- Written by webmin
Replica cars have become, over the last few decades, something of a mixture between automotive curiosity, automotive battleground, and automotive joke. Cheap unauthorized fiberglass imitations have led many people to dismiss the concept of replicars entirely, but it hasn’t always been that way, and not every replicar manufacturer worked out of a fly-by-night operation. Indeed, Glenn Pray, one of the pioneers of the replicar movement has in recent years received a good amount of recognition for his role in automotive history, and fans of his replica Cord are now mourning his death Wednesday night.
Pray, born in December 1925, had a long history with the front-wheel-drive Cord 810/812, starting from the day he saw one on the street in 1940, continuing to his accumulation of more than a dozen of the Cords while working as a shop teacher, and eventually leading to his purchase of the remains of the Cord company in 1960. With financial help from Chevrolet dealer Wayne McKinley and design help from Gordon Buehrig, Pray was able to fulfill his dream of resurrecting the Cord as a brand-new car, using a Corvair drivetrain, a Royalite body and proportions set at about 80 percent of the original’s (thus the replica Cord’s name, the “8/10″). Eventually, 97 such Cords were built (six prototypes and 91 production cars, including the one that David LaChance profiled in HCC #60, September 2009), and Pray went on to build replica Auburns afterward. He had remained active in the Auburn and Cord enthusiast circles since then and in recent years had even brokered existing Cord 8/10s with Felix De Geyter, a former employee of Pray’s. At his death, Pray still owned the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Company and the rights to the Cord name.
Services for Pray will be held on Monday at Christ United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. For more on Pray’s life and the Cord 8/10, check out Josh Malks’s excellent biography, “Glenn Pray: The Man Who Brought Legends to Life.”