1934 Auburn 1250 TwelveA
t 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 | Aug 2011
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Chassis Num: 1122E
Engine Num: BB 2530
This Auburn Twelve Salon Speedster was part of the Malcolm S. Pray Jr. Collection. It has Alan Leamy's 'boattail' styling which features chrome trim, unique headlamps, a unique dashboard, and the Salon 'ribbon' bumpers. It is believed that only nine ....[continue reading]
Chassis Num: 1201 F
Engine Num: BB 2219
Auburn produced approximately twenty-seven examples of their Model 1250 Cabriolet, and just five are known to survive. This example is believed to have been delivered in California and had its windshield shortened and top modified to the present conf....[continue reading]
Chassis Num: 1250 1064 H
Engine Num: BB 2481 U
Auburn's 12-cylinder Salon models were launched for 1933 in hopes of boosting sales of the Auburn Twelve. The Salon Twelve had many unique features including a vee'd grille, unique headlamp lenses, fenders edged in chrome, and 'ribbon' bumpers. It wa....[continue reading]
Some of the greatest American automobiles ever produced were sparked by the Great Depression. Among them were Auburn's 12-cylinder Salon models launched in 1933. This was a desperate attempt to improve sales of the slow-selling Auburn Twelve. The Sal....[continue reading]
Chassis #: 1122E
Chassis #: 1201 F
Chassis #: 1250 1064 H