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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This very interesting (for anyone interested in Cords anyway) video will really come in handy when I arrive in Paradise and take my first drive in my own Cord. Of course, I'll have eternity to study the owner's manual, but I'll still be impatient to hit the heavenly highway with mine. :)

 

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Cool......

But what was the point of the pre-selector?

Was it because the gears were hard to shift manually due to a lack of synchros, so the pre-selector would use spring loaded shifts to pop it in the next gear with the clutch out when the revs matched?
 

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Cool. I think I first learned about the preselector from one of Jay Leno's videos.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preselector_gearbox

From the ever-trustworthy source of wikipedia:

For the driver, there are two advantages:
Fast shifting, with only a single operation. This requires less skill to learn than techniques like double declutching and it offers faster shifts when racing.
Ability to handle far more engine power, with a lighter mechanism.
In engineering terms, some designs of pre-selector gearbox may offer particular advantages. The Wilson gearbox offers these, although they're also shared by some of the other designs, even though the designs are quite different:
Their friction components are brakes, rather than clutches. These are simpler to engineer, as the wear components can be arranged to not also be rotating parts.
The friction wear components can be mounted on the outside of the mechanism, rather than buried within it. This makes maintenance and regular adjustment easier.
 

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Get Off My Lawn!!!
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Very good question. The Cord transmission was synchromeshed in gears 2-4, with low being non-synchro, which by the late thirties was becoming commonplace. The preselector was one of the myriad "baby steps" in the journey toward fully automated gearshifting, and offered the physical and even ergonomic benefits of not having to row a floor-shift lever (column-shifting not being introduced until 1939), along with an obstruction-free floor (the flat floor in the Cord front-drive being a touted feature). The semi-automated aspect of the Bendix system (this was also featured in Hupp and Hudson automobiles, only in their 3-speed form) appealed to a public that was increasingly attracted to the more and more modernized features of automobiles of the mid to late 1930s...."car of the future" and all that.

A drawback of the Bendix preselector was that it was somewhat slow in shifting (although in the video it seems to do quite nicely for normal driving), and if not maintained well could hang-up between gears. It was an electro-pneumatic system, with electric switching that activated a pneumatic servo atop the transmission that did the gear-shifting. This photo is an excellent exposition of the Cord's drivetrain. You can see the servo and the switching system clearly atop the gearbox:

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
The Cord is so out of its time in its modernity. It's much more like a car from 10 or even 20 years later than of its own year of 1936. The seating position and overall manner of driving it bears little relation to its contemporaries, which were still of the prior age, with spindly floorshift levers, steering wheel positioning that was equally ancient, and "antique" controls all over the dashboard.

Speaking of dashboards...has there ever been one to equal that of the Cord 810? It is magnificent in its beauty AND its functionality. It even has trick features such as the fuel gauge (the "fan" shaped one on the lower left) that, when a button is depressed at the bottom of the gauge, switches to a display of the oil-level in the engine's crankcase. I've never seen it, but the edge-lighting of the panel's gauges is said to look gorgeous, and was at least twenty years ahead of its time, too.

To think that just a few individuals were involved in this car's design process, and they completed it in a matter of MONTHS and not years, on a budget that was skinny even by Great Depression standards. Amazing, amazing accomplishment. :)

PS: Watch closely the driver's handling of the steering of the car on his test drive. This was a car with its entire, heavy powertrain sitting atop the front, driven wheels, and yet it looks as if it has power steering, which it does not. One would expect such a layout to steer like a truck, but it looks light as a feather. Intriguing.
 

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that was pretty neat :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
was that the first car that you needed to depress the clutch to start it?
No. The Bendix Startix system was a very popular OEM accessory on several marques, as well as being available as a retro-fit for most cars in that era. With all cars being manually shifted, and often with quite a bit more difficulty than on today's feather-light gearshifts, stalling the engine when taking off from rest was common, especially for female drivers, who were more and more taking up driving automobiles during the thirties. The Startix system made the restarting process quick and automatic, with no groping for starter buttons on the dash or the floorboard.

 

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I have only been lucky enough to sit in one and pop the hood. I would love to try out the preselector gearbox in motion. The Cord 810/812 was decades ahead of its time in styling, fit/finish, technology, and driving dynamics.
 

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:thumbup: Very cool. 1930's technology is very interesting. It reminds me of the 1980's in a way... They really tried to leap-ahead in many ways. Some of it panned out, some of it was let down by what was possible at the time.

This definitely seems to work. I'm not really up on my old car facts, but a 4-speed gearbox seems like it would be a bit of a novelty for back then! I mean there were 1960s cars with two speeds.
 

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Well, before Larry's explanation about that gearbox, the Cord's Lycoming V8 was my favorite feature! That is very cool Larry, thanks for sharing.

And Larry, the only dashes I'd rank with the Cord come from early 356s(elegantly simple) and pre-war Packards.


1934 Packard V12 dashboard for comparison
 

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That must have been so amazing in the. 30s. I suppose the closest thing today is the Tesla, as there's nothing else like them, they're both high tech, rare and exotic.

Is there a better modern equivalent I'm missing?

Thanks, Larry. It's nice to see it in action. :beer:
 
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