Designed by Gordon Miller Buehrig as the Baby Duesenberg, the Cord was hailed as being advanced for its time, both in design and technical features, but its appeal proved to be too short-lived and too late to save the company on its last gasps from the Depression. After six months of debating the proposed design, Duesenberg's boss, E.L. Cord, left Buehrig just four months to build the cars needed for the 1935 New York Auto Show, where it was awarded the title of the most beautiful car; luckily, however, no one at the show bothered to raise the hood because the engines were not ready. Buehrig was praised for beaking all the rule sin auto design. The Cord was the frist American car to feature hidden pop-up headlights, hidde door hinges and a one-piece rear-hinged hood. The Cord's most distinctive styling feature was its so-called coffin-nose hood with its seven wrap-around chromed ribs or louvers, making it the first water-cooled car to dispense with the front grille and radiator shell.
Other advanced features included front-wheel-drive, a four-speed semi-automatic transmission and a V-8 built to order by aircraft engine manufacturer Lycoming, also part of E.L. Cord's empire. The leading edge of the Cord's front wheels actually preceded the hood because of the transmission placement ahead of the engine, making the car appear as though it was leaping forward even when standing still, and making it well balanced. The interior was equally stunning, dominated by an instrument panel reminiscent of an airplane. At both ends of the dashboard were small cranks to raise or lower the hidden headlights given that power-assisted motors were not yet available.
However, the car's appeal proved to be its downfall with the company taking production short cuts to meet the unprecedented orders; the quality problems were eventually fixed but too late to save the marque and E.L. Cord's other automotive ventures, the Auburn and Deusenberg. The last Cord came off the assembly line August 7, 1937.