1931 Auburn Model 8-98

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 driver's control.

The styling was performed by either Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky or possibly Al Leamy. Al Leamy was a recent addition to the Auburn staff and would become famous in the years to come, with the design of the L-29 Cord automobile.

The Speedster models were very elegant and eye-catching. They featured hood louvers, a raked windshield, twin side-mounted spares, and a boattail rear-end.

The Model 8's were given a wide-ratio three-speed gearbox and rested on either a 125- or 130-inch wheelbase, depending on the model. The 8-115 had the larger size.

1929 brought few changes to the Speedsters; they were now known as the 8-90 and the 8-120. The naming scheme varied slightly from prior years, as horsepower was not rated at 96 and 125 respectively, but the names did not necessarily match. This increase in power was due to a change in the fuel system.

1929 was a great year for the Auburn 8 Models, and enjoyed record sales numbers. The company chose to make minimal changes for the following year, as the cars were selling well and most of their attention was diverted to the upcoming front-wheel drive Cord models.

In 1930 horsepower again improved, now rated at 100 for the smaller eight. The name 'Speedster' no longer appeared as part of the Model 8 name. It would re-appear the following year (In 1931), as the company wanted to put emphasis on performance.

The larger eight-cylinder engine was dropped, as was both of the six-cylinder engines. The 8-95 Model was bored-out to 268.6 cubic-inches and brought about the 8-98 model (and featured 98 horsepower). It was available in either Standard or Custom guise. The Custom line had an 'A' in the name to help distinguish it from the Standard line (appearing as 8-98A) and featured a free-wheeling, heavy, X-braced frame. Other options included dual-ratio rear axle, wire wheels, upgraded interior in hardware and fabric, and extra moldings.

Thanks in part to the onset of the Great Depression, the 8-98 sold for $350 less than the prior 8-95 Sedan of the 1930s. The Sedan sold for $995 while the Speedster for $945. Some experts say that the construction was not as solid as prior years, plus the Lockheed Hydraulics were replaced by Midland 'Steel-draulic' mechanical brakes. Still, Fortune reported the Auburn Model 8's as 'the biggest package in the world for the price.'

In 1932, the Styling remained mostly unchaged; mechanically, things were different. A new Startix automatic starter was added; Custom models were fitted with Delco ride regulations which were shock absorbers that were adjustable from the driver's compartment. This allowed a softer or firmer ride depending on the drivers needs at the time. Custom models also were given a vacuum-controlled two-speed axle known as Dual Ratio. This also gave drivers the freedom of selecting a 4.54:1 or 3.00:1 gear ratio. The 4.54 offered better performance while the 3.00:1 had better economy.

The Free-wheeling option, which had previously cost $85, was now standard on both the Custom and Standard models.

With all these mechanical improvements to the vehicle, it was amazing that prices continued to decrease. The Speedster sold for $845, a full $100 from the previous year.

In 1933, a Salon version was added to both the 8- and 12-cylinder series.


By Daniel Vaughan | Jun 2008

1931 Vehicle Profiles

1931 Auburn Model 8-98 vehicle information

Boattail Speedster

Auburn was one of the few automobiles to see higher sales after the 1929 Wall Street crash. The 1931 model-year production zoomed to a record 36,148 on the strength of more dealers and a fleet of luxurious, bargain-priced Eights. Reflecting Auburn ....[continue reading]

1931 Auburn Model 8-98 vehicle information

Boattail Speedster

Chassis Num: 898

Charles Eckhart established the Eckhart Carriage Company in Auburn, Indiana in 1874. His sons Frank and Morris built their first tiller-steered runabout in 1900 and formed the Auburn Automobile Company to build it. By 1905, twin-cylinder models wer....[continue reading]

1931 Auburn Model 8-98 vehicle information

Brougham

The Auburn 8-98 in 1931 featured an engine by Lycoming that produced 98 horsepower. There were only 945 Broughams produced in 1931, the first 'Center-X' bracing ever offered in a rear drive car. The car came equipped with Lovejoy hydraulic shock ab....[continue reading]

1931 Auburn Model 8-98 vehicle information

Boattail Speedster

It's safe to say that Indy and Auburn are never linked in word association games. Nevertheless, an Auburn did run in the 500-mile classic and inspired Chad Caldwell to create this modern replica. The inspiration - an Auburn modified for the 1930 race....[continue reading]

Boattail Speedster
 
Boattail Speedster
Chassis #: 898 
Brougham
 
Boattail Speedster
 

Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

1931 Model 8-98
$1,195-$18,000
1931 Auburn Model 8-98 Price Range: $945 - $1,195

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Auburn
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
1926Ford (1,669,847)Chevrolet (547,724)Buick (266,753)7,138

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