1936 Cord 810 Convertible Phaeton

Chassis number: 2037H

The 1936 and 1937 Cords were often referred to as “Baby Duesenbergs,” and the innovative series remains an undisputed collector favorite today. Like the L-29 that came before, the 810 was fi tted with an advanced front-wheel 81 system. But the new 810 had a V8 engine from Lycoming, one of E.L. Cord’s many companies, that was mated to an innovative 4-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 the orders poured in. Alas, production startup was slow, and by the time supply finally caught up with demand, many customers had changed their minds. Just slightly more than 2,900 examples of the Cord 810/812 were produced during an 18-month period, prior to the ultimate collapse of E.L. Cord’s automotive operations. About 600 convertible phaetons were built.

The example offered here was previously owned by the late Robert C. Stempel, a former president and chief executive offi cer of General Motors. A recent inspection of the car confirms that it retains its original engine. Recently, the car was selectively refi nished, the wheels were repainted, and a new set of whitewall tires was fitted. Mechanically, the steering box was overhauled and the transmission’s electronic pre-selector shift mechanism was checked over and serviced for proper operation.

These Cords offer effortless cruising at modern highway speeds. With its open convertible phaeton sedan bodywork, this car also delivers a remarkably enjoyable driving experience, with room for five.