Sold for $64,900 at 2006 Worldwide Auctioneers. This 1936 Auburn 654 Salon Phaeton finished in two-tone brown with matching saddle tan interior was for sale at the 2006 Worldwide Group Auction held on Hilton Head Island. It was estimated to fetch between $70,000-$90,000. Auburn went out of business in 1936 which means that this example is one of only a few that were produced. It is powered by a 210 cubic-inch six-cylinder engine mated to a three-speed manual gearbox. It has a two-speed rear axle and four-wheel hydraulic brakes with power assist. At the conclusion of the auction the vehicle was sold at a price of $64,900. By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2006
Salon Dual Ratio Phaeton
1936 was Auburn's last year of production. Since 1932, sales had plummeted, and the flagship V-12 models were dropped in favor of a cheaper 6-cylinder line. Even the efforts of master designer Gordon Buehrig, who was brought over from Duesenberg to re-style the entire Auburn catalogue failed to generate sales. Finally in August, under intense scrutiny from both the IRS and SEC, E.L. Cord sold off his automotive holdings, and the marque was discontinued. This attractive 6-cylinder sport phaeton represents the end of the line for Auburn.,
For 1936, the Auburn Company produced two series, the six-cylinder 654 and the eight-cylinder 852. Each series was available in standard, custom and salon trim levels. In addition, there was the supercharged series in the 852 line which included the speedsters. During the course of the 1936 model year, Auburn added additional models to the lineup including an ambulance, a hearse, a limousine and an airport limousine. Even with this broad lineup of vehicles, total sales for the year were a mere 1850 units. With annual losses totaling more than one million dollars, the Cord Corporation, which was the parent company of the Auburn Automobile Company, decided to discontinue the Auburn line.
The Auburn 654 was powered by a 210 cubic-inch in-line six-cylinder Lycoming engine that produces a respective 85 horsepower. The wheelbase measured 120 inches and the Cabriolet bodystyle weighed 3180 pounds. As the least expensive open bodied Auburn, the 654 Cabriolet cost $954. In comparison, a Chevrolet Cabriolet was priced at $595. By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2010
The success of the vehicles and the survival of the company up to this point were due mostly to Erret Lobban Cord. The Auburn Company had come into existence in 1877 producing wagons. In 1903 the direction of the company switched to creating automobiles, their first being a one-cylinder chain-driven runabout. The styling and diversity of the vehicles evolved over the years, as did the mechanical capabilities and technological innovations. The Great Depression had taken its toll on the Auburn Company and was headed to receivership when it was rescued by William Wrigley. Cord was recruited to assume the duties of general manager. This fast-talking, energetic, sales man, though less than thirty years old, was the right man for the job. By applying new paint to a parking lot of excess vehicles, Cord was able to sell over 750 cars in just a few months. This earned him the title of vice president and in 1926 he became president and primary stockholder of the Auburn Company.
Throughout the next few years, the Auburn/Cord Company would experience highs and lows.
By expanding its dealer network and building a reputation through motorsport accomplishments, the Auburn Company was able to sell 20,000 vehicles a year by the close of the 1920's. In 1931, Auburn sold 32,301 vehicles. The Stock Market crash and the onset of the Great Depression meant that for 1933 only 4,636 vehicles were sold to customers. 1934 was also a very disappointing year for the company, selling on 4,703 units.
E.L. Cord made the decision to spend half a million dollars to redesign the entire Auburn model line. This did little to inspire sales so Cord ordered a second redesign, this time under the direction of Gordon Miller Buehrig. This redesign was first seen in June of 1934 as a 1935 model. The most memorable of these new vehicles was the stunning 851 Speedster.
The Auburn 645 was introduced at this time offered as a low-cost alternative powered by a 210 cubic-inch six-cylinder engine. A standard 654 Phaeton would set the buyer back just under $1000. The roll-up windows made the vehicle very practical and suitable for various types of weather. The cabriolet tops was easy to remove taking only a short amount of time to go from closed to open configuration.
the design was elegant and attractive and the price was lower than most other marque's could offer. Unfortunately, Auburn was forced to close its doors in 1936. By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2006
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