Auburn 852SC Cabriolet

Even as America’s economy slipped into depression during the early 1930s, Auburn sales remained strong thanks to its smartly styled, well-engineered and well-built products. In 1931, Auburn enjoyed its best-ever sales year, while other marques saw sharp declines in their sales and profits. By 1933, however, Auburn proved fallible when it began laboring under a growing tide of red ink. Far from giving up, E.L. Cord saw the answer in a revitalized product and, of course, a new marketing push. The result was one of the most exciting products in Auburn history.

Introduced in 1935, the all-new 851 featured beautiful Gordon Buehrig-penned styling and offered an optional Switzer-Cummins centrifugal supercharger, which boosted output by 30 percent to 150 bhp. Developed by Kurt Beier at Schwitzer-Cummins and adapted to the Auburn-Lycoming inline eight-cylinder engine by Augie Duesenberg and Pearl Watson, the supercharger ran at six times engine speed and generated useful boost from 2,000 rpm upwards. The 851 returned for 1936 and was re-designated the 852. While E.L. Cord’s industrial empire fell soon thereafter in 1937, the 851/852 remains an inspired milestone of engineering and styling prowess.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in July of 2010 at the Shotwell Gustafson Pavilion at Meadow Brook Hall, Rochester, Michigan.

150 bhp, 280 cu. in. Lycoming inline eight-cylinder engine, Schwitzer-Cummins centrifugal supercharger, three-speed manual transmission, Columbia two-speed rear axle, live front and rear axles with semi-elliptic leaf springs and hydraulic shock absorbers, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 127"

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel

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