1931 Auburn Deluxe Phaeton SedanSOLD
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Estimate: $125,000-$150,000

Offered Without Reserve

$74,800 Sold

Model 8-98A. 98bhp, 268cu. in. inline eight-cylinder Lycoming engine, three-speed transmission, live front and rear axles with leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 127"

The history of Auburn is inextricably linked with E.L. Cord, but it is more than the story of Cord ’ s incessant- and successful- marketing. Every element of the production process fell under Cord ’ s umbrella, from the manufacturers and engine builders to the gear companies and body builders. As a result, his Indiana-based industrial empire eventually became a viable competitor to General Motors, and a tremendous automotive powerhouse in its own right.

By 1925, the adoption of Lycoming V8 engines gave birth to the 8-63 and 8-88 models. In fact, their two-tone color schemes and graceful beltlines provided for a very attractive design theme that remained effectively unchanged through 1930. Although sales of Auburns dropped in the immediate aftermath of the stock market crash, they increased dramatically in 1931, thanks to the introduction of the 8-98, the only model offered that year. The 8-98 took advantage of a stiff X-braced chassis frame, a powerful 268 cubic inch straight eight Lycoming engine, and the skills of several Cord-owned coachbuilders to present a car unmatched for price, performance, and styling. Two 8-98 lines were offered - a standard model and the more luxurious 8-98A Custom, which added an additional $200 to the price of a comparable standard model.

This particular 8-98A features lovely bodywork by the Limousine Body Company. It was purchased at auction in 1997 from a gentleman in New Mexico, having previously resided in Georgia and having won multiple awards during the 1970s. In 1975, it was honored with a First Place by the Antique Automobile Club of America as well as a First Place Primary Award from the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club. Two years later, it was awarded the Senior Award for ‘ Most Authentic Auburn ’ and, eventually, Best in Show honors by the Horseless Carriage Club of America.

Despite certain cosmetic imperfections, the car ’ s older restoration has held up quite well. The cream yellow and green paint, for example, is very presentable, although upon close inspection shows relatively minor signs of cracking and other imperfections. The car ’ s overall appearance, however, remains generally unaffected. As for the chrome, it is of the same overall quality – not concours-ready but certainly very nice. Ageing is likewise evident on the tan convertible top, which has been stained in certain locations, but is undamaged.

The chocolate brown leather upholstery serves as an elegant complement to the exterior. It has aged slightly, although no defects are perceptible and the overall effect is decidedly luxurious. The dash presents very nicely and is quite clean and generally flawless.

Save for slight signs of surface oxidation, the engine compartment is clean and was restored along with the rest of the car. The undercarriage is also reasonably clean and refinished in black although it seems to be rather unrestored. Finally, among other notable options, the car is fitted with a center-mounted driving lamp, a matching trunk, and side-mounted spare wheels with rearview mirrors.

Upon its introduction, the Auburn 8-98 was praised by Business Week as being “ more car for the money than the public has ever seen ” . Unfortunately, a confluence of factors spelled the end for Cord ’ s empire just six years after the car ’ s introduction. The 8-98A has however remained a prized collector car, and continues to benefit from elegant styling and a truly dignified presence.

Reference Number 15005

as of 11/4/2007

Car 1931 Auburn Deluxe Phaeton Sedan
VIN 58701 
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