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Lot 53 1937 Cord 812 SC Phaeton
Selling on Wednesday
CHASSIS NO: 31613H
• Best Cord, ACD Club National Reunion in Auburn 2015, Senior Emeritus 2016 • Owned from the 1930s - 1970s by Harry Denhart, ACD Club Founder • ACD Certification #C222; CCCA and AACA award winning Full Classic® • Documented with the original chassis, body, and correct engine • Highly accurate restoration by Stan Gilliland • 1 of just 196 original 812 Supercharged Phaetons built
Addendum: PLEASE NOTE: This car is equipped with the original body, chassis, and correct engine.
Supercharger No: V1642
288.6 cid L-head eight-cylinder Lycoming engine with Schwitzer-Cummins centrifugal supercharger, 190 HP, front wheel drive, four-speed electric pre-selector transmission, independent front suspension, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes; wheelbase: 125”
Errett Lobban Cord had a very colorful career as a race car driver, mechanic, and automobile salesman, but even he could not predict the events that followed him, being recruited to save the floundering Auburn Automobile Company in 1924. Four years later, he held controlling interest in Auburn, having saved it by cleverly streamlining production and moving a glut of unsold vehicles. Eventually, his portfolio included ownership of Lycoming, Duesenberg, American Airways, and the Checker and Yellow Cab Companies among his 156 holdings. He eventually sold Cord for a huge profit in 1937, and many collectors feel these late Cords are the very best he ever developed. He went on to make even more millions in real estate, radio and TV stations across California.
Chronologically, it was 1929 when Cord, with help from Harry Miller, introduced the legendary front-wheel drive L29. With a distinctive, low-slung styling and excellent mechanical performance, it was selling well when the Stock Market crashed. Cord responded, working with Gordon Buehrig, they created the Baby Duesenberg, providing the basis for a new medium-priced front-wheel drive car from Cord, the 1936 Model 810. Using the proven formula of styling, performance, and a reasonable price, it succeeded in restoring the Cord factory to full production once again. The new 810 was unveiled at the 1935 New York Auto Show in November, despite being a bit shy of the required 100 car production for display.
Pop the hood on this SC Phaeton, and you’ll see it’s powered by the masterful Lycoming engine in excellent condition. The new Cord held many speed and endurance records well into the ‘50s. The design features and technical innovations are myriad, including unibody construction over a subframe, independent front suspension, mechanically operated disappearing headlamps, fingertip shifting control, and of course, front-wheel drive. Styling wise, it’s the “coffin-nose” hood on this beauty that really stands out, but the floating front fenders, flush-mounted lamps and fuel filler cap, and center-hinged doors with concealed hinges are no less significant. It was the first American auto with a standard AM radio, and it rides nearly a foot lower than the average 1936 sedan.
One of the most desirable body styles is the Phaeton, demonstrated here by this lovely Palm Beach Tan example. Cord ownership soon read like a “who’s who” of the wealthy and famous, including Amelia Earhart, Frank Lloyd Wright, Gary Cooper, and Tom Mix. Cord 810/812 Phaetons were only produced for 18 months in total, yet they are fixtures on every “most beautiful” list ever produced. When the 812 debuted in 1937, just 610 produced had the desirable Phaeton body, and experts believe just 196 of those were Supercharged.
This lovely 812 Phaeton ticks all the boxes for desirability - the original body, chassis, and correct engine, ACD Certification, and an exceptional, well-documented restoration by Stan Gilliland. The ownership trail includes Harry Denhart, a founder of the ACD Club, and as the second owner, he enjoyed it into the ‘70s. It then passed through the hands of Tom Shop, Bill Richardson, and Mike McClelland, which is well-documented in Josh B. Malks’ book “Cord 810/812: The Timeless Classic”. Our consignor purchased it in 2010 and began the pursuit of excellence on the path to several significant awards including Best Cord at the 2015 ACD Club National Reunion in Auburn and Senior Emeritus in 2016.
This supercharged 812 is a proven Full Classic® with phenomenal road manners. It remains one of the most significant automobiles ever designed, and the combination of personality, styling, and futuristic engineering make it one of the most desirable, practical, and drivable cars of the entire Classic Era. Completely ready for judging or touring, with a respected chain of ownership, this Cord is certainly a highly authentic example to be appreciated and purchased by a collector seeking only the very best.