The highly advanced Cord 810/812 was born of the anxious economic times when many prestigious auto makers were focusing on entry-level lines in hopes of bolstering lagging sales of their extravagant, high-end offerings. During the Great Depression, the wealthiest of clients were reluctant to flaunt their status, and even the once mighty Duesenberg felt the fallout. In order to attract new clients, company brass decided they needed a “baby Duesenberg” to compete with the likes of LaSalle, Packard’s Junior series, and others. But they hesitated and pulled the plug on the project for fear that it would cheapen the illustrious Duesenberg name. Enter E.L Cord, the brash, confident industrialist who had previously enjoyed the prestige of an automobile that bore his own name and he desperately wanted to revive his own brand. He saw great potential in the preliminary design of the so called “baby Duesenberg” and he determined it would be perfect for a dramatic resurgence of Cord Automobiles. The development was revitalized, and Cord charged his engineers to push the technical envelope. Inspiration was drawn from the Citroen Traction Avant, and the car was constructed a semi-monocoque chassis, front wheel drive, a pre-selector gearbox and independent front suspension. In place of the traditional radiator grille, Buehrig and his team of designers drew a series of wrap around louvers flanked by rounded fenders with retractable headlamps – the first automobile so equipped. Due to the front wheel drive layout, the body was set low and running boards were shunned in place of fully extended doors and a clean, minimalist look. Eight decades later, the Cord 810/812 remains one of the most beautiful and iconic American automobile designs. A variety of open and closed styles were offered, from formal to sporting. The closed car lineup started by the Westchester, followed by the Beverly, Custom Beverly and range-topping Berline, the latter two riding on an extended wheelbase. The most distinguishing feature between the Westchester and Beverly was the addition of a “bustle” trunk on the on the Beverly. It also offered more luxurious trappings inside, with additional trim and equipment. Our featured example is a very special Custom Berline, one of one originally built on a 135-inch wheelbase (vs the standard 132”). Wearing chassis number 10217B, this 1937 812 is unique among the approximately 50 Berlines produced. It is a very correct, highly awarded example that has been carefully restored by a marque enthusiast. It is presented in a very elegant black color scheme, with black wheels and polished hub caps as per original. The restoration is excellent with lovely paint, excellent fit of the doors and panels, and high quality plating on the bumpers and minimalist exterior trim. Even in black, the body is straight, with clean reflections and a deep gloss. A pair of original Cord fog lamps on the front apron are the only adornment on the clean and elegant body, which features the 8-louvered grille that signified the upper echelon models. The car has been enjoyed sparingly since the restoration, showing only light signs of use. The luxurious interior is trimmed in lovely brown leather up front, which is piped in a subtle contrasting deep maroon that repeats on the dash, door cards and steering column. Cord’s signature instrument panel is spectacularly presented with its polished, engine turned alloy fascia and an array of aircraft-inspired gauges. It is equipped, as original, with a heater and a radio. What set the Berline apart from its lesser brethren is the divider window to the passenger compartment. This example features an opening divider, and a rear passenger compartment trimmed in tan broadcloth upholstery, which is also piped in the same deep red to complement the driver’s compartment. The upholstery quality is excellent, again showing very little use since restoration. The additional wheelbase was added to the rear quarters, affording plenty of room for rear occupants. To match the rear compartment, the headlining is trimmed in the same tan broadcloth and accented with piping to a beautiful effect. Door panels and interior fittings are of similar high quality, with excellent fittings and detail. Beneath the “coffin nose” hood is the standard normally-aspirated Lycoming 289 cubic inch Lycoming V8 mated to a solenoid actuated pre-select transmission. The engine is very nicely detailed with quality paintwork on the ancillaries, and a tidy, clean appearance. As with the undercarriage, the engine has an appealing, clean look of a quality restoration. This beautiful and elegant automobile is believed to have been used by the Cord family when new, and has been in the hands of its previous owner for over a decade. As a testament to the quality of the restoration and attention to detail, this Cord 812 has earned a series of prestigious accolades including an AACA National First Prize (2000), an AACA Grand National award (2004) a highly coveted ACD Club (Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg) Senior award and a CCCA Senior award. It remains in beautiful order and is certain to be a welcome sight at virtually any show, concours or road tour. This is a rare opportunity to acquire one of the rarest and most elegant coffin-nose Cords ever produced.
At first glance, the Cord 810/812 may not seem like a car born of the Great Depression. But during those anxious years, high end manufacturers were struggling to sell extravagant machines, as even the most wealthy of buyers shied away from flaunting their status quite as openly in public. Many manufacturers resorted to developing lower priced models to make up sales. Packard developed the Junior series, Lincoln added the Zephyr line and GM introduced LaSalle to fit between Buick and Cadillac. Even Duesenberg wasn’t immune to the pressure and work was begun on a “baby” Duesenberg that could help pick up sagging sales. Partially through its development, the baby Duesenberg idea was dropped, as it was thought it could tarnish the illustrious brand. But E.L. Cord, the man in charge of Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg, saw great potential in the design and pressed forward to produce it as an all-new model for his revived Cord brand. The Cord L-29 had been out of production for some time, and E.L. saw this as an opportunity to revive the brand that bore his name. Development of the new car forged ahead and the Cord 810/812 was realized by 1936. In spite of its “entry level” roots, technical boundaries were pushed to the limits. Drawing inspiration from the innovative Citroen Traction Avant, Cord designer Gordon Buehrig gave the 810 a semi-monocoque chassis, and it was the first American car with both front wheel drive and independent front suspension. Motivation was courtesy of a Lycoming V8 engine (Lycoming being part of E.L. Cord’s industrial empire) and a solenoid actuated pre-selector transmission. Of course the most distinguishing feature of the 810/812 was its Gordon Buehrig-penned bodywork. The front end featured curvaceous fenders with hidden headlights – a first for any production car. Rather than a traditional radiator shell, the Cord’s radiator was hidden behind a sleek and unorthodox wraparound grille and a uniquely shaped hood, which earned it the nickname “Coffin Nose”. Fully extended doors, no running boards and a sleek, minimally adorned body gave the 810 its distinct appearance. Nearly 80 years later, the Cord 810/812 is still considered to be one of the greatest American car designs in history. As the 810 evolved into the 812 for 1937, some models gained a supercharger, while others remained naturally aspirated. Several body styles were available, from four-door sedans to the open-air phaeton. In fact, several four door versions were available with different designations depending on wheelbase, equipment and body fitments. At the “entry level” lay the Westchester, followed by the Beverly, Custom Beverly and range-topping Berline, the latter two riding on an extended wheelbase. The most distinguishing feature between the Westchester and Beverly was the addition of a “bustle” trunk on the on the Beverly. It also offered more luxurious trappings inside, with additional trim and equipment. The Beverly rode on a 125” wheelbase and shared the same 288 cubic inch Lycoming V8 and sophisticated preselect transmission with the rest of the model range. This fine 1937 Cord 812 Beverly Sedan is an attractive, usable example of one of the most iconic American automobiles of all time. Coming out of recent long-term ownership, it wears an older restoration that has been well-maintained and presents in very good order, showing some light patina in areas, remaining mechanically and cosmetically very sound. It is finished in Palm Beach Tan, with very good paintwork applied over straight and properly aligned panels with excellent, consistent gaps. During a time when cars were defined by their prominent chrome radiator shells and trim, Gordon Buehrig eschewed the flash in favor of a subtle, measured design with limited chrome adornment. That said, bumpers, wheel covers and door handles provided some subtle flash, all of which appear in very good order on this example. The bumpers, wearing original overriders, are straight and tidy with good quality plating and detail. A pair of period-correct Cord fog lamps is fitted to the front apron and the original polished stone guards remain in good order on the rear fenders. The interior presents in very good order, again, well detailed and tidy though showing some patina from use since the restoration was completed. Plum-colored upholstery piped in off white complements the Palm Beach Tan body color quite well. The seats, door panels and headlining remain in very good condition with quality trim accented with very good chrome fittings and hardware. Cord’s signature instrument panel is beautifully presented with its aeronautic-style engine-turned fascia and an array of dials keeping the driver informed of underhood matters. A very cool period Motorola heater is fitted, presumably from new. The 288 cubic inch Lycoming V8 engine and undercarriage are tidy, appearing sorted and well-maintained. The specification and condition of this 812 Beverly should lend it very well to touring, and thanks to the Cord 810/812’s recognition as a CCCA Full Classic, it is eligible for CARavan touring and is well suited to regular enjoyment. The Cord 812 is an icon of American design and this is a good quality, usable example that has benefitted from long term ownership and care.
In the mid-1920s, Auburn Automobile Company was struggling with poor sales and a humdrum product offering. They enlisted the help of entrepreneur and successful Auburn salesman E.L. Cord to help bail them out of trouble. Auburn was stuck with a large amount of unsold inventory, and their cars were considered boring by the general public. E.L. Cord came up with a simple but effective plan of repainting the unsold cars in bright colors to help gain attention. To the surprise of many, his plan worked incredibly well. As a result of his success, he was offered a position within the company. But Cord was an extremely ambitious and aggressive business man, and a job within the company simply wasn’t enough for him. By 1928 he was in complete control of Auburn, having saved it from certain bankruptcy. At that time he was also well on his way to building a massive manufacturing empire that included Auburn, Lycoming Engines, Checker Cab, Duesenberg, Stinson Aircraft and New York Shipbuilders, among others. Having re-energized Auburn as a successful car builder, he decided to build a car with his own name on it – one that would compete with the likes of Lincoln, Packard and Stutz for luxury car honors. In typical E.L. Cord fashion, he eschewed tradition and specified a car that was as innovative as it was beautiful. In 1929 the L-29 appeared as a sleek, attractive and impossibly low slung machine with front wheel drive and a De Dion front axle, designed by an ex-Miller Indy Car engineer who spearheaded the project. The L-29 was significant as it was the very first front wheel drive American car, beating the lesser known Ruxton to the market by a few months. The L-29 shared the 301 cubic inch Lycoming straight eight with Auburn, but with the engine reversed in the chassis, driving through a three-speed transmission at the front. Performance was adequate, and thanks to the low center of gravity, handling was impressive. The L-29 was available with various factory bodies, though many were custom bodied by some of the finest coachbuilders of the time. Only 5,014 L29s were built between 1929 and 1932, as the Great Depression took hold and luxury automobiles suffered the consequences. This lovely Cord L-29 Convertible Sedan is presented in a striking combination of cream with medium blue accents with a fabulous effect. The older restoration still presents very well with good quality paintwork, nice detailing and finish work. The paint shows very well, revealing only minor signs of use, still remaining in fine enough order to show. Blue accents are particularly endearing, featuring as flashes on the body swage lines, running boards and chassis. The famous low-slung lines of the L-29 are further enhanced by the gorgeous chrome wire wheels with blue accented wheel rims. Dual side mount spares are fitted with mirrors and the chrome bumpers and exterior brightwork all present in very fine condition. A period trunk in good condition sits on the trunk rack, wearing a tan canvas cover that matches the convertible top. The tan top remains in very good condition, with the frame in good order and working well. The interior is trimmed in lovely tan leather and it is in very good condition, with only some light patina from use since the restoration was completed. L-29s have a glorious art-deco dash design, and this example has been recently freshened to enhance the cosmetics. Original instrumentation and steering wheel are in very good condition. The 301 cubic inch Lycoming inline-eight cylinder engine is the same as an Auburn 8-32, though cleverly turned 180 degrees for installation in the front drive L-29. It is nicely detailed and has been recently treated to a thorough cleaning. Correct wiring, fittings and clamps point to a very high quality restoration and care since completion. With its magnificent lines and ground breaking front-drive layout, the Cord L-29 remains one of the most desirable classics of all time. It is of course welcome at virtually any CCCA, AACA or similar road event. The high quality restoration has been very well maintained and the car remains very much in showable condition. Fabulous colors and detailing just add to the appeal of this handsome and highly desirable Cord L-29.
(SOLD) This very rare and original Cord Phaeton convertible has a lovely air of patina throughout. It has resided in a museum collection for many years and is eligible to become part of the ACD Club. It has had a recent service, and is being made road worthy currently. This Cord is a very solid, and presentable car as it stands. It comes with the sleek sensational coffin-nose styling, a 4-speed electrically-selected semi-automatic transmission, cranks below dash for raising headlights, fog lights, chromed stone guards on rear fenders, chromed full wheel covers with wide whitewall tires and an engine-turned instrument panel with 120 MPH speedometer, fuel, temperature, oil, amp gauges, tach and clock. The Phaeton was originally conceived by Duesenberg president Harold T. Ames as a new baby Duesenberg. This would be a great car for someone who is looking to add a very sought after Cord to their collection. It can be kept as is with the originality preserved, or restored to its former showroom days and made a great show contender.
Gordon Beuhrig’s Cord 812 is one of the most recognizable and iconic American automobiles of the classic era. The 810 and 812 were devised by E.L. Cord as a replacement for the revolutionary, front-wheel drive L29 which ended production in 1932. The four-year gap between the L29 and 810 allowed Cord to take a radical approach with his new car. For the styling, Cord employed Gordon Buehrig, the man responsible for designing such cars as the Auburn 851 Boat-Tail speedster and the Duesenberg Model J. Buehrig later went on to work for Ford Motor Company where he was responsible for such greats as the 1951 Victoria Coupe and 1956 Continental MkII. While the Cord L-29 was a beautiful car in its own right, the new 812 was on an entirely different level. Buehrig was essentially given free-reign to design the car and he made radical decisions such as the elimination of the traditional grille and running boards, and of course those signature hide-away headlights fitted in the voluptuous sculpted front fenders. The Art-Deco styled body featured sweeping curves and was notably clean and free of excessive chrome trim. Front wheel drive combined with independent front suspension (a first for any American car) allowed for a low body height thereby allowing Buehrig eliminate running boards. Power was courtesy of the proven Lycoming V8 mated to a pre-selector transmission. The car caused such a sensation when it debuted at the New York Auto Show in 1935 that orders came pouring in, however delays in production tempered excitement and sales struggled once the car hit the market in 1936. For 1937, the 810 was updated to the 812. Some 812s gained a supercharger while some were renumbered and updated 1936 810’s. The Cord 810/812 was perhaps too far ahead of its time, and early reliability issues certainly held it back from greater success, but there is no denying the fact that it is one of the most individual, revolutionary and iconic American designs of all time. With imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, many have tried and failed to capture the magic of the brilliant original. However, this fantastic Cord tribute built in 1994 is a highly accurate and authentic re-creation of the iconic 812 Sportsman. It is very attractive, finished in lovely medium gray over dark blue leather and riding on authentic wheels and wide-whitewall tires. It shows a mere 6,860 miles and presents in excellent condition, with very high quality fit, finish and detailing. Shutlines are precise and consistent and it is detailed with accurately designed chrome bumpers and trim. Even the signature pop-up headlights are operated via a crank, just like the original. Inside the cabin, more excellent detailing can be found. The large seats are trimmed in high quality blue leather, which is repeated on the door panels. The dash is dominated by the large engine-turned alloy instrument panel which houses an array of lovely Stewart Warner gauges. Switches for lights and wipers mimic those of the original cars and a late model steering column is fitted, though painted body color to blend it in and maintain the spirit of the original. A high quality Stayfast canvas convertible top fits well when in place, and stows behind the seats beneath a hard tonneau when folded – as per the original Sportsman design. Power comes from a GM V8 engine that sends drives the rear wheels. The engine bay is very clean and well detailed, evidence that the ultra-low miles are genuine. Modern conveniences include power steering, automatic transmission, power brakes and air conditioning, to keep the driving experience pleasant and easy. This example’s excellent quality and accuracy make it a fine choice for a Cord enthusiast who would like to enjoy all the style and panache of the Gordon Buehrig original but in a package that is usable, easily serviced and comfortable to drive. It also costs a fraction of a genuine sportsman, making it an attractive alternative for Cord fans who would like to drive a classic 812 but without the worry. Over the years, many have built tributes to the original Cord 812, most of which were woefully styled and constructed. This example on the other hand, is a near exact copy of the original body, faithfully reproduced to a high standard, finely built and beautifully finished.
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