1937 CORD 812 PHAETON SEDAN
Chassis No. 1480H
Engine No. FB1955
Palm Beach Tan with a burgundy vinyl interior and tan convertible top
Engine: Lycoming V-8, L-head, side valve, 4,829cc, 120bhp at 3,600rpm; Gearbox: four-speed pre-selector with electro-vacuum shift front wheel drive; Suspension: independent, transverse leaf front, semi-elliptic rear; Brakes: four wheel hydraulic drum. Left hand drive.
One of the most distinctive American cars of its era was the Cord 810/812. The famous design of Gordon Buehrig and August Duesenberg astonished visitors at the 1936 New York Auto Show and was classified by the city's Museum of Modern Art as one of the world's ten outstanding pieces of industrial design.
E.L. Cord's career included making a success of the ailing Auburn Motor Co. and taking on the even greater challenge of Duesenberg. Somehow E.L. Cord found time to conceive a brand new marque bearing his name, starting with some amazing front wheel drive luxury cars with largely conventional looks. Then came the completely different 810, with a clean line, an alligator bonnet and pop-up headlamps. It utilized a Lycoming V8 engine and had an ingenious form of semi-automatic gearbox. Despite the novel car's widespread acclaim in the motoring press, the buying public was cautious of something so advanced. Understandably, since front-wheel drive was hardly known except on a few special European cars and the styling was so avant garde, the car hardly looks out of date even today. Only 1,174 of the original 810 cars were made in 1936, followed by the 812 version in 1937 (which had an option for a supercharger).
Approximately 600 of the very attractive Convertible Phaeton Sedans were built during the two year life of the Cord Front Drive and these cars are now appreciated more than ever. According to the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Club this car was certified in 1995 as a Category No. 1 Certified Original Car. The earliest recorded owner of this Cord, at some stage prior to 1946, is a Leroy Richards. Since 1946 there appear to have been just 7 owners to date. Between 1946 and 1983 the car lived in Ohio and Illinois before moving to Pennsylvania. For the past couple of years it has resided in Naples, Florida. Part of its early service history is recorded on file including details of the Butler vinyl interior that was installed at the factory in 1951. While this 812 was undoubtedly restored quite a number of years ago, it represents a well maintained and highly original example. The paint is highly presentable from a few feet away, however the top is slightly discolored. Very recently new rod bearings were fitted to the engine, which we are informed runs very quietly and shows good oil pressure. The car also has a radio and heater.
With fabulous looks and advanced specification, the Classic Car Club of America rightly classifies these cars as full classics.