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Lot 659
1934 Auburn Twelve Salon Phaeton


Selling on Saturday Evening


• Outstanding Art Deco-inspired styling
• Final incarnation of the Auburn 12
• Extensive research for authenticity
• Excellent presentation, color and appointments
• Numerous awards from CCCA and AACA
• Well-appointed with period accessories
• ACD Certified, A-540

391.6 cid L-head V-12 engine, dual Stromberg carburetors, 160 HP at 3400 RPM, three-speed manual transmission, dual ratio rear axle, front and rear semi-elliptic leaf springs, four-wheel vacuum-assisted hydraulic drum brakes; wheelbase 133”

After the 1922 Recession, many pioneering automobile companies were on the brink of extinction and Auburn Automobile Company was no exception. In 1924, E.L. Cord was invited to come to Auburn and see if he could work some marketing magic on the brand. He agreed to take over the operations of the company but only if he had total control. Cord also wanted 20 percent of the profits right off the top as well as an option to buy the company once it became profitable. Looking at a total loss, the bankers who were invested in Auburn felt this was the best way out of a bad situation and gave Cord the green light to proceed. By 1926, Cord was the owner of Auburn. From this first purchase, Cord started to build his empire inviting the brothers Duesenberg to come to Indiana and set up shop where they could fully develop their mighty Model Js. He also acquired the Lycoming Motor Co., as well as Central Body in Connersville, Indiana, plus other industrial concerns.

For 1931, stylist Al Leamy was brought on board to create innovative styling for the Auburn. Despite the continuing Depression, Auburn’s sales improved that year and, in 1932, Auburn joined the ranks of Cadillac and Packard in the multi-cylinder market with their Lycoming-produced V-12 engine. Unfortunately, the grips of the Depression would not relent, and sales weakened for the entire high-end automotive market. Despite excellent looks, superb workmanship and a stellar reputation, Auburn’s profits continued to drop and 1934 would mark the last Auburn 12 models. For 1933, Leamy updated the styling and Auburn introduced a new top-level line with the Salon Series, which would continue for 1934. Among the special appointments for these cars were bright metal trim on the bodies and accenting the edges of the fenders, a specially designed radiator, unique cowl styling plus exclusive blade-like front and rear chrome bumpers. The finest materials available were used for the interior with the dashboard featuring jewel-like instrumentation set into an Art Deco-inspired panel plus plush and comfortable seats upholstered with only the best fabrics and leathers available. Five body styles were marketed for the 1934 Salon series including the resplendent Phaeton. Designed to seat five passengers comfortably, these beautiful cars represented just what the term “classic” should be. Magnificent in every way.

Production was very limited for the 1934 Auburn 12 line and just 17 of these majestic Salon Phaetons were produced. After extensive research, less than a handful of these Salon 12 Phaetons are known to exist, with this example most likely being the finest. With the help and consultation of one of the marque’s foremost authorities, Randy Ema of Orange, California, this outstanding classic has been brought back to its original appearance when new. Starting in 2009, a five-year process was launched in which the car saw the engine removed and overhauled, the body removed from the frame with the chassis rebuilt, while the body was brought back to factory standards, then painted and trimmed to original specifications. Auburn’s Free-Wheeling, a standard feature, was brought to life as was the Bendix patented Startix system. The driver-controlled brake pressure system was restored, and a number of period-correct accessories were added such as a rare Philco Transitone radio and dual Pilot Ray driving lights. The final stage of the restoration was carried out by Steve Babinsky, owner and operator of Automotive Restorations from Lebanon, New Jersey. Since its completion, this car has been exhibited on a regular basis earning over 30 awards. Among the highlights was when it scored 100 points during CCCA judging placing it in both Premier and Senior Emeritus status, as well as earning the coveted AACA National First Place badge. When displayed at the ACD’s West Coast meet it not only was judged First in Class but went on to be presented Best in Show honors. This car has also been subjected to an in-depth inspection by the ACD Club and has been fully certified as to its original components and configuration. This outstanding Salon 12, while ACD Certified, presents its new owner an exciting opportunity to debut this significant automobile at its first ACD National Reunion in its birthplace of Auburn, Indiana.

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