Barrett-Jackson 2022: 1970 Samco Cord 812 Convertible Replica

Neoclassic cars are a specialty product for a niche audience. I have written extensively about neoclassic cars for this website, and the companies that build them follow a similar pattern:

1) Company begins building fiberglass bodied cars on top of an existing 1970s or 80s Ford or GM chassis
2) Company builds a few hundred to a few thousand cars
3) Company runs into financial trouble and closes up shop
4) The cars trade hands in the secondhand market, with little to no verifiable information about the company or vehicle’s history

This story has been told time after time with Zimmer, Philips, Clenet, Classic Tiffany, Corsair, Gatsby, and the short-lived reboot of Stutz.

The story of SAMCO follows a similar path, though the cars themselves were unique in a way that stood out from the pack.

SAMCO is an acronym for Sports Automobile Manufacturing Company. It was a side project of William “Bill” Lear, creator of the Learjet – the world’s first mass-produced business jet.

While Lear was well-established in Wichita, Kansas the automobile operation was located in Oklahoma. From 1968 through 1970, the company produced approximately 400 SAMCO Cord replica cars.

According to the website www.stutzbearcat.com, the cars were offered in two models: the Warrior with a 108-inch wheelbase and the Royale with a 113-inch wheelbase.

Engine choices were a Ford 302 V8 engine or a Chrysler 440 Magnum V8 engine. The website www.barnfinds.com says that unlike most neoclassic cars which are built on another chassis, the SAMCO Cords are unique in that they are built on a custom frame.

Initially located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, production was later moved to Mannford, OK which is about 23 miles west of Tulsa.

This 1970 vehicle is a replica of the 1937 Cord 812 Sportsman, though the proportions are quite different from the original. This SAMCO Cord is much too small to pass for a 1930s vehicle. The real Cord automobile is famous for its “coffin nose” styling with headlamps cleverly hidden in the front fenders. This gives the car a streamlined look that was very modern for the time. This car has no trick headlights, but a couple of round lamps fixed to each fender and two smaller lights in the middle. It’s a far cry from the sleek look of the original.

It has a manually-operated convertible top over two bucket seats up front. The vehicle is equipped with power steering, disc brakes, chrome wheels, and a rear luggage rack. Interestingly, the car does feature rear-hinged doors and white-wall tires, like the original upon which it is based.

The dashboard has a cassette player radio, air conditioning, and all the faux woodgrain trim and brown vinyl upholstery you can handle. The layout is unconventional with the speedometer and tachometer in the center of the very flat dashboard. This car sold for $24,200 (including buyer’s premium) at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2022 Collector Car Auction as lot #109.