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 by Richard Owen
type Series Production Car
built at Detroit, Michigan, USA
price $  $1,245 USD
engine V12
position Front Longitudinal
valvetrain 2 Sidevalves per Cyl
fuel feed Stromberg Downdraft Carburetor
displacement 6407 cc / 391 in³
bore 79.5 mm / 3.1 in
stroke 108 mm / 4.3 in
power 119.3 kw / 160 bhp
specific output 24.97 bhp per litre
bhp/weight 76.37 bhp per tonne
body / frame Steel Body over Steel Ladder-Type Frame
driven wheels RWD
front brakes Rigid Axle w/Semi-Elliptic Leaf Springs, Houdaille Shock Absorbers
rear brakes Live Axle w/Semi-Elliptic Leaf Springs, Houdaille Shock Absorbers
steering Worm & Peg
curb weight 2095 kg / 4615 lbs
wheelbase 3225.8 mm / 127 in
front track 1447.8 mm / 57 in
rear track 1574.8 mm / 62 in
transmission 3-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