Select Page

Photo courtesy of the Hagerty Drivers Foundation

Earhart’s 1937 Cord on Display, Under Glass, at National Mall

The fully-restored 1937 Cord 812 Phaeton Convertible originally owned by American aviator Amelia Earhart—now a part of The JBS Collection, owned by Jack Boyd Smith Jr. of Elkhart, Indiana—is under glass and on public display, through Sept. 5, at Washington D.C.’s National Mall as part of the Cars at the Capital event.

The honor, presented in conjunction with the the Hagerty Drivers Foundation, recognizes the Cord’s induction earlier this year into the National Historic Vehicle Register.

The National Historic Vehicle Register, under the collaborative auspices of the Library of Congress and the Hagerty Drivers Foundation, is the only list of its kind recognized by the federal government to promote and preserve the cultural, historical, and technological significance of the automobile. Earhart’s 1937 Cord 812 Phaeton Convertible is the 33rd vehicle to be inducted into the register.

“The automobiles in The JBS Collection represent the ultimate in design, craftsmanship, and innovation, and it’s important to find and preserve these historical treasures,” said Jack Boyd Smith Jr. “The historical value and provenance of Amelia Earhart’s 1937 Cord 812 Phaeton Convertible can’t be overstated. Ms. Earhart purchased this car shortly before her final flight. She famously chose to be photographed with the Cord and her plane: two machines she loved dearly. I’m grateful to honor her legacy with the restoration of this Cord and it’s exciting to present this automobile at our nation’s capital.”

The 1937 Cord 812 Phaeton Convertible, designed by American automobile architect Gordon M. Buehrig, set an early standard for luxury, design, and innovation. The Phaeton’s interior, featuring a machine-turned aluminum dashboard, closely resembles the cockpit of an airplane, and the Cord’s front-wheel-drive was the first of its kind in the American automobile industry.

Earhart’s 1937 Cord 812 Phaeton Convertible went through several owners after the famed aviator’s 1937 disappearance and was ultimately disassembled and parted throughout the country.

In 2018 The JBS Collection purchased the automobile from collector Ray Foster, who, after many years of research, was able to find the Phaeton’s original components and unite the car’s original frame with its original engine. After procuring the vehicle from Foster, Jack Boyd Smith Jr. commissioned LaVine Restorations, Inc., of Nappanee, Indiana, to bring Earhart’s automobile back to its original specs and its original glory.

“This was the type of project, from beginning to end, where you feel honored to be able to make it happen and to be a part of it,” said Jack Boyd Smith Jr. “So much went into the restoration of Ms. Earhart’s Cord, on every level, and the quality of the work done by Vivian and Eric (LaVine) and their team to bring this car back to life is just simply astounding. This project, this car, this story—this one checks every box.”

Amelia Earhart with her Cord and plane
The JBS Collection 1937 Cord on the Mall in Washington D.C. at night. Photo courtesy of the Hagerty Drivers Foundation.
The JBS Collection 1937 Cord on the Mall in Washington D.C., day time shot. Photo courtesy of the Hagerty Drivers Foundation.
1937 Cord on the Mall, Washington DC - Photo courtesy of Hagerty Drivers Foundation
Hagerty Drivers Foundation plaque: National Historic Vehicle Register No. 33. Photo courtesy of the Hagerty Drivers Foundation.

Photos courtesy of the Hagerty Drivers Foundation

1937 Cord 812 Phaeton Convertible

This 1937 Cord 812 Phaeton Convertible—originally owned by American aviator Amelia Earhart and now a part of The JBS Collection of Elkhart, Indiana—is the 33rd vehicle to be inducted into the National Historic Vehicle Register. Restored by LaVine Restorations, Inc., of Nappanee, Indiana, the Cord will be under glass at the National Mall for the Cars at the Capital event, through Sept. 5, in Washington, D.C.