Auburn 654

Auburn 654
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