The E.L. Cord Company produced Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg hence, the Cord listing. These days you hear about great BARN FINDS. Well, this car quite a bit better than a barn find. The Auburn was found last week in an enclosed building!
The owner/collector passed away 6 years ago and the Auburn passed to the surviving son. This car was put in the old garage (see last photo) way back in the 60's and a wall was constructed as, the owner had no garage door. The Auburn has been walled up until last week when it was discovered. We had to literally take a wall out to load the Auburn onto my car trailer.
This Auburn is a Southern Oregon car and because the Rogue Valley is 250 miles south of rainy Portland, collector cars survive well here. The use of volcanic cinders and never salt on the roads also is a big factor in the no-rust department. The car carries its original state of Oregon plates and was licensed last in 1953! (yes, I have both matching license plates)
Because this Auburn survivor has not seen the light of day for around 50 years, attests to the REMARKABLE, solid condition and staggering complete correctness of the vehicle. I spent days vacuuming dust, dirt and cowbwebs out of the Auburn. Please view the copious pictures taken. The original black paint on the chassis is still showing. Searched for, but did not find the front bumper. This is virtually the only piece missing that I can determine! The grill is aluminum and can be polished to a brilliant luster with elbow grease but no rechroming is necessary.
Most of the trim on Auburns of this era is very thick stainless steel and as a result again, no plating bill. In addition, because of the immense popularity of the Auburn speedster replica market, all front stainless steel pieces, runningboard side trims and front bumper are all available at a reasonable cost. The original mascot is very presentable the way it is. The AUBURN script is still firmly attached as well. All 5 hubcaps (one for the rear mounted spare) are present and are good driver quality (the spare cap is in show condition!) I know the 5 wheels are original because they are somewhat different than other makes and only fit AUBURN.
All wheels turn freely and are not dragging. I was happy that the car was up on wooden blocks when I first laid eyes on it. The fenders all were hanging up in the rafters for safekeeping and are very straight and sound. The cowl/grill, radiator and hubcaps were all hung on the walls to keep them out of harms way too. The runningboards and butterfly hood were found stowed neatly behind the front seat crosswise.
Also found, was a complete, undamaged/unfogged windshield and rear window. I assume these were recently cut safety glass. Three side glasses are missing. The fortunate part is, the broken right front glass is in nice condition on the left front door. The broken left rear door glass is in nice condition on the right rear door and the broken right rear vent window is great on the left side. Voila' no patterns are needed, they are all in the car!
A good vacuuming revealed 2 original wiper bases, 1 original wiper arm and 2 replacement blades still in their packaging. The rubber is perfect on both blades and indicates this was a recent purchase. Also found was a center bumper motif bolt, headlight knob and banana switch brass knob. The glove box lock comes with an operating key. The locking right front door handle is perfect, looks brand new and the key works.
The ignition lock I believe also locks the steering column. The ignition switch has 3 positions... "IGN" (upper) "OFF" (middle) and "STX" (Startix) Lower. As the ignition key is turned, the barrel of the lock cylinder moves in or out to lock and unlock the column as desired. The key can be left unlocked and the ignition switch lever can be moved to all 3 positions. When locked, the switch is fixed in the "OFF" position only. The STX position means ignition on but, if the engine dies, the STARTX box senses generator output and automatically starts the car. This is a very problematic gimmick that most owners did away with to prevent mechanical damage as, the STX system was very autocratic and unreliable.
The owner of this AUBURN was no exception and replaced the STX box with a tried and true starter solenoid. (I have seen several Startx or Startix boxes listed on eBay) The only rust out I could find is in the rear apron. The lip on the apron collects mud and other soggy things and causes a rust line in this rust-trap area. A crack in the left front fender wheel arch was nicely welded up. I laid out all the fenders and chased some rear fender bolt holes with the proper 5/16" X 18 TPI tap and bolted up the rear fenders with a few bolts to see if they fit properly. No problem and the beautiful lines inspired me to mount up the front fenders too. These are simply bolted to the massive front fender arched braces via the headlight mountings. It looked so good that I lifted the hood on and latched all 4 spring loaded hood handles.
Placing the cowl/grill in its rightful place completes the ensemble. The pieces fit together perfectly and this is the way all the photos were taken. Showing the beautiful Gordon Buehrig designed front end was my motive and the car still shows clearly that it was... and it can be again...STUNNING! (Buehrig also designed the famous 1936-7 Coffin nose Cord) The rakish cut of the front fenders and classic hood side trim are so gorgeous!
The hood stainless, because of the careful storage, reveals only one dent in one of the 8 hood side trim pieces. All 4 hinged sections of the hood open and close fine and required no lubrication to move them (RARE!) Both headlight lenses were broken but, I have included a perfect and correct LEFT (drivers side) TRIBEAM lens and a perfect matching and correct RIGHT (passenger side) TRIBEAM lens to be installed. The headlight reflectors still amazingly, shine happily.
This AUBURN comes with the optional COLUMBIA 2-speed differential. Auburns of this period were faster off the line than the average motorcar and because of the HIGH RATIO option, the Auburn traveling at 60 mph in HIGH RATIO has an engine speed of 40 mph LOW RATIO. This gives the Auburn greater flexibility in every driving situation. Unlike most American cars of the 1930s, Auburns equipped with the Columbia are cars that can be comfortably driven on todays modern freeway systems. To shift from low to high or high to low ratio, you rotate the steering column control, take your foot off the accelerator and depress the clutch. A quiet clunk is heard as the vacuum operated differential changes ratios. All of the components are still all hooked up and move freely.
All gauges are looking quite nice and I would not be surprised if they still all work. The seat backs still have enough material left to make copies. The years have reduced the lower cushions, front and rear to simply springs. All correct inside handles and window cranks with escutcheon plates are still in place. All doors open and shut securely. There is a pull-out dent in the left rear door. (next to last picture) The sound condition of the sheetmetal and doors is due in part, to all-steel body construction. In contrast to most vehicles of this era, AUBURN motorcars used wood only in the upholstery tacking strips and insert top braces.
The top wood still looks serviceable and even the original chicken wire is present. (a wire was connected to this for the radio antenna. The radio control head is still in the dash but no radio tube box. The heater that comes with the car looks like the front of the Loewy designed Pensylvania RR GG1 Electric Locomotive. (not installed or yet pictured) Various vendors sell the rubber stretch material with tack perimeter strip that is proper for the Auburn insert top. All rubber parts for the restoration are also available for Auburn including brand new and correct runningboard mats.
These initial pictures show the runningboards sitting on boxes and not attached to the body and fenders. I opened the hood and took a picture of the engine. It looks like it is all there (note: board holding up the front of the hood which is just sitting in place) and it looks like someone added a rebuilt fuel pump back in the day. I have no information on the condition of the engine.
The pictured honeycomb radiator looks in excellent shape right down to the brass Mfg. tag. This great Auburn survivor is a great example of the very last Auburn model produced in 1935 and 1936 only and is truly an exceptional candidate for restoration at a relatively very reasonable cost. Return on investment looks very good on this one with, such a low reserve!
This is a real RARE find and the car has not yet moved off my car trailer. Did you ever think you would never be able to afford a sound, complete and restorable Auburn?...Think again!
note: I will be adding more pictures...