The Petersen Automotive Museum Auction | Lot 190
1937 Cord 812 Supercharged Phaeton
$220,000 - $260,000 USD | Not Sold
| Los Angeles, California
8 December 2018
- Factory-supercharged example with its original engine
- Former long-term California enthusiast ownership
- Award-winning older restoration in beautiful factory-correct colors
- ACD Club Certified Category One (C-219)
The Duesenberg Model J had become available with a supercharger in 1932. Three years later, the eight-cylinder Auburn could also be had with a blower. All that was left was to fit the engine to the new Cord of 1936. A year later, as the 810 evolved into the 812 with production fully underway, the Auburn Automobile Company’s most flamboyant line received supercharged power as a popular $415 option on all models.
Lycoming began with the 810’s stock V-8 engine, revising the design with a modified firing order, lowered compression ratio, more extreme camshaft grind, and a unique, larger Stromberg AA-25 carburetor. The engine exhaled through a functional chrome side exhaust, an identifying mark of all supercharged Auburn products that was believed to have been added to the Cord by stylist Alex Tremulis, later of Tucker fame, and was engineered into being by none other than August Duesenberg.
The supercharged Cord had a factory-quoted power output of 170 hp, although Lycoming employees later recounted numbers as high as 195. The factory sent two properly equipped Beverly Sedans to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where, driven by Ab Jenkins and Billy Winn, they recorded the highest average speed over a 24-hour period ever achieved at the Brickyard—over 80 mph—and captured the famous Stevens Trophy. That record would stand until 1954. Make no mistake, these were fast cars, with power and flexibility that was as much ahead of its time as the Cord’s famous Gordon Buehrig styling.
The four-passenger phaeton shown here is one of 688 factory-supercharged Cords built, and it retains its original “FC” engine, as verified by both the 810/812 chassis listing in Josh B. Malks’ Cord Complete and its ACD Club Category One certification. It was acquired in 1967 by the late Gary Dubnoff, an enthusiast in northern California who had joined the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club and inquired as to purchasing a car in the Club’s newsletter. Soon after, he purchased this 812, and it remained a favored possession for the remaining 46 years of his life.
The Cord was beautifully restored some years ago, with great attention to authenticity and correctness throughout, including proper fittings, finishes, and wiring under the hood. The body is finished in Geneva Blue, a correct factory color, with the interior a wonderful contrast in bright red leather in the proper pattern and a tan canvas top overhead.
Following the completion of the restoration, the car was an award winner at the ACD Club’s West Coast Meet in 1987. It was regularly maintained for decades and has continued to be well looked after in its present owner’s collection.
This car is being offered to a new, good home, where it is certain to continue to be a special point of pride, whether it is parked as a trophy in the garage or motoring down the road in true Art Deco fashion.