth place of the classic cars – Auburn Indiana.
Like the entire project, the effort to finish the final details of the car was woefully underestimated. Subsequently, the final weeks of the project were ridiculously stressful. The build went to the very last minute and beyond.
Literally minutes before we left for Auburn, interior and exterior panels were still being installed. There was no time to fix the cruise control or the windshield wipers, no time to verify the convertible roof was water tight, no time to do a thorough inspection. The shake down cruise was going to be along the way. With tools thrown in the back of our support vehicle (1990 Rolls Royce Silver Spur II) we left Rochester beaming with enthusiasm and lots of denial.
The first ten feet of our trip
The next 10 feet of the trip
The shake down cruise did not take long. Within 10 miles of leaving Rochester, we got strange whiffs of burning oil. Upon stopping we discovered oil dripping out the back of the transmission. To get a better look at what was going on, we left the highway and drove to a convenience store in Elgin. Upon removal of the carpet and the transmission cover we found pools of transmission oil on top of the transmission access panel. It appeared that there was too much oil in the transmission and the excess was blowing out the vent.
First smell of trouble
Repairs begin at the local Pump’n Munch
Transmission cover is removed get a closer look
To verify the transmission was OK, the access panel was removed and the gears inspected. Assuming there was indeed excess oil, the side port was opened and about ½ cup of oil was removed. After cleaning up the mess, everything was buttoned up and we hit he road with our confidence slightly shaken.
The shake down cruise continued. As we went along, shifting gears slowly became increasingly difficult. Just prior to hitting the toll roads to Chicago shifting became impossible. One could only shift if the engine was not running – not too desirable for the stop and go of Chicago’s rush hour traffic. We had to stop and fix the problem.
Pre-Chicago car repairs and cash advances
Once again the carpet and the transmission cover was removed. The Hurst Competition Plus shifter was re-adjusted. Testing showed a minor improvement but reverse was still impossible to engage with the engine running. A quick call to friend pointed to the need to adjust the hydraulic clutch. This was done in short order and the result was dramatically smooth shift action.
Repairs are a breeze despite the back spasms
The Cord’s high performance was tested and proven in handling the bipolar, near maniacal driving of Chicago’s rush hour traffic. Once out of Chicago it was smooth sailing as we motored through the warm evening under the light of the full moon.
The next day the car was washed for the first time and prepared for the parade and show. The weather was perfect, and the parade and the show spectacular. The car drew considerable interest and was well received. Some wanted to know if I was going into production!
Crossing the finish line with family and friends in the midst of some of the greatest classics cars of all time was indeed the perfect finale of such an arduous project.
First car wash
Cord crosses the finish line without bursting into flames
The Otis Cord parks next to a 70 year old original worth $250K
Bruce gets busted for saying his car is an original
Dad, me and my replica (brother) at the Hyatt
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