Amelia Earhart's 1937 Cord convertible is about to go on display on the National Mall

Mention Amelia Earhart, and we instantly connect the name with the flight of an airplane … her Lockheed Electra that vanished over the ocean in 1937. But there’s another conveyance the aviatrix coveted: a long-lost 1937 Cord 812 Phaeton convertible that is about to go on display on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

The handsome, low-slung classic will be presented Thursday as part of the Hagerty Drivers Foundation’s annual “Cars at the Capital” exhibition. It will remain on the Mall only a week — until September 5.

Earhart was the first woman to cross the Atlantic by air — and the first person to cross it twice. She was determined to circumnavigate the Earth; on May 21, 1937, she and navigator Fred Noonan left Oakland, California, and headed east. After covering 22,000 miles over several weeks, they touched down in New Guinea for fuel, departing on July 2, 1937. They vanished over the South Pacific.

Earhart's husband, George Putnam, commissioned several expensive searches, but nothing turned up. In 1939, he had her officially declared dead and liquidated parts of her estate, including the Cord.

Hagerty Drivers Foundation

The Cord 810 (later known as the 812) was bought by Earhart about a year before the fateful flight. Whereas most cars of this era were of the body-on-frame type and relied on a front-mounted engine to power their rear wheels, the front-engine Cord broke the mold by adopting unibody construction and a front-wheel-drive setup.

The car featured other quirky stuff such as forward-opening doors with hidden hinges (exposed hinges were then the norm), and hidden headlights. Instead of a chrome-laden grille, the 810 featured subtle horizontal louvers. The car features Palm Beach Tan paint.

The Cord eventually ended up in the garage of car collector Jack Boyd Smith Jr., who bankrolled a painstaking restoration by Travis LaVine of LaVine Restorations. It is now owned and exhibited by the JBS Collection.

Earhart's Cord made its initial public showing at the 2021 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, where Concours judges placed it second in the Class C, American Classic category. The Cord is also installed in the National Historic Vehicle Register.

Starting on Thursday, Earhart's Cord will be on display on the National Mall between the National Museum of American History and the Department of Agriculture building. Here's more information on Cars at the Capitol — you may remember when a DeLorean DMC-12 was on display there in 2021, and following the Cord, a classic 1952 Porsche race car will be on display for a week.