1931 Auburn Model 8-98 A

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 A vehicle information

Brougham

The Auburn Company was owned by E.L. Cord, whose Cord Corporation owned a number of companies including Duesenberg, Inc. and Stinson Aircraft.....[continue reading]

1931 Auburn Model 8-98 A vehicle information

Phaeton Sedan

Chassis Num: 10761 H
Engine Num: GU 46684
Gearbox Num: 3M-1-E

Errett Lobban Cord joined Auburn as general manager in 1924. Cord quickly set about restyling the cars, increasing sales, and diverted the company's path away from bankruptcy. In 1925 Cord arranged for Lycoming straight-eight engines to be installed ....[continue reading]

1931 Auburn Model 8-98 A vehicle information

Phaeton Sedan

Failing Auburn initially thrived under the direction of salesman E.M. Cord and the late twenties saw a 1300% sales increase. Convertibles accounted for more than a quarter of the sales and most of their coachwork done as was this one by the Limousine....[continue reading]

1931 Auburn Model 8-98 A vehicle information

Speedster

Chassis Num: 8-98A 16951 E
Engine Num: GU 49732

This Auburn was give its speedster body in the late 1970s by Carl Amsley. It was further restored in the early 1980s in ts present black and silvery livery, accented by red pinstriping, a black convertible top, and a tan leather interior. It was an A....[continue reading]

1931 Auburn Model 8-98 A vehicle information

Phaeton Sedan

In 1931, the Auburn Automobile Company produced 36,148 cars. The 1931 8-98 model is powered by a Lycoming 268.6 cubic-inch straight eight engine, delivering 98 horsepower (thus the 8-98 model) to its 127 inch wheelbase. The convertible Phaeton Sedan ....[continue reading]

1931 Auburn Model 8-98 A vehicle information

Speedster

This Auburn Speedster was acquired from the estate of well-known Minnesota collector Kermit Wilson in 2014. The Custom line 'A' distinguishes it from the Standard line (8-95), as the company wanted to put emphasis on performance.....[continue reading]

Brougham
 
Phaeton Sedan
Chassis #: 10761 H 
Phaeton Sedan
 
Speedster
Chassis #: 8-98A 16951 E 
Phaeton Sedan
 
Speedster
 

Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

1931 Model 8-98 A
$1,395-$18,000
1931 Auburn Model 8-98 A Price Range: $1,145 - $1,395

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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