1932 Auburn 8-100A

At the tender age of fifteen Errett Lobban Cord, commonly known as E.L. Cord, left school in pursuit of a job as a car salesman. After a successful stint in that profession he began working as a mechanic in a service station located in Los Angeles. This led to modifying his Model T's to include bodywork and engine modifications. He later moved to Chicago where he went back to selling vehicles. He moved to Milwaukee where he opened his own car distributor company and by 1924 was looking to purchase his own manufacturing company.

When the Auburn Automobile Company prompted him with an offer Cord a top level management position, he accepted but under conditions. He demanded that he be given 20% of the profits and complete control of the company. He also stated that he wanted the option to buy the company once it recovered. The partners, at this point, were on the verge of bankruptcy, so they accepted the offer.

Cord had a profound knowledge of marketing and was very business savvy. During his career he purchased Duesenberg, cab companies, Aircraft Company, and a New York shipyard. By 1932 he purchased controlling interests in the Aviation Corp, which later became American Airways and is currently known as American Airlines.

His fortunes turned during the mid-1930's as the stock market crashed and the Great Depression brought many of his business to a bitter end.

The Auburn Company had turned a considerable profit during the 1920s but keeping up with the changing market was difficult. The cylinder wars of the early 1930s sent many companies struggling to keep up with the changing technology and mechanical advancements. Auburn answered this challenge in 1932 with the creation of their twelve-cylinder engine in 'Vee' configuration. To stimulate even more interest, the 12-160A was offered at an incredibly low price, at just under a thousand dollars. At that price it has remained in history as the lowest 12-cylinder vehicle ever produced. Many people feared that the quality of the engine or the vehicle was reflective of the price. This mindset backfired and as a result did not sell as well as intended. By years end the company had lost more than a million dollars.

The 6.5-liter Lycoming engine produced a respectable 160 horsepower and enough torque to propel the vehicle to around 100 mph. One of the most ingenious components of the vehicle was the 'Dual Ratio' differential which was operated by a dashboard lever. There were high and low ratios available for each of the three gears which improved fuel and oil consumption. The end result was less strain and wear-and-tare on the engine.

Cord had encountered problems with the Securities and Exchange Commission and fled to England in 1933. Harold Ames was left in control, though times were difficult since production had fallen nearly 85%. The 12-161A was introduced in 1933 though never achieved the desired success. The Great depression, struggling economy, and near-bankrupt company were part of the problems.

The Auburn 12-160A Speedster body was the most exclusive of the offering. With its low price tag, the vehicles were a bargain. Tough times and consumer fears were its ultimate demise and its potential was never realized.


by Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2006

Related Reading : Auburn 8-100 History

In 1932 a total of 11,347 Auburns were shipped from their factory. Sometimes referred to as a ‘Baby Duesenberg, the Model 8-100A Auburn is a masterpiece of automotive design excellence. Auburn strove to provide a stylish and innovative automobile to the public at an affordable price. Despite the depression, the talent of designers Gordon Buehrig and Alan Leamy inspired the designs of E.L.....
Continue Reading >>

Related Reading : Auburn Model 8 History

In 1928 Auburn introduced two Lycoming-powered eight-cylinder engines, one rated at 88 horsepower and the other at 115 horsepower. These became the bases for the 8-88 Model and the 8-115 Model their designation obviously in reference to the engine. These new models were given hydraulic drum brakes to aid in stopping power and to help keep the Speedsters in the drivers control. The styling....
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1932 Vehicle Profiles

1932 Auburn 8-100A vehicle information

Speedster
Coachwork: Union City

Founded in 1902, the Auburn Automobile Company got its start making single-cylinder runabouts. E.L. Cord gained control of the company in 1924, adding Duesenberg in 1926 and Cord in 1929 to the product line. A victim of the Great Depression, Auburn c....[continue reading]

1932 Auburn 8-100A vehicle information

Speedster
Coachwork: Union City

The Auburn Speedster was Errett Lobban Cord's attempt to combine performance and style to boost sales at a difficult time for the motor industry. Cord designer Al Leamy and streamlining expert Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky produced one of the most stun....[continue reading]

1932 Auburn 8-100A vehicle information

Speedster
Coachwork: Union City

Auburn built various Speedster models through the years. Designed by Alan Leamy, whose other works included the Cord L-29, production of 8-100s spanned from 1928 through 1936, though none were built in 1930 or 1934. Auburn built only about 75 Speedst....[continue reading]

1932 Auburn 8-100A vehicle information

Speedster
Coachwork: Union City

The Auburn Automobile Company announced the re-introduction of the Speedster on October 26th of 1931. It was styled and designed by Alan H. Leamy and would set Auburn apart as being the only company that was building speedster in mass quantity at tha....[continue reading]

1932 Auburn 8-100A vehicle information

Cabriolet
Coachwork: Central Manufacturing Company

In the 1920's, E.L. Cord was very involved in the automobile industry. So much so, that he really wanted to own or direct a manufacturing company. He got his chance in 1924 when the Auburn Automobile company offered him a top level management positio....[continue reading]

1932 Auburn 8-100A vehicle information

Phaeton Sedan

The Auburn Automobile company had been in business for many years. E.L. Cord, who wanted to own or direct a manufacturing company, got his chance in 1924 when the Auburn Automobile company offered him a top level management position. Cord understood ....[continue reading]

1932 Auburn 8-100A vehicle information

Speedster
Coachwork: Union City

Chassis Num: 9288E

Auburn built various Speedster models through the years. They were also the only maker to produce speedster style bodies in significant quantities. Designed by Alan Leamy, they spanned the years from 1928 through 1936 with no models built in 1930 or ....[continue reading]

1932 Auburn 8-100A vehicle information

Phaeton Sedan

A previous owner purchased this car in 1962 and after a couple of decades, began a 4-year ground-up restoration.....[continue reading]

1932 Auburn 8-100A vehicle information

Phaeton Sedan

This 1932 Auburn is powered by a Lycoming 8-100A, straight-8 engine. It is a four-door Delux Sedan with a body courtesy of Central Manufacturing Company. It has been certified by the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club. The current owner is the second in ....[continue reading]

1932 Auburn 8-100A vehicle information

Phaeton Sedan

Engine Num: GU74989

This Phaeton is finished in dark blue with burgundy accents and has been given a professional level restoration several decades ago. It has been used rather sparingly. It is trimmed with oxblood finished leather seats and a dark blue soft top. There ....[continue reading]

1932 Auburn 8-100A vehicle information

Speedster
Coachwork: Union City

Engine Num: GU58054

This boattail speedster is mounted on a restored chassis. It has its original steel radiator shell, hood and firewall from the cowl back. The body and fenders were created with reinforced layers of fiberglass. It has its original engine, fitted with ....[continue reading]

1932 Auburn 8-100A vehicle information

Phaeton Sedan

Chassis Num: GU73404

Unlike sister companies Cord and Duesenberg, named for their founders, the Auburn title came from its Indiana home and had begun in the 19th century as a buggy business.....[continue reading]

Speedster by Union City
 
Speedster by Union City
 
Speedster by Union City
 
Speedster by Union City
 
Cabriolet by Central Manufacturing Company
 
Phaeton Sedan
 
Speedster by Union City
Chassis #: 9288E 
Phaeton Sedan
 
Phaeton Sedan
 
Phaeton Sedan
 
Speedster by Union City
 
Phaeton Sedan
Chassis #: GU73404 

Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

1932 8-100A
$1,005-$8,125
1932 Auburn 8-100A Price Range: $805 - $1,005

$975 - $1,275
$1,105 - $1,295

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Auburn
1937Ford (942,005)Chevrolet (815,375)Plymouth (566,128)
1936Ford (930,778)Chevrolet (918,278)Plymouth (520,025)1,263
1935Ford (820,253)Chevrolet (548,215)Plymouth (350,884)6,316
1934Ford (563,921)Chevrolet (551,191)Plymouth (321,171)7,770
1933Chevrolet (486,261)Ford (334,969)Plymouth (298,557)
1932Chevrolet (313,404)Ford (210,824)Plymouth (186,106)11,347
1931Chevrolet (619,554)Ford (615,455)Buick (138,965)34,228
1930Ford (1,140,710)Chevrolet (640,980)Buick (181,743)12,985
1929Ford (1,507,132)Chevrolet (1,328,605)Buick (196,104)23,509
1928Chevrolet (1,193,212)Ford (607,592)Willys Knight (231,360)12,899
1927Chevrolet (1,001,820)Ford (367,213)Buick (255,160)14,515

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