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.
I purchased this interesting and very rare Barn Find from the family who bought the car in 1947-I have the title from 1948. The car was purchased from a junk yard on time, so while they got the car in 1947, they didn't pay it off for another year. The car was sitting in a small garage totally covered with boxes and other stuff that had been piled on over a very long period of time.
I found the car to be a very solid original car, with interesting and hard to find items like the correct wiper motors, radio head, and the original Honeycomb radiator intact. I decided to embark on a body on restoration given the state of the car, and have restored/repainted the chassis with new soft brake lines, had the gas tank restored and lined, and had the radiator restored as well. The wheels have been restored and new tires installed. The engine is free and the car could be a runner with very little effort.
The metal is in pretty excellent condtion with only the rear apron, the running board supports, and the passenger side rear wheel well showing any rust or corrosion. I do have the top with all original hardware. it was in decaying condition having been taken off the car and set in a somewhat damp area, but is there for patterns. One could always just have a fair weather car as well, one thought i had was to have a tonneau cover fabricated as a quick interim step.
The only difference between Coupes and Cabriolets when it comes ot Auburns is the actual top-the windshield frame still folds down just like the cabriolets. Subsequently few of these cars survive-my count is 7-which includes the cars I know about that are not on registers or in directories.
In any event this is a rare opportunity to acquire a solid late sporting 8 cylinder Auburn, and make it your own.