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1935 Auburn 851 SC : Classic Cars

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.

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Sources : 1935 Auburn 851 SC Photo | 1935 Auburn 851 SC Article


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