1937 Cord Model 812 SC Custom Berline SOLD

RM Vintage Motorcars in Arizona - Biltmore Resort & Spa, Friday January 19, 2007

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ESTIMATE: $125,000 - $150,000

$126,500 Sold

190hp, 288 cu. in. L-head V8 with a Schwitzer-Cummins centrifugal supercharger, front wheel drive, four-speed preselector manual transmission, independent front suspension with rear semi-elliptic leaf springs and four-wheel hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 132"

The 810 Cord introduced in 1936 resurrected the Cord automobile name, which had been put to rest in 1932. The coffin nose design and concealed headlights, in addition to the front wheel drive technology, made the 810 one of the most easily recognizable cars in American automotive history.

The following year, the 810 was renamed the 812 and, like the 810, the model 812 provided customers with the choice of five different body styles on two different wheelbases. The most expensive of these was the Custom Berline. With a 132-inch long wheelbase, the car started at $3,060. The Custom Berline had a glass partition separating the occupants from the driver, rode on a seven-inch longer wheelbase and carried a $600 more expensive price tag than the least expensive Cord 812, the Westchester Sedan.

The 1937 Cord 812 SC Custom Berline pictured here was originally owned by Lucious “ Lou ” Bass Manning, E.L. Cord ’ s right hand man and the Senior Vice President of the Cord Corporation. Unique to this car, Lou had a custom radio installed in the rear compartment so that he could listen to music and his driver could listen to a different station if he preferred.

The next known owner was Glen Pray, who acquired the car from Johnny Basset, a Georgia classic car dealer, in 1959. A passionate enthusiast of E.L. Cord ’ s automobiles, Pray would go on to purchase the assets and the name of the ACD Company. Wayne McKinley, a Chevrolet dealer in Illinois provided Pray with some financial backing for the purchase. As part repayment of these funds, Pray was to supply McKinley one supercharged 1937 Cord Sedan and one supercharged 1937 Cord Convertible. Both were to include a $10,000 restoration (a significant restoration in the early 1960s). The 1937 Cord 812 SC Custom Berline presented here was the Cord Sedan used for that transaction. As part of the ensuing restoration, the car was fitted with the correct style external exhaust system appropriate for the supercharged 812.

Wayne McKinley eventually sold the car to Fred Weber of Kansas City, Missouri. In the late 1980s, the car was sold to the Imperial Palace Collection of Las Vegas, Nevada where it remained until December of 1998. The Custom Berline would change ownership one more time before being acquired by the current vendor.

Currently, the Cord 812 SC Custom Berline is in excellent condition and remarkably correct, as it was restored by marque specialist Stan Gilliland. Finished in black with a blue interior, and featuring the unique custom console Lucious Bass Manning had commissioned for the rear passenger compartment, ACD certified, there is no other Cord Custom Berline that shares such a unique history.

Currently fitted with the Supercharger and external exhaust, the missing prefix ‘ 3 ’ before the serial number 10008B may suggest that it was not originally a supercharged vehicle. However it has been reported that Lucious Bass Manning ’ s former chauffeur confirmed that the 812 Custom Berline did in the late 1930s have one of the first superchargers. As the serial number was issued very early in the 1937 model year production, and the prefix ‘ 3 ’ had not yet appeared on any Cord 812, it is quite possible that this car was one of three ‘ prototype ’ supercharged vehicles Cord built that were not originally fitted with the external exhaust pipes. Another possibility is that the supercharger was retrofitted by Cord some time after Mr. Manning took possession of the automobile. Unfortunately, there is no known factory or other official documentation from Cord after 1933 to prove or refute any claims about this car ’ s originality. Regardless, the Custom Berline is an extraordinary vehicle fitted with all the correct period style equipment and stands today, indistinguishable from any original 812SC.

Reference Number 5798

as of 1/9/2007

Car 1937 Cord Model 812 SC Custom Berline
VIN 10008B 
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