1932 Auburn 12-160A

Born from the roots of the Eckhart Carriage Company, Auburn's history dates back to 1904. The early years were prosperous, but by the 1920s, the competition had become fierce and, by 1924, Auburn had fallen on hard times. Errett Loban Cord entered the scene and took the company to the pinnacle of its golden years. It became part of the Auburn, Cord, and Duesenberg family and (without question) produced some of the finest cars of this era. They were not only fast, but they were also elegantly styled and among the very best in American automotive design.

1932 Auburn 12-160A photo
Phaeton Sedan
Chassis #: 1572
Serial #: 12160A 2572 H
View info and history
Auction entries : 2
The Auburn Twelve was produced for 1932 and 1933, with the unsold cars being re-titled and sold into the 1934 model year. It was a bold and daring move for Auburn, as automobile markets sank drastically in the wake of the declining economy. Built by Lycoming (another of Cord Corporation's companies), the twelve-cylinder engine, designed by chief engineer George Kublin, had a narrow 45-degree V-angle engine block and a displacement size of 391.6 cubic inches. The four main bearings supported the crankshaft and two carburetors metered fuel to the engine, one per cylinder bank. The engine offered 160 horsepower, which was the highest specific output per cubic inch of any of Detroit's multi-cylinder engines of the day. It had an ingenious combustion chamber with nearly vertical pockets. A single camshaft located in the engine's V drove the valves' horizontally located stems operated directly by rocker arms riding on the cam. The valves were enclosed in separate castings that could be removed without disturbing the cylinder heads, making service much easier than conventional setups.

To cope with the power produced by the engine, the Auburn was given a rugged X-braced frame with additional front members. Stopping power was courtesy of four-wheel internally-expanding Lockheed drum brakes. They had a newly developed Columbia 2-speed rear-end, effectively giving the car six forward speeds, as well as cockpit adjustable shock absorbers and a Startix system that automatically restarted the engine if it stalled.

The Auburn was stylish, modern, and powerful, built during a difficult period in history. To showcase the ability of the Auburn, factory driver Eddie Miller set 31 American stock car speed records at Muroc Dry Lake in December of 1932 in trials observed by the AAA, including covering 500 miles at an average of 113.57 mph, which was faster than Fred Frame's winning speed at the Indianapolis 500 that year. The car Miller chose to set those records as a 12-160 Speedster. Despite the proven performance and undeniable grace and beauty, the Auburn had a price tag that began at under a thousand dollars, which was less than half the price of a comparable Cadillac V-8 and more than $2,000 below a V-12. In other words - a bargain! However, this tactic was part of its downfall, as buyers wrongly assumed that such a low-priced V-12 could not be worth the price.

Among the memorable body styles was the Speedster, which was the work of Al Leamy, a young designer hired by Cornelius Van Ranst at E.L. Cord's suggestion in 1928. He was initially employed to work on the Duesenberg Model J and Cord Front Drive L-29 before being tasked with creating Auburn's 1931 and 1932 models.

The 1932 Auburn Twelve (12-160) rested on a 132-inch wheelbase and was available as a Speedster, coupe, cabriolet, brougham, sedan, and Phaeton. The 12-160 Coupe had a base price of $975 while the 12-160A sold for $1,105. The 'A' added upgraded options and trim.

by Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2019

Related Reading : Auburn 12 History

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 Ts to include bodywork and engine modifications. He later moved to Chicago, where he went back to selling vehicles.....
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Related Reading : Auburn 12 History

An exceptional value for their day, the Auburn was the least expensive marque in the Cord Empire that also comprised Duesenberg. Priced at %241,250, the Auburn was a spectacular value for a twelve-cylinder automobile. From 1927 to 1938 the AuburnCordDuesenberg Company manufactured hand-built custom vehicles of the highest quality in Auburn Indiana. Rated at 160 horsepower, the 1932 Auburn 12-160A....
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Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

1932 12-160A
1932 Auburn 12-160A Price Range: $1,105 - $1,295

Other 1932 Auburn Models
$805 - $1,005
$975 - $1,275

12-One Sixty

132.00 in.
12 cyl., 391.00 CID., 160.00hp
$1,105 - $1,295
127.01 in., 132.00 in.
12 cyl., 391.00 CID., 160.00hp
$975 - $1,275

Industry Production

1937Chevrolet (815,375)Ford (765,933)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)Brewster (563,921)Chevrolet (551,191)7,770
1933Chevrolet (486,261)Ford (334,969)Plymouth (298,557)
1932Chevrolet (313,404)Ford (210,824)Miller (210,824)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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