The ex-William A.C. Pettit III
1937 Cord 812 Phaeton
Chassis no. 1339H
Engine no. FB2454
289ci L-Head V8 Engine
Single Stromberg Carburetor
125bhp at 3,500rpm
4-Speed Pre-Selector Transmission
Independent Front Suspension Live Rear Axle
4-Wheel Drum Brakes
*Beautifully restored example
*Longtime part of esteemed Classic Era Collection
*Finished in the essential Cigarette Cream over Burgundy
*Desirable Phaeton model with room for four
*Eligible for CCCA and AACA events
The Cord 810/812
One of the few automobiles deemed worthy of inclusion in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and arguably one of 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
Formerly part of the renowned collection of the late William "Bill" Pettit collection, the fine example of the classic coffin-nose Cord offered here has benefitted from devoted and thoughtful stewardship. Mr. Pettit's collection housed exceptional examples from the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg trio, most notably "Blue J", the exceedingly original and rakishly styled Model J Duesenberg.
Believed to have originated from a Maryland-based collection, the Cord was purchased by Mr. Pettit in the early 1990s. In need of restoration, Mr. Pettit entrusted the Cord to his long-time friend and fellow classic car collector, Harry Van Iderstine, who soon began a thorough restoration. Well known within the ACD community, Mr. Van Iderstine had restored a number of cars from the Indiana based companies, and is familiar with these cars inside and out.
Mr. Van Iderstine went through the car both mechanically and cosmetically. The livery chosen was the appropriate and correct Cigarette Cream over a dark red interior, beautifully accented by wide white-wall tires shod on the iconic Cord steel wheels. It should be noted that, although the body is believed to be original, the replacement body tag, believed to have been fitted prior to restoration, displays a number that does not correspond with the Cord factory sequencing.
This 812 beautifully illustrates the models pioneering features, such as the front-wheel-drive, preselector gearshift arrangement and pop-up headlights. This desirable, open-top Phaeton presents beautifully throughout, with a nice, glossy paint and clean trim and bright work. A fine example of Gordon Buehrig's masterpiece, this classic Cord would be a welcomed entrant to ACD meetings, and would fit right in with any collection of prewar, American automobiles.
- Please note that the title for this vehicle is in transit.