1937 Cord Model 812 Convertible CoupeSOLD

RM Auctions - Vintage Motor Cars at Meadow Brook Hall, August 3-4, 2007

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Estimate: $325,000-$375,000 US

Offered Without Reserve

AUCTION RESULTS: Lot was Sold at a price of $352,000

190hp 269 cu. in. L-head V8 with Schwitzer-Cummins centrifugal supercharger, front-wheel drive, four-speed preselector transmission, front and rear semi-elliptic leaf springs and four-wheel hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 125".

Errett Lobban Cord was only one of many earnest, skilled and dedicated entrepreneurs whose dream of establishing an automotive empire to rival Ford, GM and Chrysler was dashed. At one time E.L. Cord controlled the Checker and Yellow cab companies, Duesenberg, Lycoming, Stinson Aircraft and American Airways among a portfolio of 156 companies. A master salesman who worked his way up through the automobile business, the basis of Cord ’ s industrial empire was Auburn Manufacturing, which he acquired in 1924. He set to work to resuscitate Auburn and succeeded by creating a performance image that helped sell mundane, but profitable, sedans.

In 1929, Cord took Auburn to the next step, introducing the front wheel drive Auburn-derived automobile Cord named after himself, the Cord Front Drive – now commonly known as the L29 – with distinctive, sporting appearance and great performance for its price. Shortly thereafter the stock market crashed and with it the market for another Cord project, the Baby Duesenberg. Its distinctive styling provided the basis for a new medium priced front-wheel drive car from Cord, the 810.

The 810 was intended to restore Cord ’ s auto manufacturing operations to health, using the proven formula: styling, performance and reasonable price. In the process, Gordon Buehrig ’ s clean and unadorned coffin nosed, retractable headlight design would create a standard by which cars are still judged today. Powered by a Lycoming-built V8 engine, it created an instant sensation at its November 1935 introduction at the New York Auto Show, so much so that Cord could not meet demand.

The 1937 Cords, designated 812, were little changed cosmetically from 1936 models except for the supercharged engine option. Cord ’ s experience with Duesenberg, another of the Cord companies, made it relatively simple for them to add a Schwitzer-Cummins centrifugal supercharger that provided a maximum of 6psi boost and increased the Lycoming V8 ’ s power to between 185 and 195 horsepower. In September of 1937, a Cord crew driven by Ab Jenkins set 35 American stock car speed records on the Bonneville Salt Flats, certified by the AAA Contest Board, including 24 hours at an average speed (including stops) of 101.72 mile per hour.

Approximately 195 of these very attractive Convertible Coupes were built during the two year life of the Cord 810/812. Only 64, according to factory records, were supercharged, creating a rare and attractive combination of landmark styling, exceptional performance and open air motoring. The Convertible Coupe has come to be known as the Sportsman, even though that designation was never used by Cord. Its aptness is apparent from the stylish and sporting look of the car, aided by its folding top that completely disappears under the rear deck panel.

The example offered here is well-known amongst Cord enthusiasts. According to noted Cord 810/812 historian Ron Irwin, he first saw the car almost 40 years ago, in October of 1970, when it belonged to Burton B. Rich of Plymouth, MI. Thirteen years later, in August of 1983, the car was purchased by Marvin Tamaroff from Mr. Rich. It was then – and remains today – equipped with its original supercharged engine, no. FC3144, confirming s/n 32405 as one of the 64 original supercharged convertible coupes built by Cord.

The outstanding supercharged convertible coupe offered here underwent a complete and comprehensive nut and bolt restoration to the highest standards by Harry Sherry of Warsaw, ON. In a recent conversation, Sherry described the car as being in very good condition, with very little metalwork required. Nonetheless, Sherry ’ s high standards resulted in a 6,000 – 7,000 hour restoration, and a result that was, quite simply, stunning.

Perhaps the most memorable quality of the car is its brilliant color. Chosen by Marvin Tamaroff in the spirit of the classic era, when an owner could choose whatever color he wanted, it is intended as an improvement on the factory “ Cigarette Cream ” , a fairly bland cream color with a hint of yellow. Invariably one of the most popular cars every time shown, the striking color ensures this Cord stands out against a field of much more conservative blacks, blues, greens, and tans.

Some have said there are more supercharged convertible coupes today than were ever built – making verification of provenance more important than ever. With a known history of nearly 40 years, the Tamaroff Cord is one of the few cars with a verifiable history dating so far back.

Stored in the Tamaroff collection ’ s climate controlled facilities, the Cord has seen regular maintenance, occasional exercise, and meticulous detailing. It is, in essence, a brand new Cord, albeit finished to standards not even imagined by the Auburn Cord Duesenberg company. While there are other restored Cords, it is unlikely any approach the meticulous standards of s/n 32405.

Superb condition, excellent history, and Tamaroff collection provenance all combine to make this one of the most desirable Cords ever offered for public sale.

Reference Number 9168

as of 5/5/2007

Car 1937 Cord Model 812 Convertible Coupe
VIN FC3144 
Exterior / Interior Color      Pale Yellow /      Dark Red 
Configuration Left Hand Drive (LHD) 
Transmission Manual Shift 
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