1936 Auburn 852

The Auburn Automobile Company was established in 1903 and by 1931, was the 13th largest American automaker. As the Great Depression continued, sales fell drastically in 1932 and 1933.

Errett Loban Cord took over the unprofitable company from a group of investors in 1924 and revitalized sales simply by repainting the unsold cars in brighter colors. After the Auburn business stabilized, Cord expanded his empire with some of the most expensive and prestigious cars the world would ever know. Among the creations were the Cord L-29, Duesenberg Model J, and the streamlined Auburn 851 Speedster of 1935.

Auburn handed the leadership of Auburn to Duesenberg president Harold T. Ames, who brought Gordon Buehrig along with him to help update Auburn's existing model lineup and design a car that would lure customers into the showrooms and improve sales. Buehrig and his design crew made a few styling updates while also maintaining some of the original work of Alan Leamy's designs. The result was the Auburn 851 Speedster that was designated as the 851 SC for 1935. It was given a long and low appearance with a sharply angled grille flanked by bullet-styled headlamps, 'vee'd' front bumper, pontoon-style fenders, boattail rear end, and an angled V-windshield. There were flexible exhaust pipes that existed through the driver's side and down under the car. The effect had been used successfully on the supercharged Duesenberg Model J and it was equally as successful on the Speedster.

Power was from a Lycoming straight-eight engine and when paired with a Schwitzer-Cummins centrifugal supercharger designed by Kurt Beier, the 115 horsepower output rose to 150 bhp. The supercharger option added $250-325 to the price of an eight-cylinder Auburn, about $9/horsepower. The engine was backed by a Columbia dual-ratio two-speed rear axle which offered six forward speeds, lower gearing for quicker acceleration, and a higher final drive ratio for improved top speed. Famed racecar driver Ab Jenkins became the first American to average a speed of over 100 mph for 12 hours in a factory stock 851 SC Speedster. All Speedsters that followed wore a dash plaque engraved with Ab Jenkins' signature. The new Auburn Speedster sold for $2,245 when a new Ford could be had for just $560. Even at this price, Auburn lost money on each example sold. For 1936, the Speedster became the 852 SC and very few were built.

The Auburn offered good performance and great styling at a reasonable price, yet the effects of the Great Depression continued to wreak havoc. This fact, coupled with management turmoil and E.L. Cord's complex business affair led to the company's demise in 1937.


by Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2019

Related Reading : Auburn 850 Series History

The success of the vehicles and the survival of the company up to this point were due mostly to Erret Lobban Cord. The Auburn Company had come into existence in 1877 producing wagons. In 1903 the direction of the company switched to creating automobiles, their first being a one-cylinder chain-driven runabout. The styling and diversity of the vehicles evolved over the years, as did the mechanical capabilities....
Continue Reading >>

1936 Vehicle Profiles

1936 Auburn 852 vehicle information

Supercharged Dual Ratio Speedster
Designer: Gordon Buehrig

Priced at $2,245, the elegant Auburn Speedster marketed in 1935-1936 was a 'loss leader' intended to stimulate showroom traffic. The Auburn Speedster was a two-seat roadster introduced in 1928. After Auburn discontinued its V12 models, Gordon Buehrig....[continue reading]

1936 Auburn 852 vehicle information

Supercharged Dual Ratio Speedster
Designer: Gordon Buehrig

Chassis Num: 2914E

The Auburgn 851/852 vehicles were stunning. With Ab Jenkins behind the wheel, a 851 Speedster traveled at 100 mpg average speed for 12 hours making him the first American to this endurance record. In commemoration of this accomplishment, each vehic....[continue reading]

1936 Auburn 852 vehicle information

Supercharged Dual Ratio Speedster
Designer: Gordon Buehrig

Chassis Num: 852-34631E
Engine Num: GH4742

This 1936 Auburn Model 852 Straight Eight Supercharged 'Boattail' Speedster was offered for sale at the 2007 Christie's auction of 'Exceptional Motor Cars at the Monterey Jet Center.' It has a turquoise exterior with beige leather interior. It is p....[continue reading]

1936 Auburn 852 vehicle information

Supercharged Dual Ratio Cabriolet

Chassis Num: 35872F
Engine Num: GH 5615

This 1936 Auburn 852SC Cabriolet was in a prominent Texas collection for many years where it was well maintained and cared for. The current owner purchased the car in 2004 and brought it to auction in 2008. It has recently been repainted and given ....[continue reading]

1936 Auburn 852 vehicle information

Supercharged Dual Ratio Speedster
Designer: Gordon Buehrig

Chassis Num: 5266

Ab Jenkins took an Auburn to the Bonneville salt flats in July of 1935 where he set 70 records including posting a flying mile at 104.17 mph, 1,000 miles at 102.77 mph, and averaging 102.9 mph for 12 hours. In recognition of this accomplishment, Aub....[continue reading]

1936 Auburn 852 vehicle information

Supercharged Dual Ratio Phaeton Sedan

The 1936 Auburn 852 Phaeton was powered by an inline Lycoming eight-cylinder engine. Fitted with a supercharger, this motor is capable of producing 150 horsepower. The wheelbase measures 127 inches. The supercharged phaeton was priced at $1725.....[continue reading]

1936 Auburn 852 vehicle information

Supercharged Dual Ratio Cabriolet

1936 was the final year for production of the Auburn Automobile. The company went out with style building memorable classics such as this right hand drive, supercharged Cabriolet. This example was built for export to England, and is fitted with Europ....[continue reading]

1936 Auburn 852 vehicle information

Supercharged Dual Ratio Cabriolet

Chassis Num: 35757F

This example is one of about 13 852SC Cabriolets remaining, and it is equipped with the supercharged engine, Philco radio and Columbia two-speed axle. It has had a full nut-and-bolt restoration in the fall of 2003. The exterior is finished in a shade....[continue reading]

1936 Auburn 852 vehicle information

Supercharged Dual Ratio Speedster
Designer: Gordon Buehrig

Launched at the beginning of 1935, the Auburn 851 was made famous by Ab Jenkins who completed a 12-hour drive averaging over 100 mph in a completely stock Supercharged Speedster. To commemorate this record all Supercharged Speedsters had a plaque mou....[continue reading]

1936 Auburn 852 vehicle information

Supercharged Dual Ratio Speedster
Designer: Gordon Buehrig

Chassis Num: 33914E

In spite of the lingering effects of the Great Depression that gripped the United States and most of the world car designers continued to find inspiration and hope and produced some of the most memorable and remarkable custom coachwork. This wasn't j....[continue reading]

1936 Auburn 852 vehicle information

Supercharged Dual Ratio Speedster
Designer: Gordon Buehrig

Auburn's last series of Speedsters were the famous 851/852 models, sold in 1935 and 1936 respectively. Approximately 600 of both were produced with an original price of $2,245. Designer Gordon Buehrig had taken over from Alan Leamy and made provocati....[continue reading]

1936 Auburn 852 vehicle information

Supercharged Dual Ratio Cabriolet

In 1936, the Auburn sales brochure proudly stated 'In addition to their superlative performance, these new Auburn cars provide exceptionally luxurious roominess and comfort.' ....[continue reading]

1936 Auburn 852 vehicle information

Supercharged Dual Ratio Speedster
Designer: Gordon Buehrig

Launched the same year as the 4.5-liter 'Blower' Bentley, Auburn's Model 88 Speedster was the first of a line of fast touring cars that culminated with this Auburn 852 Speedster in 1936. The 852 speedster has the same straight-8 engine as other Aubur....[continue reading]

1936 Auburn 852 vehicle information

Supercharged Dual Ratio Speedster
Designer: Gordon Buehrig

Chassis Num: 852 35209 E
Engine Num: GH 5349

This Auburn Eight Supercharged Speedsters one of about 150 authentic speedster produced. It was once owned by Ted Billing, and later hidden away for many years in the Connecticut collection of David Tunick, before its sale in 2005 to James Foght of I....[continue reading]

1936 Auburn 852 vehicle information

Custon Dual Ratio Phaeton Sedan

Chassis Num: 852 4688 H
Engine Num: GG 3221

This particular example is a 1936 Auburn Eight Custom Phaeton Sedan. The current caretaker acquired it from Gene Morocco of Machesney Park, Illinois. Mr. Morocco had owned the car since 1972, when he acquired it from the family of the original owner ....[continue reading]

1936 Auburn 852 vehicle information

Supercharged Dual Ratio Speedster
Designer: Gordon Buehrig

The 852 Speedster with its lightweight coachwork and 150 horsepower engine could top 100mph. Each car was sold with a dash plaque emblazoned with the signature of the great racer Ab Jenkins proclaiming its performance.....[continue reading]

1936 Auburn 852 vehicle information

Custon Dual Ratio Phaeton Sedan

The 1935 (851) and 1936 (852) Phaetons were virtually identical except for the name plate. They were designed by Gordon Buehrig, who was also responsible for designing the 810/812 Cords. A total of 651 model 851 and 852 Custom Phaetons were produced ....[continue reading]

1936 Auburn 852 vehicle information

Supercharged Labourdette Convertible Victoria
Coachwork: Henri Labourdette

This unique Model 852 Supercharged Convertible was rebodied when new by the Parisian coachbuilder Jean-Henri Labourdette, who widened the original Gordon Buehrig-designed rear quarters and recessed the spare tire into the trunk lid. The original runn....[continue reading]

1936 Auburn 852 vehicle information

Supercharged Dual Ratio Speedster
Designer: Gordon Buehrig

The 1936 Auburn Speedsters were designed by Gordon Buehrig and were considered audacious even by the standards of their time. They featured curvaceous bodywork and a straight hood line from the radiator to a vee'd windshield, descending to a graceful....[continue reading]

Supercharged Dual Ratio Speedster
 
Supercharged Dual Ratio Speedster
Chassis #: 2914E 
Supercharged Dual Ratio Speedster
Chassis #: 852-34631E 
Supercharged Dual Ratio Cabriolet
Chassis #: 35872F 
Supercharged Dual Ratio Speedster
Chassis #: 5266 
Supercharged Dual Ratio Phaeton Sedan
 
Supercharged Dual Ratio Cabriolet
 
Supercharged Dual Ratio Cabriolet
Chassis #: 35757F 
Supercharged Dual Ratio Speedster
 
Supercharged Dual Ratio Speedster
Chassis #: 33914E 
Supercharged Dual Ratio Speedster
 
Supercharged Dual Ratio Cabriolet
 
Supercharged Dual Ratio Speedster
 
Supercharged Dual Ratio Speedster
Chassis #: 852 35209 E 
Custon Dual Ratio Phaeton Sedan
Chassis #: 852 4688 H 
Supercharged Dual Ratio Speedster
 
Custon Dual Ratio Phaeton Sedan
 
Supercharged Labourdette Convertible Victoria by Henri Labourdette
 
Supercharged Dual Ratio Speedster
 


Concepts by Auburn

Similarly Priced Vehicles



Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

1936 852
$2,245-$6,800
1936 Auburn 852 Price Range: $188 - $2,245

$745 - $1,182

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Auburn
1941Chevrolet (1,008,976)Ford (691,455)Plymouth (522,080)
1940Chevrolet (764,616)Ford (541,896)Plymouth (430,208)
1939Chevrolet (577,278)Ford (487,031)Plymouth (423,850)
1938Chevrolet (465,158)Ford (410,263)Plymouth (285,704)
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

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