Cord 810 Convertible Phaeton
Sometimes known as the “Baby Duesenberg” and produced only for 1936 and 1937 before the ultimate demise of E.L. Cord’s massive automotive and industrial empire, the innovative Cord 810/812 series remains an undisputed collector favorite today. Conceived as the eventual successor to the groundbreaking and handsome but short-lived front-drive Cord L-29 of 1929, the later 810/812 continued to exemplify company president E.L. Cord’s proven formula for sales success: a combination of cutting-edge styling and high performance, all at a surprisingly reasonable price point.
Again fitted with an advanced front-wheel drivetrain, the new 810 offered a V-8 engine from Lycoming, one of Cord’s many companies, mated to an innovative four-speed, electrically-shifted pre-selector transmission. The smooth Gordon Buehrig-designed body was an equally major step forward in automotive design, featuring a blunt louvered “coffin” hood, retractable headlights and the absence of running boards. Its reception at the November 1935 New York Auto Show was enthusiastic, and orders poured in. Alas, production startup was slow, and by the time supply finally caught up with the demand, some customers had changed their minds. Four very attractive body styles were offered, comprising two sedans, namely the Beverly and Westchester, and two open cars, a two-passenger Convertible Coupe and the five-passenger Convertible Phaeton Sedan.
Just slightly more than 2,900 examples of the Cord 810/812 were produced over an 18-month period, prior to the ultimate collapse of E.L. Cord’s automotive operations. Only about 600 of the very attractive Convertible Phaeton Sedans were built during the two-year life of the 810/812 series, making them rare when new and rarer still today. They offer a beguiling combination of landmark styling, exceptional performance and open-air motoring for up to five.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in March of 2010 at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida and in March of 2012 at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida.
125 bhp, 288.6 cu. in. Lycoming L-head V-8 engine with four-speed pre-selector transmission, front suspension via trailing arms and transverse leaf spring, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 125"
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel