1936-1937 Cord 810/812

The 1936-1937 Cord 810/812 had every hallmark of success: advanced engineering, innovative styling, exciting performance. Yet all were squandered in an ill-fated rush to production. Long hailed as one of the most influential cars of the 1930s -- perhaps of all time -- it nevertheless stands as a classic example of how greatness so often goes awry.

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1937 Cord 812 Custom Beverly
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
This is a pristine example of the long-wheelbase 1937 Cord 812 Custom Beverly, part of Cord's final model year. See more classic car pictures.

To understand the 810/812, you have to go back to its forebear, the Cord L-29. The marque, of course, refers to Errett Lobban Cord, the whirlwind Los Angeles used-car salesman who rose to become president and chief stockholder of Auburn Automobile Company in just six short years. Cord moved swiftly to revive the flagging firm, envisioning it as the foundation for a diverse industrial empire to rival Ford or General Motors.

In characteristic style, he pursued this dream with a vengeance, acquiring Duesenberg in 1926, followed by a host of other enterprises, including enginemaker Lycoming.

Cord wanted a car to fill the price gap between his rejuvenated Auburn Eights and the awe-inspiring, custom-built Duesenberg Model J. And he was just egotistical enough to want his own name on it. Naturally, it would have to stand apart from his other cars, so mechanical innovation and sensational styling were assumed from the start.

1937 Cord Sportsman
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
This rare 1937 Sportsman has a custom hard top.

The L-29 had a healthy helping of both. Introduced in 1929, a year behind the mighty J, it was engineered by Cornelius Van Ranst along principles patented by famed race-car designer Harry Miller. Both were exponents of the "horse-pulls-cart" principle, so the L-29 had front-wheel drive, then in its infancy but necessary for the long, low appearance Cord craved.

Lycoming's 298.6-cubic-inch straight eight was plucked from the largest Auburns, given a new cylinder head and crankcase, and installed back-to-front. Clutch, three-speed sliding-pinion gearbox, and differential were strung out ahead of it (and in that order).

This layout dictated a lengthy wheelbase, which ended up at an imposing 137.5 inches. Matching it was the proverbial mile-long hood, to which stylist Alan Leamy added a graceful, Duesenberg-style radiator. The result was rakish, graceful, and ground-hugging, with classic proportions enhanced by long, artfully shaped "clamshell" fenders.

Body styles comprised four-door sedan, brougham, and convertible phaeton, plus two-door rumble-seat cabriolet. One other notable feature was the brakes: inboard-mounted Lockheed drums with hydraulic actuation. Suspension was by quarter-elliptic leaf springs in front and semi-elliptics at the rear, with Houdaille-Hershey shock absorbers all-round.

Beautiful though it was, the L-29 was seriously flawed. With only 125 horsepower to pull 2½ tons, it was a marginal performer at best: 0-60 mph took over 30 seconds, and top speed was barely 75 mph. Worse, the peculiar drivetrain arrangement resulted in an extreme rearward weight bias that left the front wheels scrabbling for traction on slippery uphill grades. Handling was twitchy, and the Cardan constant-velocity front U-joints wore out with merciless frequency, the latter reflecting E.L. Cord's production push and a consequent lack of development.

But the real problem was price. At $3,095-$3,295 depending on model, the L-29 was much costlier than faster, more refined rivals from the respected ranks of Cadillac, Lincoln and, especially, Packard. Moreover, the conservative buyers in this price class were wary of new ideas like front drive.

An ill-timed introduction -- virtually on the eve of the Depression -- hardly helped. After an $800 price cut failed to spark sales in 1931, the L-29 limped along through early 1932, then disappeared after a mere 4,429 had been built. With that, the Cord marque went into limbo.

See the next page to read about the development of the 1936 Cord 810.

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Development of the 1936 Cord 810 happened in a rather roundabout fashion. In the late summer of 1933, Duesenberg president Harold T. Ames called designer Gordon Buehrig to discuss his ideas for a new "junior" Duesenberg.

1937 Cord 812 Sportsman
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
Perhaps the most prized of all late-1930s Cords is the 170-horsepower supercharged 812 Sportsman of 1937.

What Ames had in mind was a lower-cost companion to bridge the yawning chasm between the relatively affordable Auburn Twelve and the frightfully expensive Model J. Existing Auburn components, including a reworked chassis, would be used wherever possible, clothed in eye-catching new bodywork.

Then just 29, but already a designer of considerable talent, Buehrig had resigned as head of Duesenberg's styling department in early 1933, joining Harley Earl's Art & Colour Section at General Motors in the face of a luxury-car market decimated by the Depression. Now, with Ames's assurance of carte blanche authority, he returned to spearhead this new project.

Providing able assistance were Phil Derham and August Duesenberg, the latter the brilliant engineer of the Model J and brother of company cofounder Fred. The trio was duly assigned a small work area in a corner of the firm's sprawling Indianapolis plant.

Buehrig came up with a novelty right off the bat: a "hermetically sealed" engine compartment with dual external radiators. Sketches of this highly advanced concept were shown to Ames in November. Then came a clay scale model, a four-door sedan with the radiators located outrigger-fashion between the hood-sides and unusual "pontoon" front fenders.

Overall, this design looked more like a spaceship from a mid-1930s Flash Gordon serial than even the most modern of contemporary passenger cars. After careful study, Ames approved building a single full-size prototype, but nixed the sealed-hood idea as impractical.

1937 Supercharged Cord 812 Sportsman
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
The winged hood emblem on this 1937 Supercharged 812 Sportsman was made as a running change that year.

The "baby Duesenberg" emerged with envelope-style steel sedan coachwork by the Weymann Body Company, with Phil Derham working out a myriad of small details. In the interim, Augie Duesenberg modified an Auburn Eight chassis to suit, and also engineered twin belt-driven fans for the outboard radiators.

Completed in just four months, the prototype was a model of functional beauty. Then came Auburn's 1934 sales disaster. Ames dispatched Buehrig and Augie up to Auburn with a modest $50,000 budget for a hasty makeover, and the junior Duesenberg was forgotten.

But just temporarily. In the early summer of 1934 came belated approval from the Cord Corporation board for construction of a pre-production "baby" prototype -- only the final version would be called a Cord, and Auburn would build it, not Duesenberg. What's more, it would have front instead of rear drive, and a yet-to-be-designed V-8.

For Buehrig, who would have overall responsibility for the styling package, it was the opportunity of a lifetime. Such a situation would be unheard of today, when designers are routinely assigned to develop individual components but seldom an entire car.

See the next page for changes to the new model, which would become the 1936 Cord 810.

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Well aware of the L-29's shortcomings, Gordon Buehrig resolved to avoid them with changes for the 1936 Cord 810. As with Russell E. Gardner's largely experimental front-drive car and the short-lived Ruxton, the L-29 was hampered by excessive overall length, dictated in part by its overly long inline engine.

1936 Cord Sportsman convertible coupe
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
The two-seat 1936 Sportsman convertible coupe was arguably the ultimate expression of the masterful 'coffin-nose' Cord 810/812 design created
by Gordon Buehrig.

But Buehrig was blessed with a more compact power unit engineered specifically for revised front-drive mechanicals that also required less space. He thus settled on 125-inch wheelbase, making the new Cord far more manageable than its forebear. The powertrain ended up fully two feet further forward than before, resulting in spacious, comfortable five-passenger seating despite the 12 fewer inches between wheel centers.

Also unlike the L-29, the new Cord would employ unit construction, with a massive U-shaped front sub-frame to support the powerplant, secured to a rigid, self-contained four-door sedan body. This welded, reinforced all-steel structure would not only be much stronger and safer than the awkward old body-on-frame arrangement, but would improve engine accessibility, lower the center of gravity, and substantially reduce unsprung weight, the last two benefiting dynamic balance.

Finally, to enhance both balance and interior room, there would be a recessed or "step-down" passenger compartment floor, predating Hudson's highly publicized "first" by more than a decade.

These were exciting times for Buehrig and his team, who were soon working at Auburn. And work they did, buoyed by their own enthusiasm, toiling long hours through the summer and fall of 1934 to create a totally new car for a new age. Soon they'd prepared a clay scale model, and studied every line for ways to reduce wind resistance before applying their conclusions to a full-size mockup.

The end product not only reflected their attention to detail but managed to be both strikingly futuristic and timelessly handsome. Door hinges, gas filler, and even the headlamps were all concealed. Running boards were discarded as old-fashioned, and "Venetian blind" hoodside louvers wrapped all the way around the front to stand in for the traditional radiator.

A distinctive, one-piece "coffin-nose" hood was hinged at the rear, "alligator" style, while the rear deck was artfully tapered and taillamps flush-mounted. By mid-1930s standards, the second-generation Cord was straight from the 21st century.

Meanwhile, Lycoming chief engineer Forrest Baxter was busy laying out the new V-8. Because compactness was paramount, it would be a 90-degree unit, with a relatively large, 3.5-inch bore for maximum power. A long, 3.75-inch stroke yielded a total 288.6 cubic inches. Under test, the production-approved engine churned out 125 horsepower at 3,500 rpm -- the same horsepower as the L-29's larger straight eight -- or one horsepower for every 2.33 cubic inches.

High-compression (6.5:1) aluminum cylinder heads were specified, as were aluminum pistons with Invar struts. Carburetion was by a Stromberg dual-downdraft instrument on a precision-engineered intake manifold, assuring even fuel distribution at any speed. Full-length water jackets, "silent chain" camshaft drive, and extra-wide main bearings also aided efficiency in this L-head.

For more features of the 1936 Cord 810, continue to the next page.

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The rest of the features of the 1936 Cord 810's more compact power package comprised differential, clutch, and four-speed transmission within a single reinforced housing. Unlike the L-29, this was located ahead of the front axle centerline, with the engine just behind, providing more even fore/aft weight distribution and thus far better traction. Lower engine weight also helped, the V-8 being only half as heavy as the old straight eight.

1936 Cord Sportsman
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
The hidden headlamps and 'Venetian blind' grille of the 1936 Cord Sportsman were strikingly modern for the late 1930s, as was the absence of running boards.

A full-pressure oil pump was built into the driveline case to assure constant gear lubrication. Unlike rear-drive cars, where engine/transmission misalignment often caused undue noise and wear, the Cord gearbox was rigidly attached to the engine, at the front. Driving torque was taken to each front wheel through a splined shaft with an angular constant-velocity universal joint at each end.

Front suspension was independent, with dual trailing "swing arms" acting on a transverse leaf spring, and made for an unusually smooth ride. Center-point steering made for easy operation. Replacing the normal stalk-like gearshift was the Bendix "Electric Hand," an electrically controlled vacuum servo that allowed the driver to preselect gears via a toggle on a stubby steering column extension. After moving to the gear desired, you simply stabbed the clutch to shift. Everything else was automatic.

No less innovative was the interior, actually an updated version of Buehrig's 1930 Duesenberg Beverly motif. Adorned with a chrome engine-turned appliqué, the instrument panel bristled with fingertip levers and a full complement of easy-to-read dials that included clock, tachometer, and engine-oil-level indicator.

Headlamps were raised and lowered manually by small, chrome-plated handcranks at the underdash extremities. (On the pilot model featured in early Cord advertising, the lamps were mounted inboard on the front fenders; production cars had them on the leading edges.) Instead of the usual button, you sounded the horn by pressing on a large chrome ring within the steering wheel, the first American car ever to have one. Finally, a pistol-grip handbrake hung from the dash at the far left, leaving a completely unobstructed front floor for full three-abreast seating.

By the end of 1934, the new Cord's basic design was locked up and production dies finished. Then, just when all seemed ready, the program was put on hold once more. Why? Lack of money. Cord Corporation was in trouble, particularly linchpin Auburn, which had yet to reverse its steep sales decline of the past several years.

Lacking sufficient development funds for a completely new Auburn line, the board briefly considered several strange compromises. One mated the would-be Cord's front-end sheetmetal with the existing Auburn sedan body, and looked quite ungainly for it.

Another was a rakish two-place convertible called the "Gentleman's Roadster." Intended as an inexpensive Duesenberg, it was really an upscale Auburn, with the V-12 in the six-cylinder chassis -- just the sort of car Ames had originally suggested. Only one was built. (It now resides at the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum in Auburn, Indiana.)

By July 1935, the board was again ready to proceed -- pending approval from the company's reclusive president. That meant taking the sole prototype to E.L. Cord's Los Angeles estate for a demonstration. Although several problems surfaced, notably overheating and a transmission that habitually slipped out of gear, the boss loved it.

Continue to the next page to read about the debut of the 1936 Cord 810.

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On August 10,1935, just 15 weeks before the first of the big national auto shows and the debut of the 1936 Cord 810, E.L. Cord inexplicably announced that production of his new namesake would get underway immediately at Auburn's Connersville, Indiana facility. Initial funds would come from one of his corporation's few profitable divisions, a maker of metal kitchen cabinets.

1936 Cord 810 Phaeton Sedan
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
The 1936 Cord 810 Phaeton Sedan was a four-seater with innovative roll-down rear quarter windows.

What followed was near total bedlam as workers, factory managers, tool-and-die makers, and parts and materials suppliers scrambled. Worse, the firm had to complete at least 100 of the new models before it could exhibit even one, clearly an impossible task.

Under heavy pressure from E.L. Cord, show officials decided to accept a lesser number, and 11 cars were finished in time. Even this was a minor miracle, as they were literally hand-built, with most sheetmetal hammered out on the spot. Because transmission tooling couldn't be had on such short notice, none of the show cars was drivable.

As if Gordon Buehrig didn't have enough headaches, E.L. Cord next demanded not one, but two different convertibles to share the limelight with his new sedan. Working from quarter-scale clay models, the designer translated dimensions directly to full-size steel bodies right on the assembly shop floor.

But he did it masterfully, and his two-seat Sportsman convertible coupe emerged as one of the most beautiful open cars ever produced. Its four-seat companion, euphemistically dubbed "Phaeton Sedan," was a convertible club coupe with pivoting, crank-down rear quarter windows, another U.S. production first.

Both had cloth tops that lowered into a well behind the cockpit, where they were completely concealed by a close-fitting metal cover. Harley Earl copped this idea for his 1938 Y-job and a number of General Motors' early postwar show cars.

Limited funds dictated strict production economies and no little improvisation, though, if anything, this only contributed to the new Cord's uniqueness. For example, the four sedan doors were made with just two dies; a smaller trim die was used to finish the rear ones. Items like steering wheels, instruments, window cranks, and door handles were purchased in bulk as manufacturer's surplus, thus eliminating their tooling costs entirely.

In some areas, the simplest answers worked best. Take the hubcap, which covered the entire wheel, an innovation that would later sweep the industry. Though it was originally a solid stamping, repeated brake failures due to heat buildup suggested punching 12 cooling holes around its perimeter, an elegantly functional solution.

Equally clever -- but far more troublesome -- was the sedan's all-steel roof. Though more advanced than contemporary fabric-insert types, it comprised no fewer than seven separate pieces that had to be welded together. The reason? Auburn didn't have a press large enough to stamp it as one panel.

As showtime approached, Cord Corporation announced that it would have the largest display of any auto maker at the big New York exposition, with the reborn Cord occupying center-stage amidst a bevy of 1936 Auburns and a smattering of Duesenbergs.

The 11 hand-built cars, four convertibles and seven sedans, left Connersville by rail in the waning days of October, destined for shows in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles beginning November 2. At his Auburn, Indiana home, Gordon Buehrig anxiously awaited the people's verdict.

And unquestionably, the future of Auburn Automobile Company was riding on those cars. Despite Buehrig's attractive 1935 restyle, Auburn was still generally considered an also-ran, a make that might become an orphan at almost any time. Few buyers cared to gamble on such cars in the Depression years, and this more than anything had prevented Auburn from improving its market position. With the company losing money at a prodigious rate, the Cord was quite rightly seen as its salvation.

For more on the 1936 Cord 810, see the next page.

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Gordon Buehrig needn't have worried. His new 1936 Cord 810 was the star of the seven-day New York show. Critics voted it the year's most attractive car by a wide margin, and showgoers mobbed the Cord stand, climbing all over each other just to get a glimpse of it.

1936 Cord Westchester sedan
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
The value leader of the debut 1936 Cord 810 line was the pretty Westchester sedan, advertised at a still-formidable $1,995.

Though demonstration drives weren't possible, company representatives took numerous orders on the spot, optimistically promising delivery by Christmas. Meantime, congratulatory telegrams poured into corporate headquarters.

The 810 was the most talked-about car in years. Said one show reporter: "This entirely new car is of greater interest than all the other exhibits put together." Another went much further: "For sheer taste, for functional correctness, and for beauty, the Cord is the best design the American industry has ever produced."

This enthusiastic debut promised a new lease on life for moribund Auburn. But a firm Auburn had hired to gauge public response sounded a sobering note, warning that the 810's "success would seem to be assured, provided the car in service lives up to its first impressions and provided too long a time does not elapse between impressions made on possible buyers and the time at which they have a chance to get deliveries." Events were about to prove this an eerily accurate prophesy.

Christmas came and went, then New Year's, but not a single 810 emerged from Connersville. One of the 11 show cars was made drivable and delivered to an E.L. Cord crony. The others, overburdened with lead and having served their purpose, were returned to the plant and stripped of usable parts. Most were broken up for scrap.

Meanwhile, the company sent out 1/32-scale bronze models on marble bases to placate increasingly impatient buyers, acknowledging their advance deposits and assuring that real cars were on the way. But the first 810s didn't start trickling off the line until February 15.

Predictably, there were problems, as there are with almost any all-new car. The main ones were chronic overheating, excessively noisy U-joints, and transmissions that shifted in and out of gear as if they had minds of their own. These and other "bugs" were eventually exterminated, but by then it was too late. For all its advances -- or maybe because of them -- the second-generation Cord seemed as flawed as the first.

High prices didn't help. Though nowhere near a 12-cylinder Pierce-Arrow, Lincoln, or Packard, the 810 was far too costly for the upper-medium-price field Cord had targeted. The Westchester four-door, the lesser of the two sedans offered and cheapest of the four-model lineup, came in at a hefty $1,995. Topping the line was the Phaeton Sedan at $2,195. Thus, the Cord was in class by itself. Many saw it as neither fish nor fowl, an uncomfortable position for any car in 1936.

Cord 810s were soon seen on America's highways, but not often: only 716 were built in the first five months. Technical complexity, the overwhelming amount of hand labor required, and Auburn's dwindling resources all precluded volume production, which in turn largely accounted for the stiff prices. The early "teething" troubles and Auburn's shaky public image did the rest.

So although the Cord was still widely admired for its design, the bloom went off its rose quite quickly. What was supposed to be a much-needed shot in the arm for failing Auburn division turned out to be a very bitter pill instead.

See the next page to see if Cord recovered with the 1937 Cord 812.

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With losses mounting, Auburn slashed overhead to the bone, transferring all engineering, manufacturing, sales, and administrative functions to Connersville from its Auburn, Indiana home base. Yet even as the company battened down, its engineers were putting the final touches on a new wrinkle for the 1937 Cord 812 line, scheduled to bow in September.

1937 Cord 812 Custom
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
Trunkback styling, lush cabin decor, and a 132-inch wheelbase marked the new Custom sedans in the 1937 Cord 812 line.

Actually, it wasn't new at all. Auburn now simply resorted to the image-booster it had been using on its own cars for the past few years, albeit with mixed results. There thus arrived a new performance option intended to attract well-heeled sporty types. It was, of course, a centrifugal supercharger, blowing through a reworked intake manifold and exhaling through flashy, flexible, chrome-plated exhaust pipes emanating from both sides of the hood through chrome-mesh screens.

Built by Schwitzer-Cummins, the blower ran at 24,000 rpm to raise maximum output by a full 45 horsepower to 170, a smashing 36 percent gain. Autocar magazine in England timed a supercharged 812 sedan at just 13.2 seconds in the 0-60 mph test, a full seven seconds faster than its normally aspirated counterpart.

"The acceleration of this machine is tremendous," said the editors. And with a top speed near 110 mph, the blown Cord was one of America's fastest prewar production cars bar none.

1937 supercharged Cord 812 Sportsman
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
The supercharge package, here on a 1937 Cord 812 Sportsman, cost $415.

Besides the supercharger package, a $415 extra for all models, 1937 brought a brace of luxury sedans on a stretched, 132-inch wheelbase, a gesture toward the declining "carriage trade." The four-passenger Custom Beverly boasted armchair-style seats, while the limousine-like Custom Berline came with a roll-down division window. Both were distinguished by "bustleback" trunk styling, a higher roofline for extra headroom inside, and special interiors.

At $3,575, the supercharged Berline was the most expensive 1937 Cord. But curiously, Auburn raised prices by as much as $450 on other models, apparently trying to impress those buyers who judged cars by cost alone.

As it declared in a November 1936 Cord advertisement: "Auburn knows that the market for a distinctive, ahead-of-the-times type of car is smaller than the market for ordinary cars. Auburn dares to forsake beaten paths -- dares to depart from the conventional -- dares to take leadership."

Brave words, but the company ultimately wasn't able to live up to its promise. See the next page to follow the Cord story to the end of the model line.

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In the face of that year's staggering $1.5 million loss, the end of the Cord 810/812 was near. Despite rumors to the contrary, often started by the company itself to bolster public confidence, there would be no 1937 Auburns. Instead, the firm would concentrate solely on Cord production. From a financial standpoint, it needn't have bothered.

1937 Cord 812 Westchester sedan
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
Few closed cars have stood the test of time so well as the Gordon Buehrig-designed 1937 Cord 812 Westchester sedan.

Never high to begin with, Cord sales tapered off through August 1937. Then Auburn called it quits. In all, just 2,320 of the 810/812 models were built. It was a sad end for what was heralded as "a totally new interpretation of the function of the motorcar."

Auburn's waning months brought various schemes to stave off the inevitable, but all came to naught. Buehrig, all too conscious of the firm's terminal condition, had left in the summer of 1936. Taking his place on the small design staff was Alex Tremulis, who would go on to style the postwar Tucker.

Chiefly responsible for the 1937 long sedans and external exhaust setup, Tremulis had the misfortune of working on the experimental "Au-Du-Cords," horrible combinations of surplus body parts and Cord mechanicals, cobbled up in the vain hope of an Auburn revival for 1938.

A Cord "814" was also in the works, basically the 810/812 with outward-slanting hood and a more rounded transmission cover. It, too, was left stillborn when Auburn filed for bankruptcy in December 1937.

1937 Cord Supercharged 812 Sportsman
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
This 1937 Cord Supercharged 812 Sportsman bears a factory-installed four-pipe exhaust system instead of the usual two pipes per side.

But the Cord had left its mark. Amazingly, Buehrig's basic design was soon resurrected for the rear-drive Hupp Skylark and Graham Hollywood, where it survived through 1940.

Perhaps the most fitting tribute ever paid the Cord 810/812 came from New York City's Museum of Modern Art, which staged a special exhibit in 1951, simply titled "Eight Automobiles." Included were a 1941 Lincoln Continental, a 1937 Talbot-Lago, the Pinin Farina-designed 1946 Cisitalia, a 1938 Bentley, a World War II military Jeep -- and a 1937 Cord 812. Declared MOMA curator Arthur Drexler: "We regard the Cord as the outstanding American contribution to automobile design."

A lot of people still agree. Greatness may not always be good business, but it almost always endures.

See the next page to find specifications and production information for the 1936-1937 Cord 810/812.

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The 1936 and 1937 Cord 810/812 were gracefully styled, high performance cars with innovative engineering. Sadly, they couldn't save the Auburn automaker from bankruptcy, so their run lasted only two years. Here are the specifications for the 1936-1937 Cord 810/812:

1937 Cord Supercharged 812 Phaeton Sedan
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
This 1937 Cord 812 Supercharged Phaeton Sedan displays its roll-down rear quarter windows, another Cord first for an American production model.


Auburn Automobile Company, division Cord Corporation, Connersville, Indiana
Vehicle type
front-engine, front-wheel drive four-door sedan, two-passenger convertible coupe, four-passenger convertible phaeton
unit steel body with front sub frame

Wheelbase, inches
Overall length, inches
Overall width, inches
Track, front/rear, inches
Overall height, inches
Ground clearance, inches
Turning circle, feet
Curb weight, pounds
Weight distribution, front/rear, percent
Fuel tank capacity, gallons
Fuel consumption, miles per gallon

2sedans/open models


Lycoming 90-degree L-head; aluminum cylinder head & pistons; Stromberg dual downdraft carburetor; Startix ignition
Bore × stroke, inches
3.50 × 3.75
Displacement, cubic inches
Compression ratio
Horsepower @ rpm
125 @ 3,500/170 @ 4,000 supercharged (1937 only)
Schwitzer-Cummins centrifugal; 24,000 max rpm
4-speed manual with helical-cut gears and Bendix "Electric Hand" vacuum-servo pre-selector remote control; synchromesh II-IV
Transmission ratios
9.08:1 (I), 5.85:1 (II), 3.88:1 (III), 2.75:1 (IV), 10.89 (Reverse)
10-inch semi-automatic dry plate


Front suspension
independent; dual trailing box-section swing arms, transverse leaf spring, Lovejoy double-action hydraulic shock absorbers
Rear suspension
tubular steel axle on semi-elliptic leaf springs; Lovejoy double-action hydraulic shock absorbers
worm-and-roller with Gemmer gear and center-point geometry; 18.2:1 overall ratio; 3.25 turns lock-to-lock
steel 11 × 2.25-inch Centrifuse drums with welded cast-iron linings and hydraulic actuation
Brake area, square inches
ventilated pressed-steel disc/6.50 × 16 six-ply


Acceleration, seconds3
Speed, mph4
0-30 mph, --/5.0
Average max for 1.2 mile, 98.9
0-50 mph, 13.7/10.5
Best timed 1/2 mile, 102.27
0-60 mph, 20.1/13.2
Maxima (I/II/III), 34/60/88
0-70 mph, 27.5/19.6
Cruise, 75-80

31936 810/1937 Supercharged 812 tested by Autocar
41937 812 Supercharged tested by Autocar


Began November 2, 1935; 1,174 registrations
Began September 2, 1936 (Supercharged November 18, 1936); 1,146 registrations

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