1937 Cord 812 Phaeton
Chassis no. 1821H
Engine no. FB2457
289ci Lycoming Flathead V8 Engine
Single Stromberg Carburetor
125bhp at 3,500rpm
4-Speed Pre-Selector Electric Manual Transmission
Independent Front Suspension - Live Rear Axle
4-Wheel Drum Brakes
*Offered from the Heritage Museums & Gardens Automobile Collection
*Innovative front-wheel-drive Art Deco-era motorcar
*Timeless Gordon Buehrig design
*Sophisticated pre-selector transmission
*CCCA Full Classic
The Cord 810/812
One of the few automobiles deemed worthy of inclusion in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and arguably the most easily recognized American car of all time, the Cord 810 debuted in November 1935, receiving a rapturous reception at US automobile exhibitions. The work of a team headed by Duesenberg designer Gordon Buehrig, the 810 body style with its louvered 'coffin' nose, streamlined, spat-shaped wings and absence of running boards would prove immensely influential, its distinctive features being borrowed by most mainstream manufacturers by the decade's end.
The 810's arrival marked the end of a hiatus in Cord production, its predecessor - the L29 - having disappeared in 1931. Errett Lobban Cord had introduced the latter in 1929 as a gap-filling model priced between his Cord Corporation's Auburn and Duesenberg lines. Powered by a Lycoming straight eight, the Cord L29 featured front wheel drive, a chassis layout then in vogue at Indianapolis. Its front-drive layout made for a low-slung frame, and the freedom this gave coachbuilders meant that the Cord was soon attracting the attention of master craftsmen on both sides of the Atlantic.
Custom sedans on a longer wheelbase joined the four-model 812 range for 1937. Priced competitively in the $2,000-3,000 range, the 810/812 should have been a huge success, though, sadly, this was not to be. The Cord Corporation was in deep financial trouble, and when its proprietor sold out in August 1937, it spelled the end not just for Cord, but for Auburn and Duesenberg as well. At the close, just fewer than 3,000 810/812s had been made.
The Motorcar Offered
Josiah K. Lilly III himself arranged the acquisition of this 812 Cord for his growing collection of automobiles, securing the car from Clifford B. Sweet of Westborough, Massachusetts in July 1965. At the time of purchase, the Cord was finished in a deep maroon color, which was subsequently replaced by the more archetypal Cigarette Cream scheme it wears today. The interior and trim were most likely replaced at the same time with the present black upholstery. Notes on file state that some $7,000 or more was spent on its restoration - quite a substantial amount of money in the 1960s.
While on display at Heritage Museums and Gardens, the Cord was properly stored, and fluids such as fuel and coolant were drained. The car was not run for several decades, but at the time of cataloging the car was being serviced and assessed, and more information regarding its mechanical condition will be available prior to the sale.
On exhibit in the Heritage Museums and Gardens Automobile Collection for nearly a half-century, this stylish Cord 812 Phaeton has recently been de-accessioned, as the collection evolves, creating an opportunity for collectors and enthusiasts of these stylish Deco masterpieces.
- Please note that the title for this vehicle is in transit.