1935 Auburn 851 SC
As one of the few prewar American sportcars, the Auburn Speedster was a powerful, affordable and stylish car. It featured a characteristic boat tail body and a supercharged engine that that set American trends: large proportions and straight line performance.
In 1932, a stock supercharged speedster driven by Ab Jenkins at the Bonneville Salt Flats and was clocked at 100 mph through the flying mile. Auburn were particularly pleased with these results and plaqued subsequent cars with a memo on the dashboard.
Produced from 1929 to 1937, the Speedster benefited from E.L. Cord’s empire which included many talented designers from Cord, Duesenbreg and Lycoming. As different engines became available, the Speester was manufactured in three distinct phases. The last of these was the 851/852 Speedster which benefited from styling upgrades and a reworked Inline-8 engine.
Up until 1935, many of Auburn’s models were powered by Lycoming’s V12 engine, which could be sold at a very affordable rate. Unfortunately, as this engine became unavailable, Auburn were left to rethink their straight-6, and Duesenberg helped them retool to include two more cylinders.
While changing engines, Harold Ames hired Gordon Buehrig of ex-Duesenberg fame to touch up the Speedster design. Buehrig reduced the ornamentation on the car, and added a more flowing touch, especially with his recessed radiator.
Of the four decades of Auburn production, the companies’ history can be highlighted by the 851 and 852 Speedsters. These were the last few cars made by Auburn before the factory shut down in October of 1937 along with the rest of the Cord Empire.
Story by Richard Owen for Supercars.net
|submitted by||Richard Owen|
|price $||$2 245 USD|
|engine||Water Cooled, Inline-8|
|valvetrain||2 Valves per Cyl|
|displacement||4589 cc / 280.0 in³|
|bore||77.78 mm / 3.06 in|
|stroke||120.6 mm / 4.75 in|
|power||111.9 kw / 150.1 bhp @ 4000 rpm|
|specific output||32.71 bhp per litre|
|bhp/weight||bhp per tonne|
|torque||311.8 nm / 230.0 ft lbs @ 2750 rpm|
|body / frame||Steel Body on Steel Cross-Braced Chassis|
|front brakes||Lockheed Drums w/Hydraulic Assist|
|f brake size||mm / in|
|rear brakes||Lockheed Drums w/Hydraulic Assist|
|r brake size||mm / in|
|steering||Worm & Peg|
|f suspension||Non-Independant w/ Semi-Elliptic Leaf Springs, Hydraulic Dampers|
|r suspension||Live Axle w/ Semi-Elliptic Leaf Springs, Hydraulic Dampers|
|curb weight||1699 kg / 3746 lbs|
|wheelbase||3226 mm / 127.0 in|
|front track||1488 mm / 58.6 in|
|rear track||1575 mm / 62.0 in|
|length||4938 mm / 194.4 in|
|width||1816 mm / 71.5 in|
|height||1473 mm / 58.0 in|
|gear ratios||2.86:1, 1.68:1, 1.00:1, :1|
|top speed||~167.4 kph / 104.0 mph|
|0 – 60 mph||~15.0 seconds|
|0 – 1/4 mile||~19.5 seconds|
Auction Sales History
The current owner purchased this Auburn speedster from R.A. Straker of Zanesville, Ohio in 1969. It has been in the same collection ever since. Straker had bought it a few years earlier from Pierre Fontana, another Ohio collector. At the time, it was missing three fenders and one door. As a matter of expediency, Fontana restored it with fiberglass replacement parts, the way the car is presented today. The car is known to have matching chassis, engine and supercharger numbers. Complete with California black plates from the time of the vendor’s early ownership, this is an exceptional Auburn speedster.
Auction Source: 2011 Monterey Auction by RM
Auction Source: 2010 Automobiles of London by RM Auctions
Auction Source: 2010 Mecum Kissimmee, FL Auction
Auction Source: 2009 Automobiles of Amelia Island RM Auction