Auburn introduced a redesigned line of cars in 1934. Al Leamy created the design of the 850Y. This marked a transition from the boxy 1920s cars to the more streamlined late 1930s cars. Some Art Deco inspired design elements include the fender skirts, a raked windshield, an enclosed radiator and an integral trunk.
Many items that had been previously been options were now standard, such as freewheeling, a precursor to overdrive. The unit was provided by the LGS Company, which was a subsidiary of the Cord Corporation. E.L. Cord's empire included many companies related to transportation. These included Stinson Aircraft and American Airways, which later became American Airlines.
The current owner's father found this car partially disassembled. Restoration took several years and made its restoration debut at the 2014 Concours d'Elegance of America at St. Johns.
By 1934, the Cord Company was experiencing management turmoil and the dire economic conditions in the United States. E.L. Cord had turned his attention on his growing interests in aviation and had, for the last time, resigned as President of the Auburn Automobile Company. Several Cord Corporation executives were given the leadership role of Auburn, but their positions proved to be short-lived and resulted in confusion about management accountability. As production fell the Auburn plant was shut down, however administration, engineering and the factory service department remained in Auburn. Production shifted to the Auburn complex in Connersville.
For 1934, the Auburn Company continued to improve its automobiles and introduced a completely redesigned line with many new features which improved performance, reliability, and comfort. They dedicated financial resources to new tooling for all-steel bodies. The tooling was expensive but it brought important cost savings in production.
Several items that had been optional in previous years became standard for 1934. One such item was freewheeling from LGS, one of Cord Corporation's many subsidiaries. The Columbia Dual-Ratio rear axle also was made standard, along with four-wheel Bendix hydraulic brakes. The displacement of the Lycoming eight grew to 280 cubic-inches and an aluminum cylinder head was installed, with a 6.2:1 compression and two-barrel carburetor on the Custom 850Y version offering 115 horsepower.
By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2014
Sales increased by 50% for 1934, however it did not bring an improvement in financial standings. The cost of introducing new models were expensive and ate into the company's profits.