Cavalier MK2

35 Auburn 851 Cabriolet barn find

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This Auburn Custom 8 851 Dual Ratio Cabriolet was entombed years ago and last on the road in the early 1950s. It was my Dad's postwar after college daily driver for awhile. The condition is rough with some rust in the floors, running boards, bottom of drivers door etc.... It is complete, we jacked it up onto stands and found the wheels aren't frozen. The chassis seems solid with no protests over the lifting. We have offers in the $12,000 range and are running this ad for a few weeks to see if anyone else is interested? Send me a PM or email to wyrdboats@gmail.com. The car is located in the South Puget Sound region of Washington State out in the country between Olympia and Tacoma. Be patient, I will get back to everyone but it can take a couple of days with my schedule. The buyer will have to arrange their own transportation.  Viewing can be arranged by appointment.

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Edited by Cavalier MK2 (see edit history)
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trimacar    524

Thanks for posting this, very interesting car.  Bad storage but I've seen worse, and someone will fall in love with it....great cars.....and best of luck finding a good home for it, know you will....based on condition I'd think mid-teens is the best you'll do, expensive restoration there, even with someone doing a lot of their own work...

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Thanks guys, a good home is what I'm hoping for. Nobody in the estate is equipped to do the work but somebody will want to. The storage wasn't great, the car was literally walled in and forgotten for the most part but it makes for an interesting archaeological find of a daily driver used until the 50s.

Edited by Cavalier MK2 (see edit history)
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Dynaflash8    205

Oh to be young again!  Alsancle, remember it is not a speedster and will cost at least $150,000 to restore this car.  And, you've got to find headlights and tailights, plus you have no way of knowing if the radiator and block were drained, or had anti-freeze in them.  In the 1950's, at least early 50's I don't recall there being "permanent anti-freeze".  I know in my first car, and maybe my second one in 1955 we were still using alcohol in the winter and draining it in the summer to put in plain water.  This car, this model, is probably the only car I ever dreamed of owning other than a pre-War Buick or a 1953 Buick Skylark.  The $12,000 offer guy might be a home restorer and it would be nice to see somebody like that get the car.  I'd love to see pictures of where it was stored.

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alsancle    430

If we figured the restoration costs in to the value of project cars then most cars would need to come with a bag of cash to be fair value. 

 

If Curt chimes in and says otherwise I will defer to him but this feels like 15k to me all day long and maybe more if it isn't bad underneath.  If that car was sitting at Hershey with a buy it now of 16k on it how long would the car last?

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JAK    17

Pretty easy for a guy to state a value when his hands are still in his pockets, just sayin

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alsancle    430

Talking on the internet is always easy,  but I stated a value based on knowing a little bit about Auburns.  What do you think it is worth?

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Dynaflash8    205
3 hours ago, alsancle said:

If we figured the restoration costs in to the value of project cars then most cars would need to come with a bag of cash to be fair value. 

 

If Curt chimes in and says otherwise I will defer to him but this feels like 15k to me all day long and maybe more if it isn't bad underneath.  If that car was sitting at Hershey with a buy it now of 16k on it how long would the car last?

Man, that first sentence is more than the truth.  Guess by your calculation I did good on the 39 Buick convertible coupe.  It is currently listed by the Volo Museum for only 1-2 grand more than I had in it.  But, by your calculation I made $25K, while by my calculation I lost $25K and that was in real money lost.

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alsancle    430

The only real way to justify it is if you enjoy the journey.   Another way to look at it is that time spent working on the car is not time spent sending money on other leisure time activities.

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alsancle    430
34 minutes ago, Dave Fields said:

Full Classics, unless something highly unique or custom are very soft right now. I unfortunately see a 350 Chevy going into this one.

 

I don't think so.  Auburns have a very strong following.  Somebody will buy it.

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Dynaflash8    205

Alsancle, I neglected to say that I took my car to an auction which was a huge mistake.  As I don't think it was auctioned correctly and it only brought $21K more than I paid for it but brought $25K less than I had in it.  I did win a coveted AACA National Award, something that had alluded me for over 50 years, but I'm pretty sure I didn't "enjoy the journey to the tune of $25K.  In fact, it still grinds my soul.  Why did I sell it?  I had a bought with Cancer and in a worst case scenario I didn't want it sitting in the garage for my wife to deal with it.

Edited by Dynaflash8 (see edit history)
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Matt Harwood    941

Fortunately, parts for Auburns aren't quite unobtainium quite yet and I've recently learned that our friend Curt is a great source for both knowledge and the oddball parts. That car is a very worthy car that will likely be resurrected and someone will lose his shirt when it comes to sale time. That's the way it goes. Always cheaper to buy a finished car. But for many, the journey is what is important and this one, while rough, isn't any better or worse than a comparable Buick or Ford, which would cost just as much to restore and be worth considerably less when finished. So don't think of this as a money-making situation but rather a smart way to get a great project and lose less money than you would on, say, a 1936 Ford cabriolet restoration. There's no way someone's going to hot rod it--it's still too valuable as an Auburn and again, their cost to do that would be comparable (if not greater) than restoring it properly, with the end result being a question mark. I've found that most of the guys butchering Full Classics like to start with finished cars to minimize the bleeding required to get what they want. It isn't about getting a cool car on the cheap, it's about one-upsmanship, and in that game, there are no limits, but it is very much about immediate gratification, not a long-term project.

 

I think this is a fantastic opportunity for a skilled home restorer. That car is a bit worse than my '41 Buick Century was when I got it, but not a lot, and most of that is probably surface scale. I think it's viable project and the end result will be one of the most road-worthy Full Classics of all (cue our friend Peter Hartmann, er, Shiny Hubcap, er, SaddleRider to chime in about how the Packard V12 is the very bestest ever).

 

Dollars and cents make no sense when it comes to old cars. Stop watching your wallet or get out of the hobby if it's too much to bear. Have your fun, do your thing, make some good memories, and let the future take care of itself. If you are fortunate and affluent enough to own an old car, you'll likely be dead before you run out of money anyway. This is an awesome car and the guy doing the work will have a great deal of motivation to get it done because it's an awesome car.

Edited by Matt Harwood
Removed my speculation on price to avoid hurting the sale (see edit history)
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Interesting thoughts folks, keep them coming. It is a blue chip project which makes the effort easier to contemplate compared to the same work done on a Ford.  The 350 angle I hope doesn't happen but I do have unfeeling relatives who say sell it for a rat rod if it brings  more money. I wanted to work on it 20 years ago for free for a family Sunday car but the sibs were worried the old man would leave it to me and said no way. Now that my Dad is in the great garage of the beyond to keep the peace  it has to go. While I want it to go to a mechanically sympathetic soul I have to make a effort on value to avoid the lynch mob. For everybody's sake I want to wrap this up around the first week in October. I've made friends with the car and promised it better holidays.

Edited by Cavalier MK2 (see edit history)
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Dynaflash8    205

Both Matt and Cavalier have great thoughts in the last two posts..............my opinion.  The people who I've been close to who were close to and collectors of the 1935-1936 Auburn have also gone on to the great garage in the sky.  But, this is a car that some millionaire will want and can spend any amount of money on with a fancy restorer at $150 an hour or whatever the big ones charge now.  Then, he can enjoy winning everything and thumping his fist on his chest to show it was "he" who could conquer this great project.  In my opinion, that's a whole lot better than seeing it rust away more is some garage somewhere.  I'll look forward to seeing the finished product, maybe on Jay Leno's show on TV or in the area of some oil field that's going full tilt.  C'mon somebody, step up to the plate and show your stuff.

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Matt Harwood    941

Here's what it could look like when it's done. Not many prettier than this (this is just a six, the subject car with an eight cylinder engine has a longer hood and looks even better).

 

 

AuburnOutside.jpg

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Walt G    57

My friend Matt once again has the right words for this or any other old car, you only go around once, life isn't a dress rehearsal.

3 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

Dollars and cents make no sense when it comes to old cars. Stop watching your wallet or get out of the hobby if it's too much to bear. Have your fun, do your thing, make some good memories, and let the future take care of itself

Some may read this and think or say "well , that is easy for you to say" ; my reaction is that after being flat line twice, and then a year ago being told by the surgeon's at Mt Sinai hospital in New York "the pathology report came back negative" you do indeed have to make the most of what you can while you are still vertical. If driving an old car down the road is what does it for you, then that is a pretty harmless way to enjoy yourself.

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trimacar    524

The underneath shots look like the floors and frame are surprisingly solid....although I'd bet those wire wheels are useless, lots of dirt contact....this would be a great hobbyist garage project, for someone with talent...and then biggest single cost would be chrome work...it's a car that needs to be bought from the heart, because one loves it, and the mindset should be of the days when we restored cars for the love of the cars, not the lust for making money...

 

All that said, being realistic, I think 15K should buy it, and that would be fair for both buyer and seller...

 

Sheesh, the styling line of the front fenders is enough to make one fall in love....beautiful complex curves that would be difficult to draw...

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trimacar    524
5 minutes ago, Walt G said:

My friend Matt once again has the right words for this or any other old car, you only go around once, life isn't a dress rehearsal.

Some may read this and think or say "well , that is easy for you to say" ; my reaction is that after being flat line twice, and then a year ago being told by the surgeon's at Mt Sinai hospital in New York "the pathology report came back negative" you do indeed have to make the most of what you can while you are still vertical. If driving an old car down the road is what does it for you, then that is a pretty harmless way to enjoy yourself.

I agree....guess it's an old saying, but "enjoy every sandwich", never know when it's the last one....I was out driving my old Dodge Brothers today, nothing exciting, but sure beats sitting around watching TV and waiting for the gurney....

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Dynaflash8    205
14 minutes ago, Walt G said:

My friend Matt once again has the right words for this or any other old car, you only go around once, life isn't a dress rehearsal.

Some may read this and think or say "well , that is easy for you to say" ; my reaction is that after being flat line twice, and then a year ago being told by the surgeon's at Mt Sinai hospital in New York "the pathology report came back negative" you do indeed have to make the most of what you can while you are still vertical. If driving an old car down the road is what does it for you, then that is a pretty harmless way to enjoy yourself.

If it doesn't affect your family's well being, then I agree

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mercer09    142

If that car was sitting at Hershey with a buy it now of 16k on it how long would the car last?

 

 

 

and then there's shipping from the coast of Washington............................

 

12k is more then fair. Car is in tough shape no matter which sunglasses you're wearing.

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