Frank and Morris Eckhart of the Eckart Carriage Co. were responsible for founding the Auburn Automobile Company in 1900. By 1903 they produced their first car. The company was hit hard by the postwar depression and was facing insolvency by 1924. Errett Loban Cord arrived in Chicago in 1919 with just $45 to his name. He got a job with the Quinlan Motor Company selling Moon automobiles; quickly rising through the ranks becoming general manager and ultimately buying stock.
With $100,000 in his pocket, he was hired at Auburn as general manager, where he purchased a controlling interest in the company. By 1926 he became president of Auburn, bought the famous Duesenberg marque as his crowning jewel, and hired a 25-year-old designer named Alan Leamy. Leamy penned the Speedster body style for Duesenberg, but the design was used on the Auburn chassis instead.
The first-generation Auburn Speedster was built in 1928 as a low-volume promotional model. Auburn used two different 8-cylinder Lycoming engines, one rated at 88 horsepower and the other at 115 horsepower, to power two models, the 8-88 and the 8-115. The Speedster's distinctive boattail design is attributed to Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky, a pioneer of streamlining, and to Alan Leamy, the Cord L-29 designer. The McFarlan coachwork features dual golf club doors, dual side-mounted spare tires and a removable fabric top. This car came from an estate in New Jersey where it had been stored since 1945. It is identical to the famous Speedster that Wade Morton drove on February 20, 1928 at Daytona Beach, Florida, setting a production car record of 104.347 mph. That same day Sir Malcolm Campbell set the land speed record at 206.956 mph in his 900 horsepower Bluebird. Campbell soon became one of the few Auburn Speedster owners in England.
This restored Speedster is one of 253 produced. It was in storage from 1945-2014 in New Jersey, though its first owner was from Oklahoma City.