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Jerrycord 07-15-2012 09:22 AM

engine swap 36 cord to GM V/8 FRONT WHEEL DRIVE
Hi everybody i just bought a beautiful 1936 cord westchester and i want to convert to a gm v/8 front wheel drive to eliminate the troublesome cord drivetrain i'm 75 years young and want enjoy the car now, i need all the info i can get for this conversion thanks,jerrycord

OneMoreTime 07-15-2012 11:21 AM

Lets move to general rodding tech...Now to answer some of the question..Once you settle on a donor but the whole car as those late models are electronic and you will need all the cpu's and wiring harness as well as the engine and trans..Not usre on the late GM stuff but most fwd cars mount the engine trans and suspension on a cradle which is then attached to the car so you will need to have the whole cradle and transplant all that as a unit into the Cord..Measure measure measure and take some trips to the pick-a-part with camera and tape measure to see just what is what and what may work for you in that app..


Jerrycord 07-15-2012 12:35 PM

Sam,i appreaciate the quick reply and the good advice,thanks,jerry

37ford4dr 07-15-2012 07:14 PM

thats quite an ambitious project. i would probably start by looking for a frame that is set up for what you want to do to start with and figure how to put the cord body on it.

timothale 07-16-2012 07:41 AM

GM swap
I saw a GM transplant into a 49 Stude 4 door saturday at a car show. The owner wasn't around to ask questions but it had the GM radiator support, inner fender panels and firewall, It looked like a new car under the hood. , A lot of hoses, AC system, wires, air intake, etc. I don't know if the whole floor pan and rear suspension was used, The tires fit in the fenders, and from the outside it looked stock with new aluminum wheels. John Long here on hotrodders put a 49 Merc body on a rear wheel drive 69 Buick skylark chassis, floor pan-firewall using wiring steering brakes etc, the old body shell on the new base.

cobalt327 07-16-2012 07:54 AM


Originally Posted by Jerrycord (Post 1573934)
Hi everybody i just bought a beautiful 1936 cord westchester and i want to convert to a gm v/8 front wheel drive to eliminate the troublesome cord drivetrain i'm 75 years young and want enjoy the car now, i need all the info i can get for this conversion thanks,jerrycord

First, now that's a project!!

A vehicle you might consider is a Cadillac Eldorado or Olds Toranado front half as a donor (sometimes referred to as the GM "E-body"). The engine/transmission and suspension will be robust enough to handle the weigh of the Cord.

And welcome aboard!

dinger 07-16-2012 07:58 AM

I had to google this, I wasn't sure of the look. What a beautiful car! I would be prepared to be vocally assaulted by the purists. :mad: I don't know of the problems you might encounter with the stock running gear but I would look into the 70's Toronado or fwd Caddy running gear. It may be a tough find. There is a Caddy grave yard in the Lancaster, Ca. area, maybe a good place to check in to. Good luck, keep us posted, this is definitely one of a kind project. Dan

Irelands child 07-16-2012 09:54 AM

I would really be reluctant to destroy this car with late model engine and drive line. While I knew what a Cord looks like, wasn't aware of the different models so did a search. This is one link I found:

"Only 1174 of these 1936 Cord model 810 Westchester Sedans were manufactured. Lauded at the time as the most impressive American design, it was late getting to production and many orders were cancelled. Despite the trouble Cord had getting the cars delivered, it is still an impressive and imposing creation. Innovative in design, the 810 presented one of the first cars without running boards, with an "alligator" hood, front wheel drive, and hide-away headlights. This Westchester was restored in the US in the early 70's and is in good running condition. It has been in a Museum for many years so will need to be refurbished, though the paint, bright work, and interior are all in very good condition and show extremely well. There is no rust on the car. The original 288ci V-8 is sound. Belts and hoses may need replacing, the brakes need service, and new weather stripping will need to be installed. This Cord is a remarkable car for any age. Car is available for inspection where located in Germany. Documentation is available. For more information please call Tom at 803-370-6354 or follow the link to email -"

The asking price was $69,500, selling price, probably still North of $60,000.

Now, if you are really interested in doing this, don't mind the $$$ hit to your retirement options, we'll give you lots of advice.

As far as a cross mounted engine/front wheel drive - why? There are many others, but IMO, that little 3.6 you suggest, probably not going to give you the performance you would like, especially if you stay with tall tires. Then any front wheel drive could give you major pain for adaptation to that chassis as I'm guessing some of the suspension geometry will be altered to fit the chassis/wheel well requirement

cobalt327 07-16-2012 02:50 PM

If you opt for the north/south FWD like from the Caddy or Olds Toronado, you can use relatively common engines like the Cad 425, 472 or 500, or a Pontiac 400/455, or an Olds 455, or a Buick 455. For that matter, w/just a relatively inexpensive adapter plate, you can bolt up a Chevy V8. You'd want something w/a lot of torque, at least a 383/400 SBC or preferably a 454-plus BBC.

How is it that you have come to the idea of cutting this car up to make it into a franken-mobile?

timothale 07-16-2012 05:06 PM

cut up rollsroyce
A buddy of mine was Saleen's Vp of engineering, a retired Ford engineer. He bought a 55 rolls limo that had been in Queen Elizebeth fleet, It broke down when he took it for a test drive, and the asking price dropped. He did a GM wagon front clip and Ford 460-C6 and 9 in rear, He got a little static when he was selling the Rolls parts but just says he hasn't had to call a tow truck.

Supercharged03 07-16-2012 07:28 PM


Originally Posted by Jerrycord (Post 1573934)
i just bought a beautiful 1936 cord westchester and i want to convert to a gm v/8 front wheel drive

Man, I have to state the obvious - that's just WRONG. A Cord is beautiful. You bought it. Get it fixed to drive. What's next? Chop the top on that Duesenberg?

27Tall T 07-16-2012 10:43 PM

:smash: Are you serious??? Why not get a Cord replica which has the modern drive train and bells and whistles?

OneMoreTime 07-17-2012 12:50 AM

Major 9issue with the early Cord is that the drivetrain was not all that good even when new so changing to a later more modern drivetrain so the car is usable and driveable can be a good choice. After looking at some images of original Cord cars I thinks something to explore would be using the drivetrain from a late 4x4 pickup such as a Tahoe or perhaps a Dakota with the IFs front axle..I would just blank off the rear shaft on the transfer case and run FWD only. I am not concerned about the axle as we can get those to work fine in the off road deal and using a low pinion axle would keep the ride height in the correct area and the engine/trans/transfer case are all proven units..That may fit a lot easier than any of the other ideas..


cb_chrysler 07-17-2012 05:59 AM

buy one
I have known of a few of these, a friend of mine had one and it cost him a fortune to get it right. Can I suggest you buy one already done and start driving it today, unless you have 2 years and $100k to fix the one you have.. Damn nice car, hate to see it get swapped around, some things are sacred !!!

against all odds 07-17-2012 06:55 PM

Don't cords have the engine longitudinally placed even with FWD?

In that case, yes i agree--- a conventional engine and trans with transfer case running the front axle only would probably be what i would want to try as well----much easier than finding an "e" body---toronado/eldorado drivetrain.

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