1933 Auburn 12-161

Following the 12-160 model of 1932, the 12-161 was Auburn’s top chassis and was distinguished with its by its mesh grille. Like its predecessor, the 12-161 had a capable Lycoming V12 engine and opulent styling with striking two-tone paint schemes. They were also very well priced, offering ample power and sophistication for only $1,245 USD in 1933.

The highlight of the Auburn 12 was undoubtedly its engine which produced 160 bhp and enough torque to move even the heaviest bodies with ease. This was attached to a free-wheeling differential that disengaged the engine when the throttle was released. Furthermore the 12 was also equipped with an overdrive ‘Dual-Ratio’ axle gear that allowed for high top speeds and reduced fuel consumption.

Special features of the chassis 12 included Bijur chassis lubrication, Houdaille shock absorbers and a re-useable Purolator oil filter.

The very best bodystyle fitted to the Auburn 12 was the Boattail Speedster of which 14 were built in 1933. Other bodies included included executive sedans and limousines.

In 1933, Auburn debuted the 12-165 Salon models that were substantially upgraded and are easily identified by their updated V-shaped radiator with a painted shroud that concealed the radiator cap. The Auburn badge was also repositioned to the bumpers which were reshaped. Furthermore, the engine mounts were switched to biscuit-type to reduce drive train vibration. At the front a new A-frame was fitted to increase torsional rigidity. The braking system received vacuum power assist and that had four different settings for dry weather, rain, snow and ice.

In Detail

submitted byRichard Owen
typeSeries Production Car
built atDetroit, Michigan, USA
price $ $1,245 USD
positionFront Longitudinal
valvetrain2 Sidevalves per Cyl
fuel feedStromberg Downdraft Carburetor
displacement6407 cc / 391 in³
bore79.5 mm / 3.1 in
stroke108 mm / 4.3 in
power119.3 kw / 160 bhp
specific output24.97 bhp per litre
bhp/weight76.37 bhp per tonne
body / frameSteel Body over Steel Ladder-Type Frame
driven wheelsRWD
front brakesRigid Axle w/Semi-Elliptic Leaf Springs, Houdaille Shock Absorbers
rear brakesLive Axle w/Semi-Elliptic Leaf Springs, Houdaille Shock Absorbers
steeringWorm & Peg
curb weight2095 kg / 4615 lbs
wheelbase3225.8 mm / 127 in
front track1447.8 mm / 57 in
rear track1574.8 mm / 62 in
transmission3-Speed Manual w/Overdrive
top speed~159.29 kph / 99 mph

Auction Sales History

1933 Auburn 12-161

1933 Auburn Twelve Custom Speedster 2119E – sold for $2,035,000 The enduring design legacy of styling genius Alan Leamy. Original, authentic, and matching numbers. Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club Category One certification. A multiple-concours-award winner.
Auction Source: RM’s Art of the Automobile