The Auburn Automobile Company grew out of the Eckhart Carriage Company, founded in Auburn, Indiana, in 1875 by Charles Eckhart (1841–1915). Eckhart's sons, Frank and Morris, began making automobiles on an experimental basis before entering the business in earnest, absorbing two other local carmakers and moving into a larger plant in 1909. The enterprise was modestly successful until materials shortages during World War I forced the plant to close. In 1919, the Eckhart brothers sold out to a group of Chicago investors headed by Ralph Austin Bard, who later served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and as Under Secretary of the Navy for President Roosevelt and for President Harry S. Truman. The new owners revived the business but failed to realize the profits that they hoped for. In 1924, they approached Errett Lobban Cord (1894–1974), a highly successful automobile salesman, with an offer to run the company. Cord countered with an offer to take over completely in what amounted to a leveraged buyout. The Chicago group accepted.
Cord aggressively marketed the company's unsold inventory and completed his buyout before the end of 1925. In 1926, he partnered with Duesenberg Corporation, famous for its racing cars, and used it as the launching platform for a line of high-priced luxury vehicles. He also put his own name on a front-wheel-drive car, the Cord, later referred to as "L-29"..
Employing imaginative designers such as Alan Leamy and Gordon Buehrig, Cord built cars that became famous for their advanced engineering as well as their striking appearance, e.g., the 1928 Auburn Boattail Speedster, the Model J Duesenbergs, the 1935–1937 Auburn Speedsters and the 810/812 Cords.
Styling and engineering failed to overcome the fact that Cord's vehicles were too expensive for the Depression-era market and that Cord's stock manipulations would force him to give up control of his car companies. Under injunction from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to refrain from further violations, Cord sold his shares in his automobile holding company. In 1937, production of Auburns, Cords and Duesenbergs ended.
This rare 653 Phaeton is finished in a period appropriate Green with tan top, green leather seats, red wire wheels and pin stripes. The car is in excellent condition inside, out and mechanically. Featuring a Dual ratio rear end, Startix, electric fuel pump, and a single side mounted spare. European style turn signals and interior lights on B pillar with auxiliary turn signals under bumpers and steering column mounted control for signals. Auxiliary brake lights on rear deck. Standard equipment also includes roll up glass side windows, folding windshield, ignition lock, and ride stabilizer.
An ACD Certified, Matching numbers car, the car has Good paint, top, interior and show quality chrome. The car runs and drives very well. 2018 certified appraisal available on request. Serial Number 3558 of 4216 model 653 Auburns of all body styles produced.
Included in the sale are reprints of the original Auburn Service Manuals, Parts List, Wiring Diagrams, Accessory Bulletin and Owner’s Manual along with complete logs and receipts for all maintenance and improvements since 1969 and extra parts.
This car has a very interesting history having been shipped from Connersville, IN to Oslo, Norway in 1935. According to the last Norwegian owner it was for the U.S. Ambassador to Norway, Anthony Joseph Drexel Biddle, Jr. A copy of four additional Norwegian registrations between 1937 and 1962 is included. A Canadian citizen purchased the car in 1969 and had it shipped to Toronto. Current owner purchased it from him in 1998. Its hard ot find a car from this era with known history from new. The history of long term ownership along the way is a testament to the special place this car has held in the hearts of it's caretakers.