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I am interested in finding out more about Auburn cars, such as speed, different models and just all around information. Please and Thank you

-Bettendorf High School

You might try visiting the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club's site www.acdclub.org and looking around a while prior to asking your questions. It is generally believed that the first Auburn was built in 1901. Their last year was 1936.

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Are you in Bettendorf IA? There used to be a real Auburn Speedster near here, but as it was for sale, I'm not sure if it is still around. I have driven a number of Auburns and they are fun to drive. They aren't the best or fastest cars of the era, but are however better than the average low priced car. The Auburns were marketed with flashier colors and styles than the everyday cars.

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The 8 cylinder Auburn Speedsters with supercharger and 2 speed rear axle can easily cruise at modern highway speeds, which was above average for 1935/36. The Speedsters were lighter and faster than the average car and each one was driven by test driver - in most cases by race driver Ab Jenkins and was affixed with a plaque stating how fast it was driven. They were all certified to exceed 100mph.

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Dunn, as mentioned above, the A-C-D Club is your best source, but as with any club, take the information from buffs with a grain of salt. For example, Connersville, Indiana Auburn employees recalled attaching plaques previously inscribed with an arbitrary figure slightly over 100 mph signed by Ab Jenkins to the dashboards of 1935-36 Auburn Model 851-852 speedsters. Contrary to oft repeated myth, each car was not test driven to over 100 mph.

Auburns were Hudson/Buick class cars, nothing remarkable, certainly no better than period Chryslers, which were also stylish, had hydraulic brakes, as well as modern insert engine bearings, full-pressure oiling and beginning in 1934, overdrive.

Curiously, only the outsized Chrysler Imperials are CCCA Classics, not the lower line Chrysler eights which were in the same price class, sometimes even a little above, Auburn eights, every one of which is nonetheless accorded "Classic" status. Note how quickly the mere 143 1935-36 boat tail speedsters are brought up here, because the thousands of rank and file Auburns were, again, not especially noteworthy, though that doesn't prevent all the eight-cylinder Auburns from being considered CCCA "Classics."

Beginning in 1936, standard production Buick Centuries, if not good for an honest 100 mph until 1938, could nonetheless haunt an Auburn speedster's rear view mirror, as could the English Railton 8, which sold many more editions than the Auburn boat tail, and used a stock Hudson chassis and running gear other than stiffer shock absorbers. Buick, Hudson, Chrysler didn't need the write off of a few boat tail speedsters to sell their regular production jobs, though some were privately so customized, despite boat tailed cars being more a '20s fad finding few buyers, built more for a wow factor.

Clubs can be swell sources of information, but talk with people who can see beyond their own hood ornament, recite from more than buff books from the discount bin at the mall bookstore, or are feathering their nests by keeping myths alive.

While good cars, Auburns were skillfully marketed with plenty of savvy hype, Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg president Errett Lobban Cord a 10th grade high school dropout, former Chicago car salesman, and stock market marauder who made Michael Douglas's Gordon Gecko character in Wall Street look like a Boy Scout. The Security and Exchange Commission was formed in 1934 to police just such buccaneering, E. L Cord often taking refuge when things got hot at his English mansion, claiming concern for his teenaged children, since the Lindbergh baby kidnapping and murder were still fresh in the public's mind.

BTW, Dunn, in 1940, Augie Duesenberg was selling a marine version of the Hudson 254-ci straight eight. When you work through Auburn's history, you'll have your work cut out for you trying to get straight talk on Duesenbergs! If you're a quick study, you can breeze through that chapter.

Remember, much as some of us love them, they're all just cars. All have their merits and demerits. And men can be just as silly over them as the distaff are about shoes. Never forget that during your research.

Edited by Dwell Meter (see edit history)
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