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Auburn History

1935 Auburn Model 851

Chassis number : 33826 F

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Sold for $220,000 at 2014 RM Auctions - Hershey.
Sold for $132,320 (€117,500) at 2019 RM Sothebys : Essen.
Founded in Auburn, Indiana, the Eckhart Carriage Company would open its doors for business in 1874. Just 50 years later, what would become Auburn Automobile Company would be in the midst of hard economic times. Enter Errett Lobban Cord. Still utilizing the Auburn name, Cord's team would turn the struggling company into one of the most imaginary of its day. Even to the point when production ceased in 1937, the Cord and Auburn remained a striking representation of the future.

The popularity of Auburn, especially its Speedster would be unchallenged. There was absolutely no doubt Alan Leamy and Gordon Buehrig had turned the struggling Auburn Automobile Company into a portal into the future. Unfortunately, the future was being gripped too tightly by the present. And the present was an ever-deepening depression. Artistic style didn't translate into automobiles sold when priced out of reach for those barely able to keep the lights on and food on the table. Auburn, and Cord for that matter, were in decline.

Despite the downward trend of the company, nobody could accuse Auburn for not trying, and for not going down without a fight. The simple fact of the matter was Cord and his team were willing to fight tooth and nail for their kind of automobile. Unfortunately, the economy and some questionable business decisions would prove the greater combatant.

Fearlessness and elegance would have to be two adjectives used to describe Auburn throughout the 1930s. In spite of the company's struggles, perhaps its greatest works of art would come rolling out of the factory in Indiana.

Auburn had its clientele. Such designs as the Boattail Speedster and the Cabriolet would be instant hits with the Hollywood elite. Unfortunately, there wouldn't be enough of the Hollywood elite to keep the company afloat; had there been it is nigh on impossible to tell what might have been.

Radical met elegance; aggressiveness met simple and laid-back. This was never more true than with its supercharged Eight Cabriolet.

By 1934, Auburn's decline was in full motion. There had been strong signs in the first couple of years after that tragic Black Tuesday, but they would be gone by the end of 1933. So too would Al Leamy. He would leave amidst some controversy, leaving just Buehrig and his team to help right the ship.

Leamy had helped before he left the company. He had produced some new designs and Buehrig would concentrate on ways of making them better following Al's departure. Having partnered with Duesenberg in the past, Leamy's design would borrow some of its lines from Duesenberg models.

The tall, narrow nose and sloping, wide rear end would be simply elegant and straight-forward. The drooping front fender and small touches of chrome would all be touches of design genius from Buehrig. But it wouldn't end there. Buehrig would take the appealing aerodynamic look achieved by the grill and fender and would design beautifully-arching pontoon-style fenders out over the front fenders. The whole concept would appear both at speed and at rest at the same time.

While Auburn's design team were busy creating artistic masterpieces in which to contain the engine and the rest of the chassis, Augie Duesenberg and Pearl Watson would be busy producing magic joining together a Lycoming straight-eight engine, its innovative planetary drive system and a Schwitzer-Cummins centrifugal supercharger.

Producing 150 heart-thumping horsepower, the L-head eight-cylinder engine was the engine offered in the Boattail Speedster. However, in an attempt to improve the numbers on the ledger, the supercharged eight-cylinder would be made available for the 851 and 851 lines of automobiles. This meant the aggressively-elegant cabriolet qualified.

One of those Series 851 Cabriolets that would get the powerful eight-cylinder engines would be chassis 33826 F. Offered for sale in 1935, Auburn was just a couple of years away from closing its doors when this particular example rolled out of the factory.

Unlike many in existence, this is a true cabriolet and would be one of the draws for Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club member Jim Miller. Miller lived in Baden, Ontario and would be quite well known for what was called his Blackhawk Collection. Over a decade ago, the current owner, another Auburn Cord Duesenberg member, would purchase the Auburn. He would quickly turn his attentions to restoring and refinishing the car in a manner that would be certainly befitting of the look of the supercharged cabriolet, but also, in a manner that would befit having been a member of the Blackhawk Collection.

Trimmed with rich red leather interior, the cabriolet would be refinished with the same color red serving as accent trim to a striking black livery. The chrome grille and accents would pop against the background and other such details, including the 'Auburn' name over the covers only add to the compelling look.

A winner of numerous awards and trophies in local and regional events, it is easy to perceive why Auburn's best days should have been before them. Instead, all we are left with are their interpretations of the future—sleek, romantic and bewitching.

Offered through RM Auctions' Hershey event, the 1935 Auburn Eight Supercharged Cabriolet would earn a sale price of $220,000.

By Jeremy McMullen

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2019 RM Sothebys : Essen

Pre-Auction Estimates :
€140,000-€180,000 
Sale Price :
USD $132,320 (€117,500.00)

2014 RM Auctions - Hershey

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $150,000-USD $200,000 
Sale Price :
USD $220,000

1935 Auburn Model 851 Auction Sales

Recent Sales of the Auburn Model 851

(Data based on Model Year 1935 sales)
1935 Auburn 851 Supercharged Cabriolet Conversion
Chassis#: 2539M
Sold for USD$72,000
  2022 RM Sothebys : Fort Lauderdale
 
1935 Auburn Eight Supercharged Speedster
Chassis#: 851 33734 E
Sold for USD$891,000
  2021 RM Sothebys : Hershey
1935 Auburn Model 851 image  1935 Auburn Model 851 image  
1935 AUBURN 851 CUSTOM CABRIOLET
Chassis#: 33141M
Sold for USD$82,500
  2021 Barrett-Jackson : Las Vegas
 
1935 AUBURN 851 SUPERCHARGED BOATTAIL SPEEDSTER
Chassis#: 2094
Sold for USD$456,000
  2021 Bonhams : Amelia Island Auction
1935 Auburn Model 851 image  1935 Auburn Model 851 image  
1935 Auburn Eight Supercharged Speedster
Chassis#: 851 33175 E
Sold for USD$802,500
  2020 RM Sothebys : The Elkhart Collection
 
1935 Auburn 851 SC Boattail Speedster
Chassis#: GH3669
Sold for USD$1,072,500
  2020 Worldwide Auctioneers : The Auburn Auction
 
1935 Auburn Eight Supercharged Speedster
Chassis#: 2219
Sold for USD$770,000
  2020 RM Sothebys : Auburn Fall Auction
 
1935 Auburn 851SC Boattail Speedster
Sold for USD$440,000
  2020 Mecum Auctions : Kissimmee
 
1935 Auburn 851 Supercharged Sport Coupe
Chassis#: 32980M
Sold for USD$101,200
  2019 Mecum : Monterey
1935 Auburn Model 851 image  1935 Auburn Model 851 image  
1935 Auburn 851 SC Boattail Speedster
Chassis#: GH4438
Sold for USD$742,500
  2019 Mecum : Monterey
 
1935 Auburn Eight Custom Cabriolet
Chassis#: 2311
Sold for USD$84,000
  2019 RM Sothebys : The Guyton Collection
1935 Auburn Model 851 image  1935 Auburn Model 851 image  
1935 Auburn Eight Supercharged Cabriolet
Chassis#: 33326 F
Sold for USD$132,320
  2019 RM Sothebys : Essen
1935 Auburn Model 851 image  
1935 Auburn Eight Custom Speedster
Chassis#: 1988
Sold for USD$544,000
  2019 RM Sothebys : Amelia Island
1935 Auburn Model 851 image  1935 Auburn Model 851 image  
1935 Auburn Eight Supercharged Phaeton
Chassis#: 851 33161 H
Sold for USD$100,800
  2019 RM Sothebys : Amelia Island
1935 Auburn Model 851 image  1935 Auburn Model 851 image  
1935 Auburn 851 SC Boattail Speedster
Chassis#: 33807E
Sold for USD$632,500
  2019 Worldwide Auctioneers : Scottsdale, Arizona
 
1935 Auburn 851 SC Boattail Speedster
Chassis#: 3-2369-E
Sold for USD$687,500
  2019 Worldwide Auctioneers : Scottsdale, Arizona
 
1935 Auburn 851 SC Boattail Speedster
Chassis#: 33212E
Sold for USD$1,012,000
  2018 Gooding & Company : Pebble Beach
 
1935 Auburn Eight Supercharged Speedster
Chassis#: 851 33175 E
Sold for USD$769,500
  2018 RM Sothebys : Scottsdale, Az.
 
1935 Auburn 851 Cabriolet
Chassis#: GG3568
Sold for USD$99,000
  2018 Worldwide Auctioneers : Scottsdale
 
1935 AUBURN 851 SC PHAETON
Chassis#: 0R32585H
Sold for USD$112,750
  2017 Dragone Lime Rock Park
 

Auburn Model 851s That Failed To Sell At Auction

1935 Auburn Model 851's that have appeared at auction but did not sell.
VehicleChassisEventHigh BidEst. LowEst. High
1935 Auburn 851SC Boattail Speedster33220E2022 Mecum Indy$900,000  
1935 Auburn 851 Supercharged Boat-tail Speedster33515E2019 Bonhams : The Bond Street Sale $650,000$750,000
1935 AUBURN 851 CABRIOLET6G35682017 Premier Auction Group$90,000  
1935 Auburn CS 851 Supercharged Phaeton0R32585H2016 Dragone : The Boston Cup Auction $150,000$180,000
1935 Auburn 851 Cabriolet 2016 Gulf Coast Classic Punta Gorda, Fl$77,000  
1935 Auburn 851 Cabriolet 2016 Amelia Island Select : Hollywood Wheels   
1935 Auburn 851 Supercharged Phaeton Seda 2015 Auctions America Auburn Fall$67,500  
1935 Auburn 851 Supercharged Cabriolet 2014 Auctions America Auburn Fall$90,000  
1935 Auburn 851 SC Cabriolet33891F2013 Worldwide Auctions Auburn $175,000$200,000
1935 Auburn Speedster8465522013 Silver Auction Coeur d'Alene$36,000  
1935 Auburn 851 Convertible Sedan 2012 Auctions America Auburn Fall$80,000  
1935 AUBURN 851 2010 Silver Auction Puyallup$137,500  
1935 Auburn Boattail Speedster 2009 Mecum St. Charles Auction$350,000  
1935 Auburn Boattail 2009 Mecum Monterey Auction$390,000  
1935 Auburn 85133891M2009 Worldwide Auctioneers : The Houston Classic Auction$130,000$160,000$180,000
1935 Auburn 851 2009 Automobiles of Amelia Island$45,000$80,000$100,000
1935 Auburn 851 Phaeton 2008 Vintage Motor Cars of Hershey by RM Auctions$65,000$80,000$100,000
1935 Auburn 851SC 2008 Leake Auctions Tulsa 36th Annual QuikTrip Center$185,000  
1935 AUBURN MODEL 85119502007 Palm Springs Exotic Car Auctions November 18, 2007$57,500  
1935 Auburn 851 Supercharged Speedster 2006 Gooding & Company Pebble Beach Auction $350,000$425,000
1935 AUBURN BOATTAIL SPEEDSTER 2001 Kruse Auction Auburn, IN$26,000  

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