St. John's

27 July 2013

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Lot 127

1937 Cord 812 Phaeton

  • Chassis no. 812 1546 H
  • Engine no. FB 3258
  • Body no. C 91 425

Sold for $173,250

125 bhp, 288 cu. in. L-head V-8, four-speed pre-selector manual transmission, independent front suspension, rear semi-elliptic suspension with leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 125 in.

  • Beautiful, correct, and fresh show restoration by knowledgeable craftsmen
  • ACD Club Certified Category One
  • National award winner
  • An ideal example of Gordon Buehrig’s landmark design

When “The New Cord” made its debut at the New York Auto Show in November 1935, it turned the automotive world on its ear. Onlookers reportedly stood on the roofs of other cars just to catch a glimpse of Gordon Buehrig’s stunningly advanced, “new, original, and ornamental design for an automobile,” with its aerodynamic “coffin nose” louvered hood, lacking a traditional radiator shell; a “step-down” floor; a unitary body construction; hidden door hinges; pop-up headlamps; and a total lack of running boards. Underneath was no less innovative, with a Lycoming V-8 running the front wheels through a four-speed, electrically-shifted pre-selector transmission, operated by a “key” off the steering column, which was essentially an H-pattern gearshift in miniature.

Orders for the new Cord flooded the manufacturer’s headquarters in Auburn, Indiana, but the car was not quite ready for production. By the time cars finally began to be delivered, many impatient customers had cancelled their orders, and the car that could have saved the Auburn Automobile Company became its death knell. The Cord was built for only two years, 1936 and 1937, with the 1937 model known as the 812. The model has since gone down in history as one of the most beautiful automobiles of its time, regularly displayed in art museums as what Buehrig referred to as a “rolling sculpture.”

The four-passenger Convertible Phaeton offered here represents one of the first four-passenger convertibles to offer a fully disappearing fabric top and rear quarter windows, giving it an unusually sleek and clean appearance. Its former owners include a Mr. Davis, of North Carolina, and long-time Cord enthusiast Jim Ray, from whose estate the car was acquired by its present caretaker several years ago.

The owner endeavored to have the Cord fully and authentically restored by the best, most knowledgeable craftsmen he could find. Accordingly, the majority of the restoration was performed by Bill Auerbach, with the interior done to exact factory specifications by Mark Larder and the beautiful brightwork done by Don Sommer. When new parts were needed, the majority were “NOS” pieces, acquired from the remaining Cord factory parts; it is stock down to the headlamp lenses. Other unavailable parts were recreated from scratch, off originals borrowed from Cord experts in Michigan. The transmission was rebuilt by Cord gearbox guru Lee Foldenauer, and it is reported to function properly, as originally intended.

The car has been Certified Category One by the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club, with its original engine, and has won a Primary First Place at their National Reunion in 2011, both important verifiers of the car’s authenticity and correctness. It placed Second in the Cord Cousins Class at the Concours d’Elegance of America that same year, and it was a class award winner at the CCCA Museum Experience at Hickory Corners, Michigan. The car still presents as a fully detailed, pristine show car, having been presented at the Bay Harbor Motoring Festival this year, and it has been driven only 25 miles since completion of the restoration.

For those who seek a Cord 812, one would be hard-pressed to find a nicer, more correctly and artfully restored example than this handsome Phaeton.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alain Squindo

Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alexander Weaver

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby's in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born ... read more

Annette Abaci

+49 (0) 40 441 95 737

With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Barney Ruprecht graduated from Boston University in 2013 with a degree in Hospitality Administration. In ... read more

Dan Warrener

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a car specialist in May 2015. He is a lifelong automobile enthusiast and g... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Sotheby's in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and re... read more

Ian Kelleher

+1 310 559 4575
New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

+1 818 703 2816
Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Sotheby's in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in ... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 917 213 5672
Ontario, Canada

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Jonathan Sierakowski

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a restoration shop as a teenag... read more

Kurt Forry

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Indiana, United States

Kurt Forry joins Auctions America with more than a decade of experience on the North American auction scene and a well-rounded knowled... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby's, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Gra... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his ho... read more

Peter Wallman

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a car specialist. A... read more