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In 1937 E.L. Cord introduced the model 812. Some 688 812’s were sold with superchargers. The optional Schwitzer-Cummins centrifugal supercharger added over 40 horsepower to the Lycoming V-8 for a total of 170hp and over $415 to the price of the car for a lofty total of $3,010. Lycoming engineers insisted the supercharged motor produced 186-195hp although Cord chose to advertise the car with ‘just’ 170hp. Most supercharged 812’s featured external exhaust pipes running from the hood sides into the fenders. When the design of this car was originally penned, it was to be a “baby” Duesenberg. Gordon Buehrig crossed paths with E.L. Cord in the summer of 1929 when Buehrig was hired as chief stylist at Duesenberg. Only 25 years old at the time, he had accumulated design and coach building experience at a variety of body and auto companies, including Harley Earl’s newly created Art & Color Section at General Motors. Later in 1933, Duesenberg president Harold Ames invited Buehrig back to style a “baby Duesenberg” intended to fill the price gap between the awesomely-expensive Model J Duesenberg and the mid-priced Auburn. Buehrig’s GM design contest entry became the basis of the “baby Duesenberg” design.
The running prototype of the new Duesenberg was finished by April of 1934. However the parameters of the project changed that July. The new car would not be a Duesenberg but a Cord. In keeping with the legacy of the L-29 it would be front wheel drive and powered by a newly designed V8 engine from Lycoming. This car went on to become the 810/812 model Cord. At the time there was arguably no faster car in America from that decade than a supercharged Cord. One ad proclaimed, “…any driver that passes the Super-Charged Cord does so only with the Cord driver’s permission.”
This particular Cord has an amazing history of awards. The car was restored by LaVine in Florida at a cost of several hundred thousand dollars. The car was awarded best in show at the 2003 Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg National Meet. It went on the following year in 2004 to receive an award at Pebble Beach. The car won again in 2008 at Boca Raton where it was a zero deductions car, then went on in 2008 to win at the Radnor Hunt Concours d’ Elegance as well as the Los Angeles Concours and the Newport Beach Concours d’ Elegance. In short this car has never been to a Concours without coming home with an award. The black paintwork, dark red leather interior, bright work, engine compartment and undercarriage are exquisite. It is accordingly welcome on all CCCA tours and events nationwide. Today, as when new, this car is a stunning work of art. It was a car far ahead of its time and is quite possibly the nicest 812 Supercharged Phaeton in existence today. If a flawless example of a Supercharged Cord is on your wish list, look no further than this car.