Luxury cars

Back to the Auburn Speedster

At the start of the 20th century, only a few automakers emerged as automotive pioneers who brought true innovation to the industry. The Auburn Automobile Corporation, a very famous name for luxury rides, was one of them. From 1900 to 1937, this American automaker was known for its beautifully designed and sporty cars. Today, his vehicles are undoubtedly at the top of the list of classic cars.

Auburn’s popularity has only increased over the years. What started as a production of horse-drawn carriages has become a business dedicated to the design of expensive cars. When salesman EL Cord took over the company from the brink of bankruptcy in 1924, the odds changed for the Auburn Automobile Corporation. Soon after, sales increased and the vehicles we now consider classics arrived.

The car that pretty much earned Auburn the reputation it enjoys today was the Speedster, an extravagant car that saw nearly 12 years in production. Chances are you already know the Auburn Speedster, as it holds a special place in the hearts of most classic car enthusiasts. Still, you might find an interesting (and hitherto unknown) detail or two in our review of the stunning classic luxury car.

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How the Auburn Speedster Was Born: Early Beginnings


The 1929 Auburn Boattail Speedster on a private lawn.
Via: Wikimedia Commons

As mentioned, the Auburn Automobile Company flourished when Cord took over as a capable and prominent salesman. Previously, Auburn was actually the Eckhart Carriage Company which was sold to a group of Chicago investors in 1919. The new owners attempted to revive the business, but they were unsuccessful. All attempts failed until Cord attempted to take over the business in 1924.

Cord was a dynamic force in the business who saved a fortune from the failing company. A year after the big takeover, the Auburn Eight is presented, logically named after the eight-cylinder engine. Soon this model replaced a more powerful model which gained the 8-88 nameplate due to the 88 hp engine. It will be the first car to bring public attention to Auburn.

In 1928, the 8-115 replaced the 8-88, and it’s easy to guess the logic behind this one. However, something new happened soon after – the Speedster (an open two-seater) appeared on the basis of the 8-115, and it was like anything else back then. With a long hood, tall windshield and rounded tail, the 1928 Speedster immediately won over customers. RELATED: 10 Underrated Classic Cars You Need To Buy Right Now

The Auburn Speedster: the story of a grand but short-lived success


The 1935 Auburn 851 Supercharged Speedster on display.
By: Flickr

In 1929, production continued. The facelift took place the following year, when the Auburn Speedster received an upgrade and a new name – the Speedster 125. This was probably due to the 125 hp version of the eight-cylinder engine which could now reach top speed of 100 mph. The new Speedster was marketed as a racing car with the comforts of a non-racing car.

Sadly, the Great Depression has come around the corner to spoil the Auburn Automobile Company’s plans. Sales began to decline in 1929 and 1930. The V12 engine was introduced in a Speedster, but it achieved little success and was soon dropped.


The 1935 Auburn 851 Speedster in a parking lot.
Via: Wikimedia Commons

The great final triumph of the Auburn Automobile Company is reflected in the Speedster 851 launched in 1924. This model will be the last car manufactured by this brand before the demise caused by the Great Depression. It is also the best known version of the Auburn Speedster.

The 851 featured a powerful and reliable eight-cylinder engine. It sported smooth lines, a new hood, a massive grille, and advanced tech features (all at once). The new Auburn Speedster could develop 150 hp, reach a top speed of 100 mph and offer unparalleled style. It was a real (progressive) gem at the time.

The success of this model was enough for the company to build 852 of them in 1936, but unfortunately the new car could not save the company from its demise. In 1937, production ceased and the Auburn Automobile Company closed.

How does the Auburn Speedster rank in the modern world?


The 1935 Auburn Boattail Speedster presented for sale.
By: Hemmings

As we mentioned, the Auburn Speedster was a progressive ride for its day, with impressive engine specs and modern styling. This made him more than desirable among customers. Although the Great Depression influenced sales and the company had to stop production, public interest only waned for a time.

In modern times, the Auburn Speedster is a much sought-after classic. It’s so popular, in fact, that some versions cost a fortune. We’ve seen Auburn Speedster models at auction that fetched over half a million dollars. Are we surprised? That’s hardly the case, given the car’s history, rank and design. But still, it’s unfortunate that few people can afford the Auburn Speedster.


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