1931 Auburn Model 8-98 Brougham
Chassis no. 8-98-24760B
Engine no. GU 59819
While the American automobile industry's development in its formative years had been guided by the inventor/engineer, its progress between the wars was shaped not so much by technicians as by entrepreneurs. One such was Auburn boss Errett Lobban Cord, who once admitted to having made and lost $50,000 three times in the course of his business dealings, and all before reaching the age of 21! When Cord joined Auburn as general manager in 1924 the company was in the doldrums, making more cars than it could sell and heading for bankruptcy. After some Cord-inspired restyling, Auburn sales picked up and the stage was set for the creation of a glorious new automotive empire. From the moment E L Cord arrived however, the company's fortunes improved markedly. In 1925 Cord arranged for Lycoming straight-eight engines to be installed in the existing six-cylinder chassis and instigated a re-styling programme that saw the new-for-'25 Auburns featuring two-tone colour schemes and a novel beltline that swept up over the bonnet. Sales doubled for three consecutive years and in 1926 Cord became president of the Auburn Automobile Company.
The eight-cylinder Auburns were soon challenging Stutz for the accolade of 'America's fastest', Al Leamy driving an 8-115 Speedster at 108.46mph over the measured mile at Daytona in 1928 and going on to take the 24 hours record at Atlantic City Speedway. Not only were they outstanding performers, the eight-cylinder Auburns also represented exceptional value for money: at $1,395 the top-of-the-range '31 Speedster was less than half the price of the equivalent Stutz. "More car for the money than the public has ever seen," reckoned Business Week magazine.
The 1931 was the first of the sweeping fender, long hood Auburns, a design which was used through to 1933. The double-drop X braced frame allowed the overall height to be three inches lower than previous models, making open cars look more rakish and giving the closed Coupe, Sedan and Brougham a sinister but appealing look, particularly since the model shared the chassis, hood and front fenders with the speedster.
This car is a completely original barn find, it was last registered 20 years ago and at that time had been in the same ownership since the late 1940's. A true timewarp from its amazing original interior to its paintwork, it even retains the original I.D. and Central Body tags, which are tacked onto the wood body sills and are often missing. The odometer reads 66,721 and based on its overall condition we feel that this is most likely the original mileage.
It is so rare to find closed 8-98s that have not been re-bodied, but just one look at this example proves just how appealing and interesting these cars are, particularly in 'as found' order. The 1931 Auburn has Full Classic status with the Classic Car Club of America, providing one avenue of the road use of this car, it would also, no doubt be a welcome entry into any Preservation Class.
- Please note that the title for this vehicle is in transit.