Background on The Cord Automobile:
In 1935 Gordon Buehrig, a talented
but unknown automobile design engineer, designed the Cord
that has become known as a masterpiece of elegance, unmatched by any
automobile manufacturer since then. From the automobile's
introduction in 1936 to this day, the Cord has thrilled all who have seen
its beautiful design. The Cord is still known as the " Classic
of Classics" with a timeless design that remains strongly fixed in the
hearts of many automobile enthusiasts.
Evidence of this continuing love of
the Cord was made quite clear in the late 1960s, when in 1968, Howard
Williams of Tulsa, Oklahoma organized the Cord Automobile Company.
Williams was associated with industrialist and inventor William P.
Lear, founder of the LearJet
Company of Wichita, Kansas. Lear helped organize a group of businessmen to purchase the Cord Automobile
Company following its bankruptcy in 1967. Lear furnished LearJet's Vice President and
Production Manager Bill Landers. Landers became President of the Sports
Automobile Manufacturing Company (SAMCO), which manufactured the Cord
Automobile from a plant in North Tulsa and later in the West Tulsa suburb of
Mannford, Oklahoma. Williams was President of Cord
International Distributing managing sales, dealer relations and delivery.
Though the production level to meet the
thousands of dealer orders generated by Howard Williams that were received
for the standard rear wheel drive car were never achieved, the Tulsa
plant did manage the delivery of some 430 automobiles between 1968 and
1971. Later the factory was converted to the
manufacture of motor homes. In 1972 Howard Williams acquired the
entire Cord project from the investors and has continued to improve and
redesign the new Cord automobile. In 1983, Howard Williams and Gene
Bicknell, former President and CEO of National Pizza Company, and now
owner of The Mansion Theatre
in Branson, Missouri, entered into a personal
joint venture to renew the project and bring it to the place it is today.