1937 Cord 812

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
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
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, with 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

Vehicle Profiles

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.' ....[continue reading]

Supercharged Convertible Phaeton Sedan

Chassis Num: 17834

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 pro....[continue reading]

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....[continue reading]

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 optio....[continue reading]

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 port....[continue reading]

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 Lycom....[continue reading]

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 19....[continue reading]

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.....[continue reading]

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 Lycom....[continue reading]

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 ....[continue reading]

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 cen....[continue reading]

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....[continue reading]

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 port....[continue reading]

SC Phaeton

Chassis Num: 32339H
Engine Num: FC3079

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 ....[continue reading]

Convertible Coupe

Chassis Num: 32023F

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. Rich....[continue reading]

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....[continue reading]

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 ....[continue reading]

Cabriolet

Chassis Num: 812 31762 F
Engine Num: FC 2575

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 sty....[continue reading]

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 th....[continue reading]

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 pro....[continue reading]

Cabriolet

Chassis Num: 38010A
Engine Num: FB2003

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....[continue reading]

SC Phaeton

Chassis Num: 32374H

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 f....[continue reading]

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.....[continue reading]

SC Phaeton

Chassis Num: 32462H
Engine Num: FC3249

This factory-supercharged Cord 812 Phaeton was discovered by Dr. Fay Culbreth in the mid-1970s in the collection of Carter Schaub and was able to negotiate a deal for its sale. Dr. Culbreth enjoyed the car for the better part of a decade after comple....[continue reading]

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. T....[continue reading]

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 Due....[continue reading]

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.....[continue reading]

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 ne....[continue reading]

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 1....[continue reading]

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.....[continue reading]

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.....[continue reading]

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 deb....[continue reading]

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.....[continue reading]

SC Phaeton

In 1937, Cord offered six different body styles including The Convertible Coupe, Beverly Sedan, Westchester Sedan and the 812 Phaeton Convertible.....[continue reading]

Convertible Phaeton Sedan
Designer: Gordon Buehrig

Chassis Num: 812 1933H
Engine Num: FB 2578

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 imme....[continue reading]

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.....[continue reading]

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.....[continue reading]

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.....[continue reading]

Convertible Phaeton Sedan
Designer: Gordon Buehrig

Chassis Num: 812 1546 H
Engine Num: FB 3258

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 o....[continue reading]

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 positio....[continue reading]

Sportsman

Chassis Num: 812 1163 F
Engine Num: FC 2133

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 r....[continue reading]

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 c....[continue reading]

SC Phaeton

In 1929 E.L. Cord introduced the Auburn-derived automobile named for himself, the Cord Front Drive or the L29, with its distinctive and sporting appearance. Its styling later provided the basis for the front-wheel-drive Cord 810 in 1936 and the later....[continue reading]

SC Phaeton

This Cord 812 Phaeton has been in the same family for the past 50-plus years. Since its restoration, it has earned numerous awards at automobile events.....[continue reading]

Convertible Coupe

The Cord 812 was a continuation of the 810, which had been introduced a year earlier. It is one of the best-remembered automotive designs of all time. It featured disappearing headlights, a 'coffin nose' hood, and an aircraft-style instrument panel. ....[continue reading]

SC Phaeton

Chassis Num: 812 31643 H
Engine Num: FC 2133

This Cord is finished in Cigarette Cream over red leather upholstery and made its debut at the ACD Club's National Reunion in 1991 and was an award winner there the following year. The restoration has been well maintained in the ownership of collecto....[continue reading]

Supercharged Convertible Phaeton Sedan

The Buehrig-designed 'coffin-nosed' Cord 810 debuted at the 1935 New York Auto Show and caused a sensation. Originally intended as a 'baby' Duesenberg, it sported advanced features such as front-wheel drive; independent front suspension; a unitized b....[continue reading]

Custom Beverly

E.L. Cord introduced an exciting and different automobile for the 1937 model year. The car was built in Indiana, retailed for $2,960 and used a 289 cubic-inch Lycoming L-head V8 engine. The big change from 1936 was an optional supercharger raising ho....[continue reading]

SC Phaeton

The Cord was originally designed as a 'Baby Duesenberg.' It became a Cord when engineers decided to use front-wheel drive to give the car a lower silhouette. In 1937, the Cord 812 Series offered two models on the 125-inch wheelbase and 4 models on th....[continue reading]

Cabriolet

This 1937 Cord 812 was built in May of 1936. Because it did not sell in 1936 the car was sold as a 1937 by Cord. The car was owned for almost 30 years by James Irving, owner of Irving Ready Mix, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It was certified by the Auburn ....[continue reading]

Supercharged Coupe

This special car was built for Robert Stranahan, President of the Champion Spark Plug Company of Toledo, Ohio. A non-removable steel top, covered with a padded leather, was affixed to a standard Cord convertible coupe body. Custom items specified by ....[continue reading]

Beverly Sedan

1937 was to be the last year for the Cord. The 812's that were sold in 1937 were actually leftover 810's from the 1936 model year. E.L. Cord was accused of financial manipulations and the remains of the Cord Company became the possession of the Aviat....[continue reading]

SC Phaeton

Chassis Num: 812 32269 H
Engine Num: FC 2984

This Cord 812 Supercharged four-passenger Phaeton is one of 688 factory-supercharged Cords built, and it retains its original 'FC' engine. Gary Dubnoff acquired the car in 1967 and it would remain in his care for the next 46 years. ....[continue reading]

Cabriolet

Chassis Num: 812 32023 F
Engine Num: FC 3232

This Cord 812 Cabriolet is fitted with the optional supercharged engine. It was first registered in the state of Illinois. It was acquired in 1950 by Lee Gutterson of Pasadena, California, and remained in his care for the next three years. Lee Richar....[continue reading]

Convertible Coupe

Chassis Num: 310164 S
Engine Num: FC2779

This 1937 Super Charged Long Wheelbase Custom Beverly was certified by ACD in 2002 as a Category #1certified original car. The car has been restored twice, the latest in 2016. The car is a complete numbers matching survivor of one of the most elegant....[continue reading]

Custom Berline
 
Supercharged Convertible Phaeton Sedan
Chassis #: 17834 
Convertible Coupe
 
Supercharged Convertible Phaeton Sedan
 
SC Phaeton
Chassis #: 31690H 
Supercharged Beverly Sedan
 
Cabriolet
 
SC Phaeton
Chassis #: 1469 
Custom Berline
 
SC Phaeton
Chassis #: FC2998 
Convertible Coupe
Chassis #: 32463CORD 
SC Phaeton
Chassis #: FB1865 
Convertible Coupe
Chassis #: FC3144 
SC Phaeton
Chassis #: 32339H 
Convertible Coupe
Chassis #: 32023F 
Convertible Coupe
Chassis #: 32485F 
Convertible Coupe
 
Cabriolet
Chassis #: 812 31762 F 
Convertible Phaeton Sedan
 
Custom Berline
 
Cabriolet
Chassis #: 38010A 
SC Phaeton
Chassis #: 32374H 
SC Phaeton
 
SC Phaeton
Chassis #: 32462H 
SC Phaeton
 
Convertible Coupe
 
Convertible Coupe
 
Convertible Coupe
 
Sportsman
 
Berline
 
Convertible Coupe
 
SC Phaeton
 
SC Phaeton
 
SC Phaeton
 
Convertible Phaeton Sedan
Chassis #: 812 1933H 
Beverly Sedan
 
Convertible Coupe
 
Cabriolet
 
Convertible Phaeton Sedan
Chassis #: 812 1546 H 
Cabriolet
 
Sportsman
Chassis #: 812 1163 F 
Supercharged Sportsman
Chassis #: 32420F 
SC Phaeton
 
SC Phaeton
 
Convertible Coupe
 
SC Phaeton
Chassis #: 812 31643 H 
Supercharged Convertible Phaeton Sedan
 
Custom Beverly
 
SC Phaeton
 
Cabriolet
 
Supercharged Coupe
 
Beverly Sedan
 
SC Phaeton
Chassis #: 812 32269 H 
Cabriolet
Chassis #: 812 32023 F 
Convertible Coupe
Chassis #: 310164 S 

History

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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