Lot 117

Arizona 2014

1937 Cord 812 Phaeton


$175,000 - $225,000 USD | Not Sold

United States Flag | Phoenix, Arizona



Chassis No.
812 1339 H
Engine No.
FB 2454
  • Formerly owned by renowned collector William Pettit
  • A wonderful, accurate, well-presented older restoration
  • Ideal for Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club and CCCA events

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.

Addendum: Please note the title is in transit.

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; its “step-down” floor; its unitary body construction; its hidden door hinges; its pop-up headlamps; and its 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, which was operated by a “key” off the steering column; essentially, it was 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 new Cord was only built for two years, and it has since gone down in history as one of the most beautiful automobiles of its time, being regularly displayed in art museums as what Buehrig referred to as “rolling sculpture.”

The four-passenger convertible Phaeton offered here was owned for two decades by the late, renowned collector, and friend to many, William Pettit. Importantly, after parting with much of his large collection in the late 1990s, Mr. Pettit continued to maintain this Phaeton as part of a small, select group of favorites until his passing several years ago. It was beautifully and authentically restored by his good friend and fellow Cord owner Harry Van Iderstine.

The level of accuracy and detail in Mr. Van Iderstine’s work is outstanding. As an example, the car is finished in the correct pale shade of Cigarette Cream rather than the bright yellow often represented as that color, and it has a tasteful burgundy leather interior and black canvas top, with both being in the original factory pattern. Under the hood, the engine is correctly painted and detailed throughout. It should be noted that, while this is almost certainly a genuine car, the body tag installed is not original, and the numbers on it do not correspond to any known 812 Phaeton.

This Cord was shown at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club’s National Reunion after its restoration was complete, and although it has very seldom ventured out onto the show field in recent years, it has continued to be properly looked after. Not only is this Cord Phaeton one of the most beautiful cars of its time, it is also among the finest and easiest to drive, making it an ideal and comfortable choice for CCCA CARavans and ACD Club tours.

Many in the collector car community know and love this car, and it is proudly offered here for consideration by a new caretaker who appreciates the beauty of rolling sculpture.