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Lot 625
1936 Auburn 852 SC Phaeton


Selling on Saturday Evening


• Last year of an iconic marque
• Beautiful Art Deco-inspired styling
• Performance car of the era
• Full Classic® for show or touring

280 cid L-head inline eight-cylinder Schwitzer-Cummins Supercharged Lycoming engine; Stromberg carburetor, 150 HP at 4,000 RPM, solid front axle, live rear axle, front and rear semi-elliptic leaf springs with Lovejoy shock absorbers, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes; wheelbase: 127.5”

Despite the lasting effects of the Depression, Auburn continued to produce some of the most attractive cars available to automotive buyers. For 1935, Gordon Buehrig’s trend-setting styling made the 851 and 852 some of the most attractive cars in the history of the Auburn Automobile Company. Building on original body designs by another talented designer, Al Leamy, Buehrig softened the edges and drew on inspiration from the Art Deco-inspired and streamlined California Zephyr locomotives of the era. Presenting what one could call a voluptuous blending of rounded and smoothed lines with just the right mix of bright metal trim, the 1935-36 Auburns were stunning and gave the impression that they were traveling at 100 miles an hour even when standing still. All of the new Auburns were powered by the proven Lycoming inline eight-cylinder engine which was rated at 115 HP. However, the improved Schwitzer-Cummins supercharger boosted the official output to 150 horsepower for those cars lucky enough to be so equipped. These automobiles were guaranteed as being capable of delivering speeds in excess of 100 MPH and going from a standing start to 60 MPH in just 15 seconds, which was considered neck-snapping speeds for the mid-1930s. Ab Jenkins, well associated with both Auburn and Duesenberg, took a 1935 Auburn 851 to the Bonneville Salt Flats and established several land-speed records. Despite beautiful styling, cutting-edge performance, and a reputation of quality and reliability, rumors were circulating of the marque’s ultimate demise, which apparently affected customers with very few models sold in that final season.

This car was acquired by our consignor in 2017 as part of a major collection. The serial number for the Auburn 852 kept track of production; with a unit number and the Supercharged cars identified with the number “3” in the first position, followed at the end with a letter that identified the body style, which for the Phaeton was the letter “H”. Based on the serial number, it has been confirmed this car is indeed a 1936 Auburn Model 852 Supercharged Phaeton. Sporting a well maintained restoration when acquired, this stunning Auburn has been treated to a freshening of the paint as needed and new chrome plating on several pieces of trim and hardware with all work done by Chicago Restorations LTD. It is finished in desirable Cigarette Cream complemented by a tight-fitting dark brown convertible top with rich brown leather upholstery.

Appointments include Trippe driving lights, dual side-mount spares, whitewall tires, and full wheel covers. Styling didn’t end on the outside of this car, as the Art Deco-inspired dashboard is fitted with full instrumentation including a clock and a very rare radio provided to Auburn from Crosley. Mechanical awaking was completed by Voegte’s Auto Service where the dual-point distributor was brought back to full operational status as was the Startex starting system. Adjustments were also made to the Stromberg carburetor making sure fuel was properly mixed as delivered from the Supercharger. Brakes were rebuilt including the installation of new wheel cylinders. Completed in 2021, this reborn Auburn made its debut appearance at the August 2021 Geneva Concours in Illinois where it was awarded the Carl Benz Award. After its exhibition, the battery was replaced and a couple of minor factory correct parts were installed. Since then, this Supercharged 852 has been pampered and kept in climate-controlled storage. A recent test drive proved the reliability of the mechanical condition of the car, and will be welcomed at any Classic Car Club of America tour or judging event and would be right at home in Auburn, Indiana at the next ACD Festival.

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