2015 Shannons Melbourne Winter Classic Auction

1936 Auburn 654 Sedan (RHD)




Engine In-line 6-cylinder, 210-cid
Gearbox 3-speed Manual
Body Work Sedan
Colour Off White
Interior Beige
Trim Cloth
Wheels Steel Disc
Brakes Drum


This lot is no longer available

One of the most successful of the big American independents, Auburn rose from humble beginnings as a carriage manufacturer in Indiana to the producer of some of the most glamorous cars of the Roaring Twenties, including the famous Speedster.
In 1924, a young Errett Lobban Cord became the General Manager at Auburn and in short space of time had revitalised the company, installing the Lycoming straight-eight engine in existing six-cylinder frames to expand the range with the new 8-63 and 8-88 series in 1925. With stylish looks and two-tone paint schemes, the new Auburns were soon selling very well and in 1927 Cord took three Auburns broke the records for stock cars between 5 and 5,000 miles at Atlantic City Speedway. Although Auburn managed to weather the Great Depression reasonably well, with sales doubling in 1931, things gradually fell apart for the company. Sales of both eight and 12-cylinder models fell away and a cheaper six-cylinder line was introduced in 1934 in an attempt to stem the tide, using a Lycoming-built 210-cid unit developing 85 horsepower. Built on a shortened 119-inch wheelbase version of the eight's chassis, the new Six ranged from $695 to $954 in price. Facing criticism that Auburn's styling was too staid, Cord employed designer Gordon Buehrig to spice up the range and he ditched the ugly ?shovel nose? in favour of a streamlined new look, exemplified by the sleek supercharged speedster. In what would prove to be Auburn's swansong, the 1936 model range consisted of the six-cylinder Model 654 and eight-cylinder Model 852. Both were offered in three distinct trim levels, including Standard, Custom Dual Ratio and Salon Dual Ratio. Five factory body styles were offered, ranging from the open cabriolet and phaetons to the closed coupe, Brougham and sedan models. There were no major mechanical changes from the previous year. Production from the ailing company was predictably small, with just 1263 cars of all types leaving the factory in 1936. Errett Lobban Cord sold his holdings in 1937 and Auburn - with Cord and Duesenberg - ceased to exist, leaving behind a glorious legacy.