- Named after the town of its birth, Auburn, Indiana.
- Attractive boattail design.
- Only 12-cylinder car to sell under $1,000.
Named for the town of its birth, the first production Auburn car was built in 1903 at the Auburn Automobile Company in Auburn, Indiana. The first cars were single-cylinder runabouts with tiller steering. A 2-cylinder model was added in 1905. In 1910, the company began to produce a 4-cylinder car and 1912 saw the introduction of a 6-cylinder car. Auburn cars were well made and reliable, but ordinary in appearance, offering nothing that could not be found in many other makes.
In 1924, E.L. Cord bought the Auburn Automobile Company and had the entire model range redesigned by J.M. Crawford. The 1925 cars were handsome and well built, consisting of 4-, 6- and 8-cylinder models with two-tone color schemes.
Anticipating future expanded production, Cord bought the Duesenberg Motor Company, two body-making companies and an engine-making company in 1927. At first, the Depression did not affect the Auburn as it did many other makes. 1931 was Auburn’s best year as a record 28,103 cars were built and sold. Auburn kept their cars affordable, the least expensive model being a 1932 two-passenger coupe selling for $975. This was the only 12-cylinder car ever to sell for under $1,000, well below rival V-12 cars, such as Cadillac ($3,495), Lincoln ($4,700) or Pierce-Arrow ($3,450). Models remained basically unchanged through 1933 with only 6,000 cars built and sold.
Every V-12 Auburn was road tested to at least 100 mph and a plaque on the dash verifies this test. The engraved plaque on this Auburn reads: “This certifies that this Auburn Automobile has been driven 100.1 miles per hour before shipment,” followed by the signature of Abe Jenkins, record setting racer.
1934 saw new designs and in 1935 a new sports design was announced. These cars also remained unchanged through 1936. Although a new range of Auburns had been planned for 1937, production ceased as the company never fully recovered from the Depression.