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1937 Cord 812 news, pictures, specifications, and information

Custom Berline
 
In 1937 Cord offered the 812 in six different bodystyles including the Convertible Coupe, Beverly Sedan, Custom Beverly, Custom Berline, Phaeton, and Westchester Sedan. The Convertible Coupe is commonly referred to as the 'Sportsman.'

Little changed from 1936 except for the Schwitzer-Cummins centrifugal supercharger that added an additional 6-psi of boost for the Lycoming V8 engine.

The cost of a new Cord in 1937 was around $2,560, and increase of about $450 over the prior year. This was a substantial change considering most entry-level vehicles cost around about $500 to a $1000. The cost of the supercharger on the Cord raised the price an additional $450.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2007
Supercharged Convertible Phaeton Sedan
Chassis Num: 17834
 
Sold for $192,500 at 2011 RM Auctions.
E.L. Cord's, Cord Corporation, was noted for innovative, sometimes extreme, designs incorporating the newest ideas and technologies. In almost every way, each of Cord's automobiles were more like concept cars than what would be considered regular production cars. Perhaps no single Cord design reflects the company's and Cord's own approach to car making than the Cord Model 812.

The designers at Cord managed to take shapes like arcs and rectangles and create something radical, and yet, that looked so good. And the 812 is perhaps the most extreme adaptation. Minimal was not in the company's vocabulary.

E.L. Cord had been able to rescue Auburn Automobile Company, and then, negotiated the purchase of Duesenberg in 1926. That wasn't enough for Cord. He wanted to have his own car manufacturer that would produce his kind of automobiles. Therefore, later on in 1926, Cord launched the car company bearing his own name.

Using Lycoming engines (another company Cord had purchased), in only three years after coming into existence, Cord produced its L-29. The car was designed to ride low to the ground and was a beautifully designed coupe. It ended up winning the Monaco Concours d'Elegance in 1930. Besides offering custom coachwork, the L-29 introduced the automotive world to an important feature that would be all but standard by the late 1980s. Cord's L-29 was the first American automobile to offer front-wheel drive. After over 5,000 L-29s were built, production ceased at the end of 1931.

Cord decided not to merely re-fashion the L-29, but instead, decided to start over. Debuted at the New York Auto Show in 1935, Cord's new 810, with its expressive shapely lines, belonged more in the world of concept car than regular production model. In and of itself, the car was truly ahead of its time. It incorporated many features that wouldn't be all available in one car for nearly another thirty years.

The brain-child of Gordon Buehrig, the 810 and 812 were part science-fiction and a designer's unlimited imagination. The Cord 810 and 812 were real over-the-top works of art. While the L-29 shared a refined look similar to Cord's other company, Duesenberg, the 810 was a radical departure, more-akin to what a teenager of the time would design.

The 810 introduced more innovations that were ahead of its day. Hidden on the front side of the voluptuous front wheel Pontoon fenders were the car's pop-up headlights. Though offered on a DeSoto during the 1940s, the pop-up headlight wouldn't really become available until the 1960s.

Another of the aerodynamics features that made the 810 out-of-this-world and ahead of its time, was the position of the door hinges on the inside of the car so they did not protrude on the outside. The hood, too, was changed. Most designs of the day had hinged panels that opened from either side of the engine bay. The 810 incorporated a hinge located at the back of the bay near the passenger compartment. This meant the entire hood lifted up. In addition to these innovation design features, the 810 also had variable-speed windshield wipers and a standard radio. A car in those days even having a windshield wiper was a big deal, let alone one that was variable speed. And a standard radio wouldn't even be offered in cars until the 1950s.

Besides the large Pontoon fenders, equally attracting one's attention was what became known as the 'coffin nose'. What essentially is one heavily rounded rectangle based shape, the nose/engine bay sports a wrap-around grille and highly-polished exhausts pouring out of the side of the engine cowling. Inside the passenger compartment, the Phaeton model housed a three-person back seat, whereas, the convertible version used this space for storage of the top.

The only major difference between the 810 and 812 was the inclusion of supercharging. On the 812 a supercharger was included that boosted horsepower to 170 bhp, although it was known to actually produced between 185 and 195 bhp.

The car offered for auction this year was a 1937 model 812, and therefore, one of only about 700. Being a supercharged Phaeton, it is believed this car is one of just 134 produced by Cord. The car has been part of a private collection for many years and just recently went through restoration. Finished in black and accented by highly polished chrome and white-walled tires, this impressive 812 was expected to fetch between $150,000 and $200,000.

Its interior is finished in red leather and is accented in black trim and an etched metal dash. It sports the 812's four-speed pre-selector transmission. It has a transverse leaf spring front suspension via trailing link. This 812 has a trailing arm front axle and a live rear axle. It makes use of four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes for its stopping power.

The supercharged 812s boasted superlative performance. When combined with the magnificent design and innovative features, the 812 provides an experience way beyond its years. Though Cord's car company went out of business, it paved the way for the future. And the 812 truly stretched the limits of automotive design and innovation.

Sources:
'Buy: View Lots (Lot 245: 1937 Cord 812 SC Phaeton)', (http://www.rmauctions.com/FeatureCars.cfm?SaleCode=AZ11&CarID=r207&fc=0). RM Auction Arizona. http://www.rmauctions.com/FeatureCars.cfm?SaleCode=AZ11&CarID=r207&fc=0. Retrieved 11 January 2011.

Wikipedia contributors, 'Cord Automobile', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 20 December 2010, 12:57 UTC, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Cord_Automobile&oldid=403343000 accessed 11 January 2011

By Jeremy McMullen
Convertible Coupe
 
'It didn't look like an automobile. Somehow it looked like a beautiful thing that had been born and just grew up on the highway.' Those words were used by someone seeing a Cord for the first time. The Cord 810/812 models of 1936 and 1937 were some of the most visually striking cars of all time, and were the most mechanically advanced of their day. They were also the last products of an under-funded company scrambling to survive The Great Depression. In the end, stunning design and innovative engineering could not overcome production delays, mechanical bugs and the declining market for cars in the Cord's price range. Auburn Automobile Company, the Cord's parent, filed for bankruptcy in December 1937, leaving behind just 2,320 cars to be coveted by future collectors and enthusiasts.
Supercharged Convertible Phaeton Sedan
 
This is a very special Cord - the original owner was Tom Mix, the first great western film star, who made 348 films between 1915 and 1935. Just 196 Supercharged Cord 812 Roadsters were built. This example is one of only three with a rare set of options, including an external mounted spare. The other two belonged to jazz singer Al Jolson and actress Barbara Stanwick.

The car is easily capable of speeds in excess of 100 mph and Tom Mix, America's first cowboy movie star, was travelling nearly 80 when he missed the sign saying 'Bridge Under Construction.' Ironically, Mix, who performed his own stunts, died when he was hit in the head with an aluminum suitcase filled with money.

Although going through several owners, the car was acquired by the current owner, who directed a complete restoration back to the condition when owned by Mix. The car has all the custom features that Mix added during his ownership.

The Cord featured plenty of innovations - front wheel drive, no running boards, electric-pneumatic pre-selector shifting, disappearing headlights, streamlined styling and an instrument panel that looked like it came from an airplane.

The 1936-37 Cords were powered by a Lycoming V-8 motor that developed 125 horsepower (Lycoming Motors was part of the Cord Corporation). A supercharger was available in 1937 and this car is so equipped.
SC Phaeton
Chassis Num: 31690H
Engine Num: FC2265
 
At one point in history, E. L. Cord controlled Auburn, Duesenberg, Cord, Lycoming, Stinson Aircraft and American Airways, and the Checker and Yellow Cab companies. He was a salesman who had worked his way into a position of leadership and had a portfolio that included 156 companies. In 1924 he had acquired Auburn and from there the success steam-rolled.

He introduced the front-wheel drive Auburn in 1929, commonly known as the L29. The stock market crash in the early 1930s brought the luxury car market to a standstill; to combat this recession E. L. Cord commissioned Gordon Buehrig to create a baby Duesenberg. The result was a medium-priced, front-wheel drive car which ultimately led to the Model 810 in 1936. The car brought with it style and performance at a reasonable price. The car featured a coffin-nose and retractable headlights. The car was powered by a Lycoming V8 engine and was introduced at the 1935 New York Auto Show.

The Supercharged Phaetons were highly sought after, even by the noteworthy individuals of the period, including Frank Llyod Wright, Gary Cooper, and Clark Gable. There were a total of 610 Phaeton cars created and less than 200 were supercharged.

This example is finished in a Cigarette cream color and is powered by an L-head V8 engine with a Schwitzer-Cummins centrifugal supercharger. The engine displaces 288 cubic-inches and is capable of producing 190 horsepower. There is a four-speed preselector manual gearbox with four-wheel hydraulic brakes. The interior is finished in black. This car was treated to a complete nut-and-bolt restoration and is in superb condition.

This car was offered for sale at the 2007 RM Auctions held at Meadow Brook where it was estimated to sell between $150,000 - $200,000. As the bidding came to a close, a new owner was found with a high bid of $176,000.

By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2007
Supercharged Beverly Sedan
 
The Cord Model 812 succeeded the model 810 in 1937. Several options were made available in 1937 including a super-charger and a long wheelbase 'custom' series. The super-charged model had the external exhaust pipes, and utilized a super-charged Lycoming V8 engine.

In 1937, at the height of the Great Depression, this car cost $3,010, when a big Buick could be bought for $895. Mostly hand-built, the 812 featured a supercharged 280 cubic-inch V8 engine, a four-speed transmission, front-wheel drive, unit body construction, and had a top speed of 112 mph. Radical for its day, the Cord 812 had retractable headlights, hidden door hinges, no running boards, stepdown floor and independent suspension. About 90 convertible coupes were built and only a handful of those were supercharged.

Cord offered six different body styles of which this car is an example of the Beverly sedan.
Cabriolet
 
In 1936 the British motoring magazine, The Autocar, called the new Cord 'the most unorthodox car in the world today.' The Cord 810/812 had its origins in an abandoned design for a smaller, less pricey version of the Model J Duesenberg from 1933. Designer Gordon Buehrig adapted it for a new front-wheel drive model named after company chairman E.L. Cord. This was not the first model named for him - that was the L-29, but the Cord 810 and 812s of 1936-1937 became the most associated with this classic marque. The example shown represents Buehrig's purest form of his iconic design elements, the 'coffin nose', because it lacks the external exhaust pipes.
The model 810 and 812 front-wheel-drive Cord made their debut at the 1935 New York Auto Show and were an immediate success. Gordon Buehrig's sensational styling along with innovative engineering advances, such as front-wheeled drive, coupled with an electric vacuum shifting device located on a short arm just under the steering wheel for ease of driver control, just added to the excitement. A Bendix Pontoon fender, no running boards, and an enclosed radiator, along with the 'coffin nose' hood attracted dealers and buyers. Cord had trouble producing enough cars to meet the demand.
By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2006
SC Phaeton
Chassis Num: 1469
 
The Cord is a front wheel drive vehicle and has pre-select shifting with Vacuum/solenoid assisted Transmission. Another feature was the disappearing headlights.

This car was originally Supercharged, but is not now. Could be purchased with the exposed exhaust pipes even when not supercharged. This body style was only produced in 1936 and 1937.

Certified with ACD. Car has achieved the highest awards in AACA, CCCA and ACD clubs.

The 1937 Cords, penned by the legendary Gordon Buehrig, were designated model #812. They were little changed from the 1936 models. Approximately 2,900 Cords were produced between 1936 and 1937.

Although this Cord is not supercharged, the optional chromed outside exhaust pipes available on any of the 812 body styles, gives the car unmistakable external identification.

One of the most attractive and desirable variants of the 812 was the phaeton, a unique four-passenger convertible that featured a top that, when down, was totally concealed.

The Cord 812 remains one of the most significant vehicles in the history of automobile design. Its combination of charisma, fresh styling and innovative engineering make it one of the most desirable and drivable cars of the classic era.

Having achieved highest honors in the ACD Club, CCCA, and AACA, this Cord also carried Gordon Buehrig's granddaughter in the annual parade at the ACD Festival in 1997.
Custom Berline
 
The 1936-1937 Cord 810/812 models are considered one of the greatest design of all time. Originally intended as a 'baby' Duesenberg, it evolved into the radical Gordon Buehrig designed front wheel drive Cord. The car features a 125 horsepower Lycoming V8 engine, a four-speed transmission with an innovative electric shift, disappearing headlights, no formal grill, no running boards, and unibody construction. The car created an absolute sensation when it was introduced but there was no way it could be produced in great numbers. In 1937, the top-of-the-line Berline was introduced with a stretched wheelbase, divider window and other luxury touches. In 170 horsepower supercharged form, it cost over $3,000 and only 21 were built. This particular Cord Berline was driven all the way from Seattle to the 2007 Pebble Beach COncours d'Elegance.
SC Phaeton
Chassis Num: FC2998
 
This 1937 Cord 812 SC Phaeton was offered for sale at the Vintage Motor Cars sale at Hershey, PA presented by RM Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $200,000 - $250,000 and offered without reserve. The lot was sold for $253,000 including buyer's premium.

This vehicle is a ACD Level One Certified example and completed the 2007 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance 1,600 Mile Rally. It is the 507th Phaeton produced which means it was one of the later examples created, as evident by its outboard taillights. It has spent most of its life in California and Arizona, with its recent years on the East Coast.

The car is ivory with a tan Haartz cloth convertible top. It is an original vehicle including its body, engine, supercharger, drive train, suspension, and running gear. It has the external exhausts and a pair of original Cord fog lights.

There were 610 convertible Phaetons produced with 196 being equipped with superchargers.

By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2007
Convertible Coupe
Chassis Num: 32463CORD
 
This 1937 Cord 812 SC Sportsman with a removable hardtop was offered for sale at the 2007 RM Auctions held in Amelia Island, Florida. The car was estimated to fetch $200,000 - $250,000. It is powered by a 269 cubic-inch L-head, V8 engine with a centrifugal supercharger which boosted horsepower to nearly 190. There is a four-speed pre-selector manual gearbox and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes.

This medium-priced, front wheel drive vehicle had styling by the legendary stylist, Gordon Buehrig. These 1937 Cords, known as the 812, were similar to the prior year models. The biggest improvement was the addition of the Schwitzer-Cummings centrifugal supercharger. It added an additional 6 psi worth of boost. The chromed exhaust pipes coming out of the sides of the hood gave visual hints of the vehicles performance and sporty persona.

This car shown is finished in burgundy and is one of only three examples constructed with a removable hardtop. Its unique qualities, coffin-nosed front end, and sporty characteristics inspired bidding. The car found a new home, selling for $225,500.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2007
SC Phaeton
Chassis Num: FB1865
 
This 1937 Cord 812 SC Phaeton is painted in rich maroon with a saddle brown leather interior and a tan cloth top. In 2003 it was certified by the A.C.D. The first time this car was given a nut-and-bolt restoration was in 1977, which took four years to finish. In 1991 the car was the poster car for the Meadow Brook Concours. In 2007 it was shown at the automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan.

The current owner purchased the car in 2001 and commissioned another professional restoration. It was a blue ribbon winner in 2003 at the Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance and voted 'Best in Show - Road Tour' at the 2004 Cranbrook Concours d'Elegance.

This is a very well maintained and rarely used machine. Since 1977, it has been driven a mere 720 miles. It has been stored in a climate-controlled environment and been very pampered during its modern life. In 2008 it was brought to the Automobiles of Amelia presented by RM Auctions where it had an estimated value of $220,000-$280,000. Bidding surpassed those figures, settling at $291,500 including buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008
Convertible Coupe
Chassis Num: FC3144
Engine Num: FC3144
 
At one point in history, E. L. Cord controlled Auburn, Duesenberg, Cord, Lycoming, Stinson Aircraft and American Airways, and the Checker and Yellow Cab companies. He was a salesman who had worked his way into a position of leadership and had a portfolio that included 156 companies. In 1924 he had acquired Auburn and from there the success steam-rolled.

He introduced the front-wheel drive Auburn in 1929, commonly known as the L29. The stock market crash in the early 1930s brought the luxury car market to a standstill; to combat this recession E. L. Cord commissioned Gordon Buehrig to create a baby Duesenberg. The result was a medium-priced, front-wheel drive car which ultimately led to the Model 810 in 1936. The car brought with it style and performance at a reasonable price. The car featured a coffin-nose and retractable headlights. The car was powered by a Lycoming V8 engine and was introduced at the 1935 New York Auto Show.

The Supercharged Phaetons were highly sought after, even by the noteworthy individuals of the period, including Frank Llyod Wright, Gary Cooper, and Clark Gable. There were a total of 610 Phaeton cars created and less than 200 were supercharged. 195 examples were Convertible Coupes and 64 were supercharged. These Convertible Coupes with the supercharger engine offered open-air driving with maximum performance and exceptional style. The Convertible Coupe has become known as the Sportsman, though it was never called that by Cord.

The convertible top can completely fold into the rear deck panel and is completely hidden.

This example has a long and renowned history. It has undergone a complete and comprehensive restoration that included every nut-and-bolt. The total hours invested was between 6,000 and 7,000. The most unique feature of this car is its color, which is an 'improvement' upon the factory Cigarette Cream color. This color is a very vibrant yellow that stands out among other Cords.

This car is well maintained and built to the highest standards. It was offered for sale at the 2007 RM Auctions held at Meadow Brook where it had no reserve and estimated to sell between $325,000 - $375,000. This car is highly sought after and it showed at the auction; the car was sold for $352,000.

By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2007
SC Phaeton
Chassis Num: 32339H
Engine Num: FC3079
 
Sold for $121,000 at 2009 Gooding & Company.
The Cord automobile was launched in 1929 by Erret Lobban Cord, who gave the U.S.A. its first front-wheel drive car in reasonable numbers. The Cord Model 812, succeeded the Model 810 in 1937. The 1937 Cord cars are powered by super-charged Lycoming V8 engines. Cord ceased production of automobiles in 1936-1937. It is believed that only 2,320 units of the 810/812 model were ever built.

This 1937 Cord 812 SC Phaeton was once part of the Ron VanKregten Collection. It has a supercharged V-8 engine and a vacuum-operated transmission, Miller-influenced front-wheel drive and a four-speed Preselector gearbox. This car has an Antique Automobile Club of America National First Prize winner badge dated 1976 on its bodywork. It wears a thirty-year old restoration and finished in maroon over red leather and has matching wheels wearing classic Denman whitewalls.

In 2009, this 812 SC Phaeton was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. The car was estimated to sell for $150,000 - $175,000 and offered without reserve. The lot was sold for a high bid of $121,000, including buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2009
Convertible Coupe
Chassis Num: 32023F
 
Sold for $310,750 at 2012 RM Auctions.
This 1937 Cord 812SC Sportsman has chassis number 32023F, is finished in burgundy with a light brown interior, and has been treated to a restoration since new. It was once owned by one of the early founders of the Disney Corporation, Mr. Lee R. Richardson of Carefree, Arizona, who kept the car for 28 years. It has spent most of its life in California, Arizona, and Colorado.

It is an original factory Supercharged Convertible Coupe Sportsman and certified by the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club.

This car was offered for sale at the 2007 Monterey Sports & Classic Car Auction presented by RM Auctions, where it had an estimated value of $225,000 - $275,000. It left the auction under new ownership, having been sold for $247,500 including buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2007
Convertible Coupe
Chassis Num: 32485F
 
This Cord 812 SC was once a right-hand drive model with a body by Central Manufacturing Company, an in-house coachbuilder for Cord. It carried body number C92-304. The last known original body number is C92-306, which makes this car one of the last Cords ever built.

It is painted in Cigarette Cream with a matching burgundy interior. When it was new it was sent to South Africa where it remained for many years. Around the early 1970s it was purchased by Dr. Frank Hayward of Johannesburg who later sold it to Dr. Fay Culbreth of Charlotte, North Carolina in 1999. At that time, the odometer read 62,000 miles. Two more owners owned this car before it was brought to the 2008 Automobiles of Amelia presented by RM Auctions where it was estimated to sell for $250,000-$350,000. As the gavel fell for the third and final time, the car had been sold for $220,000.

This car has been treated to a complete, professional, frame-off, nut-and-bolt restoration that was completed just prior to making its way onto the auction block. It traveled a mere 51 miles since the restoration and is in top concours quality. It is still a right-hand drive vehicle with the interior retaining its original steering wheel, 150-mile-per-hour speedometer, ashtray, speaker, and radio.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008
Convertible Coupe
 
A supercharged Cord set records in September of 1937 at the Bonneville Salt Flats. They were clocked by the Contest Board of AAA, which also certified the cars as stock. Among other records this Cord did the flying mile at 108 mph, and 24 hours at an average of 101 mph.
Convertible Coupe
 
The 'Coffin Nose' car, as it was called, is one of 64 cabriolets built with the supercharged motor and is painted in the corporate advertised color of 'Rich Maroon.' These cars were originally conceived as a baby Duesenberg, and their avant-garde style was built in four different body designs. Produced to bolster the ailing Auburn Motor Company of Indiana, production of the Cord only totaled 2,907 units in two years, 1936 and 1937. The advertised - and underrated - horsepower was 170 horsepower but with the Cummins-Schwitizer-Cummins supercharger atop the Lycoming engine, it consistently produced twenty-five more horsepower. When driven by Ab Jenkins in tests for the Cord Co., he repeatedly drove these cars at the 107 miles per hour mark on distances between 5 to 200 miles per test.

The body, by master artist Gordon Buehrig, was the last vehicle conceived and designed by one person. Hereafter, groups and committees of employees would consigned by one person. Hereafter, groups and committees of employees would collectively design new vehicles for their respective automobile nameplate. The metal stamping facility, Central Manufacturing Co., which pressed the exquisite forms of these cars, also stamped kitchen cabinets for Montgomery Ward when automobile orders were slow. Although loved and driven by people such as Tom Mix, Tyrone Power, Amelia Earhart and Ida Lupino, the front wheel drive concept coupled with an electric shift transmission and higher than anticipated production costs were equal factors in contributing to the demise of Mr. Errett Lobban Cord's automobile empire.
Introduced in 1929, Erret Lobban Cord created the Cord, one of the most stylish and graceful cars to ever be produced in America.

By 1933, Chairman of the Board, Errett Cord, had sold most of his stock of the Auburn Company and Gordon Buehrig joins the team. In 1935, created is five prototype Cord 810s. Mechanically, the 810 Cord was inspired by its front-wheel-drive predecessor, the L-29. But with this engine, it was a 90-degree V-8, designed by Lycoming's Forest Baster. The 810 would be fitted with a four-speed transmission, with an electro-vacuum activated gear selection by a lever on the steering column. The 810's wheelbase was over 120 inches, weighed in at 3,650 pounds and still would reach 90 miles per hour. The design of the door handles, rounded gauges, and window cranks would confirm the Art Deco style with colorful plastics, which played a major role in the designing of the 810. It would also do away with the traditional runningboards, outside-mounted headlamps, traditional upright radiators and tall hoods. 1937 would bring the 812, which replaced the 810 with an optional centrifugal supercharger increasing the horsepower by over 40. Also added were chrome exhaust pipes like the Duesenberg SJ.

Kyle McMullen
Convertible Phaeton Sedan
Designer: Gordon Buehrig
 
This Cord 812 Phaeton is 1 of only 688 cars originally equipped with a Switzer-Cummins supercharger. Ab Jenkins drove a stock supercharged Cord to a new 24-hour average speed record at Indianapolis Motor Speedway of 79.577mph, earning the company the coveted Stevens Trophy. Not only was the Cord a dazzling design, it was dazzlingly fast too! This fabulous Cord won Best in Show at the ACD National Meet in 2003 and then went on to Pebble Beach in 2004.
Custom Berline
 
Cord manufactured automobiles from 1929 through 1937. Production began with the L-29 in 1929 and ended with the 810/812 series in 1936 and 1937. Cord produced some of the most mechanically advanced automobiles of the period. Cord was the first production car to be fitted with front wheel drive, a milestone in 1929, and culminated in the avant grade design of the 810/812 series, complete with Lycoming V8 engines and vacuum operated transmissions.

This Cord, a supercharged Model 812, was one of the last Cords built in 1937 before The Depression forced the company to file for bankruptcy and ultimately close.
Cabriolet
Chassis Num: 38010A
Engine Num: FB2003
 

Cord: A Brief History

Super-salesman Erret Lobban 'E.L.' Cord saved the Auburn Automobile Company in the mid-1920s by taking their drab sedans, repainting them in spiffy colors and aggressively promoting them throughout the country. Having saved Auburn, he then bought the company in 1928 and proceeded to build a steady flow of very good-lòòking Auburns, including the stunning boattail speedster. In 1929, Cord announced a car carrying his own name: a front-wheel-drive luxury automobile wîth extremely low lines and ravishing good looks. To complete his whirlwind year of automotive activity, he also produced the mighty Model J Duesenberg, completing plans for his very own automotive empire.

L-29 Cord production ceased after two years, but E.L. had another car in the works - a 'Baby Duesenberg,' also a front-driver, but wîth V-8 power from his Lycoming Engine Company and priced in the upper-medium band. Called the Cord 810, this car was created to help Auburn Automobile out of the deep financial hole that dismal sales during the worst years of the Depression had caused. A totally clean-sheet design by the hugely talented Gordon Buchrig, it debuted at the 1935 New York Auto Show and was the hands-down hit of that event wîth its 'coffin nose' front styling, retractable headlamps, lack of running boards, and sleek, integrated shape. Cord salesman couldn't write orders fast enough.

However, teething troubles wîth the cars themselves, along wîth assembly line glitches plus a financial pinch, made for a slow delivery of Cords, and the first cars didn't get into owners' garages until mid-1936. With Auburns and Duesenbergs halted after 1936, the Cord was continued into 1937. But on August 7, 1937, the last Cord rolled off the assembly line and the glory days of Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg came to an abrupt end. In its two years of existence less than 3,000 Cord 810s and 812s had been built.

The Cord 812
There's a popular misconception among collectors that all Cords wîth an 812 designation indicate supercharged cars, but the 812 merely distinguishes the 1937 model-year cars from the 1936 run.

The 810 and 812 Cords are identical to each other in all specifications and other respects. Even if Cord had wanted to fiddle wîth Buehrig's superb design, the money wasn't in the till to mess it up wîth face-lifts or big mechanical changes. In both years, only four body styles were offered: the Phaeton, Beverly and Westchester sedans and the Sportsman convertible.

This Car
Finished in the popular Cord shade called 'Cigarette Cream,' the interior has been authentically reupholstered in dark burgundy leather. A beige canvas top complements the exterior and interior colors.

The timeless design of the Cord 810/812 continues to fascinate even 70 years after its public introduction. All Cords are Full Classics as recognized by the Classic Car Club of America and are eligible for all of the activities that the club offers for its members and their cars.

Source - Gooding & Company
It was spring of 1933 and former Auburn Automobile Company president Errett Lobban Cord became Chairman of the Board of the Cord Corporation, a holding company. By this time Cord has sold nearly all of his Auburn stock. Meanwhile in Detroit, General Motors Art and Color Division, headed by Harley Earl, runs a contest among its stylists. One of the four competing teams is headed by young Gordon Miller Buehrig, formerly chief stylist for Duesenberg, Inc. His entry places last. In September 1937 E.L. Cord sold his interests in the Cord Corporation to a group of financiers headed by Victor Emmanuel. They began selling of unprofitable subsidiaries, and changing the product 'mix' of others. They ordered the Auburn Automobile Company to cease its unprofitable automobile production, and placed the company in receivership. Since the other car Auburn was still building was the Cord

The public embraced the Cord in numbers unanticipated even by Auburn! The company simply couldn't produce a reliable car fast enough, and the original customer base evaporated. The Cord was the sensation of the auto shows in November 1935. Over 7000 requests for information were received. Salespeople took deposits for hundreds of cars at the shows. The Cord engine was the only V-8 Lycoming ever built.

It was a very modern power plant, wîth almost 'square' bore and stroke and nearly-horizontal valves operated by roller-equipped rocker arms. Even the earliest engines were designed to accommodate the centrifugal supercharger that was offered as an option on 1937 models. Supercharging not only raised the horsepower to 170 but also the price to an extra $2000.

Source - SDAM
SC Phaeton
Chassis Num: 32374H
 
Sold for $198,000 at 2010 Gooding & Company.
Sold for $198,000 at 2011 Gooding & Company.
This Cord is one of 610 Phaetons produced and fewer than 200 were equipped from new with the centrifugal supercharger. It has covered less than 30,000 miles from new. It has several rare factory options including auxiliary fog lights, a radio and a folding trunk rack. It is painted in black over a deep red leather interior and a tan cloth top.

This Phaeton was on display at the ACD Museum in Auburn, Indiana for several years.

In 2010, it was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company Auction held in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was estimated to sell for $225,000 - $275,000. As bidding came to a close, the lot was sold for the sum of $198,000, inclusive of buyer's premium.

By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2010
SC Phaeton
 
This was the last year of production for the Cord automobiles. A total of 1146 Cord 812 vehicles were produced this final year.

As originally delivered, it was fitted with a standard, normally aspirated, Cord V8 engine. At some point, the car was upgraded with the installation of a correct 'FC' series supercharged engine, including the rare, but correct Stromberg AA-25 carburetor.
SC Phaeton
Chassis Num: 32462H
 
Sold for $209,000 at 2006 RM Auctions.
Sold for $258,500 at 2010 Gooding & Company.
In 2010, this Cord 812 S/C Phaeton was offered for sale at Gooding & Company's auction held in Amelia Island, Florida. The car was expected to sell for $200,000 - $275,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $258,500, inclusive of buyer's premium.
By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2010
SC Phaeton
 
This 1937 Cord 812 Supercharged Phaeton is an unrestored example that has been well maintained all of its life. The top and upholstery have been replace, but the vehicle has never been apart. Over ninety percent of the paint is original to the car. The car has been driven a mere 29,000 miles from new. It is a well optioned vehicle with its supercharger, fog lights, and an extremely rare factory installed luggage rack. Though this accessory was listed in the 1937 Cord Accessories brochure for 1937, only few were sold. Of the fewer than two hundred such vehicles that were produced in 1937, only two or three have survived in such original condition.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2010
Convertible Coupe
 
The 1937 Cord 812 Phaeton with the optional supercharger, a $415 option, sold new for $3060. Only 196 such equipped vehicles were built. The supercharged increased the 125 horsepower to 170 horsepower from the Lycoming V-8 engine. The addition of Duesenberg SJ inspired side pipes hinted at the extra power from under the hood.

Cord offered two new sedan models for 1937, the Custom Berline and the Custom Beverly, both of which were stretched seven inches from the previous year's offerings.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2010
Convertible Coupe
 
While 812 SC Convertible Coupes are very rare due to low production, this is one of only six built without the outside exhaust pipes.
By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2010
Convertible Coupe
 
Approximately 195 Cord Convertible Coupes were built during the two-year run of the Cord 810/812. Only 64 were factory supercharged of which this car is one. The Convertible Coupe has come to be known as the 'Sportsman,' though the designation was never used by Cord. In 1937, a Cord crew, including Ab Jenkins, set 35 American stock car speed records in a Supercharged Cord 812 at the Bonneville Salt Flats plus 24 hours at an average speed of 101.72 mph.
Sportsman
 
This Sportsman is one of only fifteen originally supercharged cars from the factory. It has undergone an extensive 3-year restoration. The 810 Cord was introduced at the 1936 auto shows in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Show rules required that 100 cars had to be produced in order to be displayed. Auburn built the 100 cars in just 116 days, just in time for New York. The show car, with copper accents, was the hit of the show with people standing on the tops of running boards of other show cars to get a glimpse of the new car. For 1937, the model was designated the 812 and a supercharger was offered increasing horsepower to 170. These were distinguished by the chrome-plated external exhaust pipes mounted on each side of the hood and grille.
Berline
 
This is the only 135-inch wheelbase Berline ever built-it is a one-off custom. The interior features pigskin leather in the driver's area and mohair in the passenger area. It also has the bustle back trunk that was used on all 1937 Cords.
Convertible Coupe
 
This Cord 812 Convertible Coupe was re-united with its original owner in 2009, a rare and special event for a car of this vintage.
SC Phaeton
 
This Cord 812 Phaeton is from the second year of production and was purchased from an estate in 2006. It was in a disassembled state and in complete disrepair. A complete concours quality restoration was completed in 2011 and made its restoration debut at the 2012 St. Johns Concours d'Elegance.

The Gordon Buehrig designed creation included numerous innovations. In the front was a unique 'coffin nosed' hood which was hinged at the rear, hidden headlights and door hinges and an aircraft inspired instrument panel. Convertible models had a top that was totally concealed when down. Technical innovations included front wheel drive, a four-speed pre-selector manual gearbox, hydraulic brakes and unibody construction.
SC Phaeton
 
One of the greatest automobile designs of all time - and one of the most recognizable - is the Cord 810. Its designer, Gordon Buehrig, also designed numerous Duesenberg custom bodies as well as the 1935 Auburn.

The new Cord featured plenty of innovations - front wheel drive, no running boards, electric-pneumatic pre-selector shifting, disappearing headlights, streamlined styling and an instrument panel that looked like it came straight from an airplane. The car was a sensation but was plagued by mechanical issues and an evaporating specialty car market.

The 1936-37 Cords were powered by a Lycoming V-8 motor that offered 125 horsepower (Lycoming Motors was part of the Cord Corporation). A supercharger was available in 1937 - and was installed on this Cord. This car also features a rare option - rear-mounted spare tire.
SC Phaeton
 
In 1937, Cord offered six different body styles including The Convertible Coupe, Beverly Sedan, Westchester Sedan and the 812 Phaeton Convertible.

Cord introduced the front wheel drive in 1932 and certain models were available with a supercharger. This Cord received a frame-off restoration by Hibernia Auto Restorations in 2004. The Lycoming Flathead V8 engine was rebuilt receiving Porsche valves and Cadillac pistons, rods, lifters and bearings that increased the horsepower to 210.

1937 was the last year Cords were produced and only 3,000 of the vehicles were built.
Convertible Phaeton Sedan
Designer: Gordon Buehrig
Chassis Num: 812 1933H
Engine Num: FB 2578
 
Sold for $220,000 at 2013 RM Auctions.
For 1937, the Cords were designated the 812, although there were few changes, aside from an optional supercharger. The 812 was the final car to remain in production in the E.L. Cord empire. Cold sold his interests that August, and new management immediately halted the lines. The tooling for Buehrig's bodies was later used by Hupp and Graham, as an ultimately futile attempt to continue in the car business.

This Phaeton retains its original engine and has been converted to the appearance of a supercharged model with the addition of side exhaust, giving it an additional sporty flair. It was once owned by the late Orville Kottmann, of Florissant, Missouri. It wears an older restoration in the correct color of Rich Maroon with a tan interior and top. Currently, it is in the care of an East Coast owner.

By Daniel Vaughan | May 2013
Beverly Sedan
 
This Cord was originally designed by Gordon Buehrig in 10933 as a 1935 GM vehicle. Buehrig then took his design to Duesenberg where it became the basis for a smaller Duesenberg. Shortly, Auburn management decided that the car be built as a 1936 Cord.

The Cord 810 and 812 is recognized as the most advanced car of the decade 1931-1940, as it features a Lycoming V8 (125 horsepower, 288 cubic-inch), four-speed semi-automatic transmission, front wheel drive, unit body construction, a stub frame with a step-down design and all steel top. This vehicle is a very aerodynamic design, pontoon front fenders with concealed head lamps, hidden door hinges, hidden radio antenna, no running boards, or drip rails. The base price for this Cord Beverly was $2,245. The Cord 812 Beverly is one of 401 produced. In total, 2,907 Cord 810s and 812s were produced.
Convertible Coupe
 
In the early 1920s, E.L. Cord used his business and sales talents to gain control of the Auburn and Duesenberg automobile companies. In 1929, he created his namesake, the Cord, as the middle-class volume sales part of his ACD conglomerate.

Cord had designer Gordon Buehrig design this car to be a 1935 Duesenberg. The concept of front wheel drive was incorporated and, at the last minute, it was renamed Cord. The design featured twin flush mounted tail lights, no running boards, step down interior, disappearing top, concealed door hinges, foldaway headlights, built-in radio, and full ventilated wheel discs.

The Cord 810 was introduced at the 1936 New York Auto Show. Show rules required that 100 cars had to be produced in order to be displayed. Auburn built the 100 cars in 116 days. The car was the hit of the show with people standing on the tops and running boards of other show cars to get a glimpse of it. For 1937, the model was designated as the 812 and a supercharger was offered, increasing horsepower to 170. These were distinguished by the chrome-plated external exhaust pipes mounted on each side of the hood and grille.

This car was originally ordered by the president of Champion Spark Plug Company and is only one of three known custom coupes built by Auburn. It was donated to the Museum in 1983 in derelict condition. It has been fully restored including the hardtop body and replacement of the missing supercharged drivetrain.
Cabriolet
 
The supercharged Cord 812 was introduced in 1937 as the successor to the futuristic and similarly styled Cord 810 that had amazed the car buying public in 1935. The new car was available in a variety of body styles including this Sportsman Cabriolet. It was styled by the designer Gordon Buehrig whose pioneering work was matched by some equally unorthodox engineering, including the low-slung chassis and the supercharged V8 matched to a Bendix 'Electric Hand' pre-selector gearbox. Around 3,000 Cord 810s and 812s were manufactured during the late 1930s, and it is estimated that about two-thirds of them still exist, a testament to their incredible strength and beauty.
Convertible Phaeton Sedan
Designer: Gordon Buehrig
Chassis Num: 812 1546 H
Engine Num: FB 3258
 
Sold for $173,250 at 2013 RM Auctions.
This four-passenger Convertible Phaeton has a fully disappearing fabric top and rear quarter windows. Former owners include a Mr. Davis, of North Carolina, and long-time Cord enthusiast Jim Ray, from whose estate the car was acquired by its current owner. The owner has had the Cord fully and authentically restored. The car has been Certified Category One by the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club, with its original engine, and has won a Primary First Place at their National Reunion in 2011. It placed Second in the Cord Cousins Class at the Concours d'Elegance of America that same year, and it was a class award winner at the CCCA Museum Experience at Hickory Corners, Michigan. The car has been driven only 25 miles since completion of the restoration.
SC Phaeton
Chassis Num: 1469
 
The 1936 Cord 810 was Gordon Buehrig's 'baby Duesenberg', and known as Model 810 'Coffin Nose.' It was America's 1st front wheel drive production car.

At the end of the 1936 sales year, Cord had about 300 unsold bodies of varying styles. The VIN ID tag on these 300 bodies listed these cars as a Model 810 (1936).

With little difference from the 1936 to the 1937 body, the factory changed the 'Model 810' tag for a 'Model 812' tag, and sold them as 1937 models.

Josh Malk, historian of the ACD Co. lists #1526 as the first new VIN for 1937. This Cord, #1469, is one of these rare 300 bodied from 1936 rebadged as a 1937.

The addition of a centrifugal supercharger brought the Lycoming V8 engine to 190 horsepower.
Cabriolet
 
The second generation Cord automobiles were introduced in 1936 as the Model 810, penned by the famous designer Gordon Buehrig. The 810 was front wheel drive as was the earlier Cord L29 had been. The front wheel drive allowed a much lower body position, eliminating running boards. The 1937 Cords were named 812, and another option, a supercharged engine, was offered and designated 812C.

This vehicle was purchased by Albert Nagele of Wilmette, IL in the early 1980s and went through an extensive frame-off restoration, with incredible attention to original detail. After numerous awards, Nagele sold the vehicle to the Petersen Automotive museum.

The current owner purchased the vehicle in March 2013 and began a process of detailing it back to show condition.
Sportsman
Chassis Num: 812 1163 F
Engine Num: FC 2133
 
Sold for $220,000 at 2014 RM Auctions.
This Cord Cabriolet has been part of the Malcolm Pray collection since 2001, when it was acquired from Carlos Dominguez, of Palm City, Florida. Earlier owners are known to have included the Blackhawk Collection. This Cabriolet was a 1936 model that remained leftover in dealer stock at the end of the year, so it was renumbered as a 1937 by the factory. The car was originally built with a normally aspirated engine and that the present supercharged engine, FC 2133, was installed later in life.

Mr. Pray treated the car to significant cosmetic and mechanical work, which was performed by the Pray Body Shop, and the most recent of which was completed in 2012. The indicated mileage of 999 is believed to have been covered since restoration.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2014
Supercharged Sportsman
Chassis Num: 32420F
Engine Num: FC 2807
 
This Cord 812 S/C Convertible Coupe was delivered to Argentina and purchased new during late 1937 by a wealthy rancher and drive for the next decade until he placed a cover over it and parked it in a barn, where it remained for almost 60 years. The current owner acquired it and brought the vehicle to his shop in Montevideo, Uruguay. A full restoration effort of this 1937 Cord 812 S/C began in 2010 and completed during late 2013. It was completely stripped and refinished inside and out, and given a new leather upholstery and restored bright trim and hardware throughout. The engine and power train were rebuilt to match, and only a small number of miles of use have been registered since the restoration was completed.
By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2014
The Cord was owned by Auburn, Cord, and Duesenberg. Thus their similarities in vehicle design. These three firms also owned the Lycoming engine manufacturing company. This company supplied the 289 cubic-inch V8 engine that gave this vehicle life. The engine was rated at 125 horsepower, with the supercharger the horsepower increased to 170 bhp. The 125hp engine was capable of 90 miles-per-hour with a zero-to-sixty rating of about 20 seconds. A four-speed pre-selector was used, and the wheels were fitted with drum brakes.
The Gordon Beuhrig design is very classic, clean and inspired by aviation. The hood was called the 'Coffin Nose' look for obvious reasons. The hood, when opened, would open upwards. The windshield was split in the middle and was small in comparison to other vehicles. This was due to the room needed by the massive V8. The front had a chrome bumper and a wrap-around grill. Two lights were attached to the bumper and two retractable lights were hidden in the front wheel covers.

Production began for the Cords in 1936 and sales were steady. However, the company itself was not doing as well. The industry was very tough during that era due to many obstacles such as competition.

In 1937 the car was renamed to the 812 and included a few modifications. The 812S were supercharged and had chromed exhaust pipes attached to the side. It was too little, too late. Production ceased later that year due to company financial problems.

By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2006
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Arrow Right 1937 Cord models
Cord 810

Collectible: A Gathering of the Exceptional and Captivating
Similarly Sized Vehicles from 1937
Cord 810
Delahaye 135M

Similarly Priced Vehicles from 1937
Packard 1501 Super Eight ($2,400-$4,865)
Packard 1500 Super Eight ($2,300-$5,000)
Packard 1507 Twelve ($3,400-$5,725)
Cadillac Series 85 ($2,575-$5,245)

Average Auction Sale: $161,526

 
Cord: 1931-1940
Similar Automakers
Cord History
Other models by Cord


 
810/812
L-29

1938 814 Prototype Image Right
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