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Hagerty Employee

Vellum Venom: 1937 Cord 812 Supercharged

Quick—name the first American automobile produced with front-wheel drive. Depending on who you ask, the title goes to either the Cord L-29 or the Ruxton. So what makes the all-but-identical, front-wheel-drive Cord 810 (1936) and 812 (1937) far more memorable than their predecessors? The 810/812 was a clean-sheet design offered by Gordon Buehrig, Vince Gardner—and Alex Tremulis, of course.


Buehrig and Co. chose the streamline moderne school of design as its muse. A "futurist" derivation of Art Deco often associated with architecture (think vintage hotels in Miami's South Beach), streamline moderne was also responsible for functionally sleek consumer electronics; planes, trains, and boats that look like they're moving when still; and cars like the Chrysler Airflow and the Tatra 77. The Depression-era swagger gave the signature style for Cord's impressive engineering. Since it inspired both GM (Olds Toronado) and Ford (1970 coffin-nosed Continental), we must run the vellum over it.


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Great way of looking at the Cord. Fresh as it were.


I have always thought these were exceedingly cool cars.


If you didn't know they were a high-end luxury car that get flipped from one collector to another with few miles ever being driven, and that this hadn't been the case for decades... you could be fooled into thinking this was a hot rodded 30s sedan with radical body customization. It's so different from they typically seen stuff from that decade.

Intermediate Driver

I'm a fan of this car, along with the Hupp Skylark that was based on this body shell, also.

Community Manager

Ditto the Graham Hollywood!  I was reeeeeeeeeally tempted to add these "post ACD liquidation" vehicles in the article, but decided these articles are long enough as-is. 

Pit Crew

A wonderful car indeed.  The cool porthole wheel covers were apparently not designed to be this way originally but in order to get the brakes to cool, the desperate people at Auburn (who were running out of money) simply put holes in the covers.  This worked and became a distinctive touch at the same time!

Community Manager

That makes a lot of sense.  It's frankly amazing what they pulled off while the finances were in such trouble.