Market Finds: This Cord Custom Beverly Could Be Your Coffin-Nosed Cruiser

This Cord Custom Beverly Could Be Your Coffin-Nosed Cruiser

By Andrew Golseth
July 5, 2016

Photography Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

If you wanted ultimate roadway luxury before the Second World War, your choices were limited—even more so if you preferred plush cruisers built in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Sure, for most a Lincoln or Packard was plenty of car. Cadillacs were choice, and parking a Duesenberg in the garage was a good sign you’ve made it, but for the more esoteric, a Cord was most appropriate. Of the marque’s short list of innovative cars, the 810/812 is the hallmark model—and this 1937 Cord 812 Custom Beverly is the ultimate iteration.

The model 810/812 was penned by Gordon Buehrig, a forward-looking designer who gained employment at Duesenberg at age 25. Later, his new Cord caused quite a stir at the 1935 New York Auto Show debut. Pioneering flip up headlamps, the model quickly earned the nickname, “Coffin Nose” thanks to its hard-edged hood shape and unobstructed lines with recessed hand-crank to hide its lights. The minimalistic body sported a hidden fuel door, hidden door hinges, and a rear-hinged hood—all of which are rare features even today.

Thanks to the front engine front-wheel drive configuration, the ride height was significantly lower than the competition, eliminating the need for running boards, while simultaneously lowering the center of gravity. This, coupled with the independent front suspension setup, offered more responsive steering feedback without sacrificing ride quality. It’s also worth mentioning the car was the first to offer variable speed windshield wipers—fancy.

Beneath the coffin’s lid lies a 289 cubic inch Lycoming V8 carried over from its L-29 model predecessor. The 125 horsepower was adequate, but the way it delivered the power is what made the drive so special: gear changes are electrically selected by a semi-automatic four-speed transmission—note the little chrome gear switchboard to the right of the steering column.

The 810/812 was offered as a two-door convertible, coupe, or sedan. Offered in two four-door trim levels, the Westchester was the entry sedan while the upscale Beverly (like this example) offered a center console and the choice between pleated cloth or leather upholstery. After sedan customer feedback complained of tight quarters, particularly in the rear, Cord began offering the “Custom” model in 1937.

The Custom was built on an extended wheelbase chassis that added seven inches to the rear cabin section. To compensate for the added length, the designers tweaked the overall design to maintain its proportions. The shoulder line was slightly elevated, the grill received an additional horizontal bar, and the rear fender line was shortened.

Unfortunately, due to dwindling sales figures, only 94 flagship long wheelbase Custom Beverly were ordered—this being one of them. The second owner, a Mr. Edmund Burchman of California, purchased this beautiful blue on blue example in 1968 and stabled the car for more than 25 years. The car has since undergone a complete frame-off resurrection conducted by the antique and classic car specialists at LaVine Restorations based in Nappanee, Indiana.

The body was resprayed in its factory Geneva Blue hue while the interior was stitched in the color-matched optioned pleated cloth upholstery. The brightwork, paint, and trim are polished and finished to the highest concours standards. Overall, the car presents in factory specifications with the exception of black sidewall tires and supercharged version-style side exhaust—a common upgrade.

Included in the sale are restoration documents and photographs, owner’s manuals, and likely guarantee you’ll to be the classiest driver on the block. Rare, restored, and ready-to-roll, your Pre-War American chariot awaits.

– One of 94 Custom Beverly models built
– Restored by LaVine Restorations to original color combination

~125 horsepower, 288.6 cu. in. Lycoming V-8 engine, four-speed manual transmission with Bendix “Electric Hand” pre-selector, independent front suspension with trailing arms, transverse elliptical leaf spring and friction shock absorbers, beam-axle rear suspension with semi-elliptical leaf springs and friction shock absorbers, and four-wheel hydraulically operated drum brakes. Wheelbase: 132 in.

Vehicle information
Serial No.: 812 10180 S
Engine No.: FB 2003
Body No.: C 105 229

Auction house: RM Sotheby’s
Estimate: Upon Request
Price realized: Auction on July 30

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