Year of manufacture1937
- An authentic original supercharged 812 “Sportsman” Cabriolet; one of 64 built
- Exported new to South Africa; fascinating known history
- Auburn Cord Duesenberg (ACD) Club Certified Category One (C-316)
- Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic
The most desirable of the famed front-wheel-drive Cords is the two-passenger Cabriolet, known to enthusiasts as a “Sportsman,” with the new 190-horsepower supercharged V-8 freshly available for 1937. Only 64 cars were built to this specification, and while there are many poseurs, authentic survivors with well-known history are rarely found.
Serial no. 812 32485 F, offered here, is an authentic factory-supercharged Cabriolet, a very late car with the third-from-last body known to have been built. Delivered as an export model with right-hand-drive, it was shipped to South Africa, where, according to Ray Exton’s survey of the Cords in that country, it is said to have been a dealer demonstration model.
In 1968 the car, having fallen into disrepair, was sold by a Mr. DuBois of Natal to Dr. Frank Hayward of Johannesburg. A longtime Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club member, Dr. Hayward is best-remembered for his exhaustive restoration of a Cord L-29, completed over many years using “snail mail” international correspondence with historians back in the United States. The 812 was returned to life in the hands of South African Cord scholar Rudi Exner, reversing earlier modifications to the drivetrain and replacing the long-absent original powerplant with another correct original supercharged engine. Dr. Hayward was justifiably proud of the result, which he drove on several rallies in South Africa; in his long ownership, it was featured in Beverly Rae Kimes’s well-known 1990 book, The Classic Car.
In the early 1990s the Cord was sold to prolific ACD collector, Dr. Fay Culbreth of Charlotte, North Carolina, for whom it was originally inspected and Certified Category One by the ACD Club in 1997. Later, in the new ownership of Jerry Peterson of Colorado, a fresh frame-off restoration was begun in October 2004 and completed in August 2007. As part of this work the engine, supercharger, and transmission were rebuilt by noted Auburn-Cord specialist, Stan Gilliland. The car was finished in rich Cigarette Cream with maroon upholstery and black convertible top, one of the iconic color schemes for this model.
Still in beautifully restored and presented condition, this car is the legendary Cord in its most desirable guise—with the bonus of a most fascinating, well-known history, sure to be the talk of the concours field, ACD meet, or Grand Classic.To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/am21.