Auburn Fall | Lot 6049
1936 Cord 810 Phaeton
$126,500 USD | Sold
| Auburn, Indiana
4 September 2021
- Auburn Cord Duesenberg (ACD) Club Certified Category One (C-316)
- A beautiful example of one of the most influential automobiles of its era
- Stunning combination of Cigarette Cream exterior over a maroon interior; brown convertible top
- Accompanied by ACD Club paperwork
The 810 was not E.L. Cord’s first attempt at producing a front-wheel drive automobile, but compared to the L-29 that preceded it, it was a true revolution on all fronts: With its blunt, louvered nose, “step-down” floor, unitary construction, hidden door hinges, and a total lack of running boards, Gordon Buehrig’s design emphasized the forward-looking nature of the car’s underlying technology. Power was supplied by a Lycoming V-8 mated to a four-speed, electrically shifted pre-selector transmission—mounted, naturally, in front of the engine and operated by a “key” off the steering column (essentially, an H-pattern gearshift in miniature).
The car’s reception at the November 1935 New York Auto Show was enthusiastic, with onlookers reportedly standing on the roofs of other cars just to catch a glimpse, and the orders poured in. Alas, production start-up for the advanced and complex design was slow, and by the time supply caught up with demand, some customers had changed their minds. Cord production wound down in 1937, though the impact of the 810 is still felt to this day.
The 810 Phaeton offered here was originally delivered in Pennsylvania, where it was first registered on 11 June 1936. An interesting notation in its Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club paperwork is that it was once owned by Richard Nicholas, whose home was the famous Stonebridge estate in Chadd’s Ford. The car remained in the Quaker State for its first 35 years, including ownership by the well-known enthusiast and CCCA member Calvin High. Mr. High sold the car in 1971 to Frank Martucci, the mayor of Roslyn Heights, New York, a skilled acrobatic pilot and Cord collector who retained it until the early 2000s.
In Mr. Martucci’s long-term ownership, the already freshly restored car was again restored to meet his standards, in the present Cigarette Cream with maroon interior, an original available factory color combination, while adding 1937-style side exhausts. He submitted it to the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club, where it was fully certified as a Category 1 Original Car—only the ninth Cord to be so recognized. Among its honors in his ownership was an AACA Senior First Prize, reportedly with 397 out of a possible 400 points, and Senior awards in ACD Club national judging.
Under the care of its previous owner, who purchased the car in 2016, this 810 Phaeton was shown at numerous events and was mechanically maintained. It also received a new convertible top in brown finished with maroon trim, nicely complimenting the interior color. Acquired by the consignor in 2019, the car has reportedly benefitted from continued care, including an oil change and lubrication, the installation of new spark plugs, and a points tune-up.
Today, it remains a beautiful machine, ideal for both CCCA CARavans and ACD Club tours, as well as regional concours d’elegance—allowing its new owner to experience one of the most striking and well-engineered automobiles of its time.