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Amelia Earhart’s ill-fated attempt to be the first female pilot to circumnavigate the globe is a sad tale of ambition and mystery. However, as much as Earhart had a penchant for striking airplanes and adventure, she also loved cars. Enter the aviator’s similarly mysterious 1937 Cord 812, a car that disappeared only to return in a spectacular fashion. 

After disappearing for years, Amelia Earhart’s 1937 Cord 812 Phaeton Convertible has a new lease on life

It’s appropriate, if also on the nose, that The JBS Collection describes their 1937 Cord 812 Phaeton Convertible as having “high-flying ownership.” The Jack Boyd Smith Jr. Collection is, of course, referring to the previous owner of their stunning, almost cartoonish Palm Beach Tan Cord 812 luxury car, none other than Amelia Earhart.

According to Hagerty, Earhart’s Cord car was a renumbered 1936 Cord 810 originally sold as a 1937 model. Tragically, Earhart didn’t have much time to enjoy the car; she disappeared along with her navigator in 1937. Furthermore, the car was part of Amelia Earhart’s liquidated estate following her historic disappearance over the Pacific Ocean. In a tragic combination of circumstances, the car was the victim of neglect.

Amelia Earhart's 1973 Cord 812 Phaeton Convertible shows off its stretched car aesthetic.
Amelia Earhart’s 1973 Cord 812 Phaeton Convertible | The JBS Collection

Fortunately, the 2018 acquisition by The JBS Collection and resurrection by LaVine Restorations returned the Cord 812 to its former glory. It took two years, and the product is nothing short of stunning. Better yet, nothing says effort, time, and resources well invested like a win at the 2021 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.  

I had the pleasure of enjoying a Cord classic car in the flesh a couple of weeks ago. Incidentally, it was a 1937 Cord 812, not unlike the listed nomenclature of Earhart’s forgotten ride. This one belongs to the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum. It was the updated Phaeton body following the 1936 Cord 810. Moreover, the 812 was just one of under 3,000 Cord 810 and 812 models.

Amelia Earhart's 1973 Cord 812 Phaeton Convertible car from the front.
Amelia Earhart’s 1973 Cord 812 Phaeton Convertible | The JBS Collection

It’s certainly an apropos mount for the historic aviator; long sweeping lines and dramatically rounded fenders look right at home next to the pre-WWII propeller-driven aircraft of the day. Either way, we’re glad to see Earhart’s Cord car back at its former glory and traveling like the intrepid aviator herself.