1937 Cord 812SC Convertible CoupeSOLD
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Estimate: $325,000-$400,000 US

Sold: $484,000

185hp, 269 cu. in. L-head V8 engine with centrifugal supercharger, front wheel drive, four-speed electric preselector transmission, independent front suspension, solid rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 125"

Errett Lobban Cord built himself an empire with the aim of challenging Ford and General Motors for the title of America’s greatest automobile manufacturer. At one time E.L. Cord controlled the Checker and Yellow cab companies, Auburn, Duesenberg, Lycoming, Stinson Aircraft and American Airways, among a portfolio of 156 companies. Some of these companies would succeed, while others would not. His namesake, the Cord, as part of the Auburn Automobile Company, would fittingly be his very last foray in the automobile industry.

Making its first public appearance in November 1935, the Cord 810 must have appeared to onlookers like something from another planet. It had a “coffin-nosed” hood that opened from the front instead of each side, retractable headlamps concealed in pontoon-styled front fenders, and had no running boards, which created an unprecedented clean and modern look.

Mechanically, the 810 Cord was also highly significant for its front wheel drive system. This drivetrain both helped to lower the silhouette of the Cord’s profile, as well as reduce weight by an advertised 400 pounds. The Cord 810 also featured all-steel construction, full safety glass, a Startix-controlled starter, and a four-speed electric remote-controlled vacuum shift that made shifting smooth, quiet and effortless.

With pricing between $2,000 and $3,000 for the various body styles offered, the Cord 810 was intended to be a sporting sub-luxury vehicle. For 1937, the 810 was succeeded by the 812. Very little had been changed save a short list of upgrades made available on the 812 that had not previously been offered.

Not only an incredibly fashionable vehicle, the Cord 812 made headlines for both efficiency and performance. The 812 beat all of the competition in its class by achieving over 18 mpg at the Gilmore-Yosemite Economy Run. Later in the year, Ab Jenkins won the Stevens Trophy for establishing a new 24 hour record by covering over 1,900 miles and averaging 79.577 miles per hour. Ab Jenkins also set 36 American Closed Stock Car Class C and 36 Unlimited Class records on the Bonneville Salt Flats in an 812 Cord by the end of 1937.

As great a car as it was, E. L. Cord decided to pull out of the automobile industry entirely in 1937. With less than 3,000 examples of the 810/812 built, production would not start up again in 1938. One of the most attractive – and rarest – variants of the 810/812 was the Convertible Coupe – often referred to by collectors as the “Sportsman”. Approximately 195 of these very attractive Convertible Coupes were built during the two-year life of the Cord 810/812, though only 64, according to factory records, were supercharged.

As supported by ACD Club certification documents, this particular Cord 812 Convertible Coupe left the factory as a supercharged example. While its earliest history is presently unknown, the car was acquired in 1977 by Mr. Allen Seieg of Illinois, who in turn sold it to John Miller of Tennessee.

ADC documentation from 1982 indicates that Verlin Boes of Kansas City bought the car from Mr. Miller in 1982. According to Boes, Miller was an ACD Club member and purchased the car disassembled, as it was to become his sixth restoration of a Sportsman. The engine and transaxle were restored by Stan Gilliland of Kansas and the bodywork and paint were done by Restorations, Ltd. of Tennessee.

Boes eventually sold his Cord to Stan Leibel of Ontario, Canada, who in turn sold it to the current owner in 2004. Since acquiring the car, the vendor commissioned a complete nut-and-bolt concours-level restoration by RM Restoration and further asserts that this may very well be the most thoroughly researched Cord restoration of its kind. As such, virtually everything was rebuilt and restored. From the body and interior to the paint and undercarriage, every element was restored and received professional attention – all to exacting standards of authenticity. Today, this Cord 812 is a wonderfully running and driving example and is finished in handsome Geneva Blue with a tan/blue convertible top and striking dark tan pigskin upholstery.

Upon completion, the car won its class at Pebble Beach in 2007 but has been shown sparingly ever since and has resided in an automotive museum in New Zealand. Nevertheless, it certainly remains eligible for the finest show events.

Designated as Full Classics by the CCCA, the 810/812 Cords are remarkably advanced cars to drive, fully capable of modern highway cruising at relaxed engine speeds. The example offered here provides the added horsepower due to supercharging, combined with the benefits of open air motoring and a concours-quality award-winning restoration.

Please note the VIN# on the title for this car reads 81232128F.

Reference Number 34997

as of 12/4/2008

Car 1937 Cord 812SC Convertible Coupe