Amelia Island

10-11 March 2017

A Gentleman's Collection: The Pride & Passion of Orin Smith

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Lot 116

1936 Cord 810 Phaeton

  • Chassis no. 1247
  • Serial no. 810 2247 H
  • Engine no. FB 1547
  • Gearbox no. T2437
  • Body no. C 91 210
  • Supercharger no. V1495

Sold for $165,000

125 bhp, 288 cu. in. L-head V-8 engine, four-speed pre-selector manual transmission, independent front suspension, rear semi-elliptical suspension with leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 125 in.

  • Auburn Cord Duesenberg (ACD) Club Certified Category One (C-310)
  • Restoration by marque specialist Henry Portz
  • Two-time Best of Show at the ACD Club West Coast Meet
  • Equipped with its original engine
  • Correct accessory luggage rack

This beautiful Cord 810 phaeton was built midway through the production year, as distinguished by its trunk lid, which is cut out to clear the spare tire. It has a known ownership history back to the early 1960s, when it was owned by Robert McCullagh, a longtime Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club member in Northern California. It subsequently passed in 1978 to Michael Nigro of Huntington Beach, California, and in 1993 to David Graham of Santa Ana. In a letter passed with the car to a subsequent owner, Mr. Graham noted that the car as-acquired was solid and rust-free, and had been off the road since 1961.

Mr. Graham commissioned the renowned Cord expert Henry Portz to restore the car to original condition, which was completed over a period of five years with great care and authenticity exhibited throughout. A Cord enthusiast since the 1940s, Mr. Portz has restored numerous superb examples and is highly regarded both for his knowledge and for his ability to machine and fabricate high-quality Cord parts. His workmanship combined with Mr. Graham’s own attention to detail, such as sourcing a correct original trunk rack – an extremely rare accessory, taken off a garage wall in New Hampshire where it had hung for 40 years, as well as dual Cord amber-lens accessory fog lights. Such touches resulted in the car being awarded Best Cord 810/812 and Best of Show twice at the ACD Club’s West Coast Meet, in 1998 and 2000.

The phaeton next passed to well-known enthusiast and Auburn-Cord collector, Paul Petrovich, who had its restoration considerably freshened, both mechanically and cosmetically, by Chris Kidd’s Tired Iron Works of Monrovia, California, with extensive invoices on file. It then joined Orin Smith’s wonderful collection, where it has enjoyed the same excellent care and conservation of his other automobiles, and remains in superb overall condition.

The car is recorded in historian Ron Irwin’s listing of extant Cords published in the ACD Club Newsletter, No. 8 1984, as well as in the lists of known Cords published in Josh B. Malks’ two landmark works, Cord 810/812: The Timeless Classic and Cord Complete. All three lists show the car to be equipped with engine FB 1547, that which is still under the hood. While the car was born unsupercharged and remains so today, it was decided during its Portz restoration to equip it with supercharged-style side exhaust, a popular flamboyant touch and one that only adds to its appeal. Further, the car has received its ACD Club Category One Certification, a further mark of approval on its quality, authenticity, and correctness throughout.

A simply superb Cord in every way, this car ranks among the best-restored examples to recently come to auction. Nothing more need be said.


Please note that the serial and chassis numbers of this car are 810 2247 H and 1247, respectively. They were misprinted in the catalogue.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

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Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more