Motor City

26 July 2014

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Lot 159

1937 Cord 812 Supercharged Phaeton

  • Chassis no. 812 31643 H
  • Engine no. FC 2133
  • Body no. C 91 439

Sold for $132,000


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

  • An original supercharged example
  • ACD Club Certified Category One
  • Intriguing Hawaiian and enthusiast history
  • Well known among ACD Club members
  • Ideal for ACD tours and CCCA CARavans


The Duesenberg Model J became available with a supercharger in 1932. Three years later, the eight-cylinder Auburn could also be had with a blower. All that was left was to fit the engine to the new Cord of 1936, and a year later, as the 810 evolved into the 812 and production was fully underway, Auburn Automobile Company’s most flamboyant line received supercharged power as a popular $415 option on all models.

Lycoming began with the 810’s stock V-8 engine, revising the design with a modified firing order, lowered compression ratio, more extreme cam grind, and a unique, larger Stromberg AA-25 carburetor. The engine exhaled through a functional four-pipe chrome side exhaust, which was an identifying mark of all supercharged Auburn, Cord, and Duesenberg products and was believed to have been added to the Cord by stylist Alex Tremulis, later of Tucker fame, and engineered into being by none other than August Duesenberg.

The supercharged Cord had a factory-quoted power output of 170 horsepower, although Lycoming employees later recounted numbers as high as 195. The factory sent two properly equipped Beverly sedans to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where, driven by Ab Jenkins and Billy Winn, they recorded the highest average speed over a 24-year period at the Brickyard, over 80 mph, and captured the famous Stevens Trophy. That record would stand until 1954.

The four-passenger Phaeton presented here was originally equipped with supercharged engine FC 2133, which is identified as an original blown unit by its “FC” prefix. This is confirmed by the original firewall tag, which is still installed on the car. According to Cord historian Ron Irwin, the original engine has since been replaced with another supercharged engine, FC 2500, which has been re-stamped with the original engine’s number. It is certified with this change as a Category One car, C-193, by the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club.

The car’s history has been traced back as early as 1955, when an original registration, included in the file, places it in the care of Mrs. Samuel T. Pruit, of Honolulu, Hawaii. It has since enjoyed many years of ownership by Midwestern enthusiasts, including well-known Cord guru J.K. Howell. Henry Noffke acquired the car around 1980 and spent the next decade restoring it to original condition.

This Cord, finished in the classic and factory-correct color combination of Cigarette Cream over red leather upholstery, debuted at the ACD Club’s National Reunion in 1991 and was an award winner there the following year. The restoration has been well maintained since, for many years in the ownership of collector Willard Brunkow and most recently in the care of the current owner.

The car is accompanied by a collection of documentation, including the aforementioned Hawaiian registration, a small photo album of the restoration, and comprehensive files of restoration documentation, which include receipts, parts lists, and correspondence between Mr. Noffke and enthusiasts. Also included with the car are reprints of the owner’s manual, factory service bulletins, a service handbook, and the “Cord Approved Accessories” for 1937, as well as the ACD certification paperwork.

This well-documented Cord, which is known to enthusiasts, is ready for a new caretaker who appreciates its timeless style and power.

Addendum

Please note that a thorough inspection of this car has been carried out and the results of the deficiencies found are contained on a list available in the Auction Office at the Access the Knowledge desk.

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

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
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

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 9... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+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 life-long automobile enthusiast and ... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+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

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Ian Kelleher

ikelleher@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

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

jonathan@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a Connecticut restoration shop as a teenager. He graduated with a... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. He att... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
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

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more