1. 1933 Auburn 12-161A Cabriolet

  2. 1933 Auburn 12-161A Cabriolet

  3. 1933 Auburn 12-161A Cabriolet

  4. 1933 Auburn 12-161A Cabriolet

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Lot Number
From The Tom Gaughen Collection, Coachwork by Limousine Body Co.
1933 Auburn 12-161A Cabriolet
Scottsdale Auction

Offered Without Reserve

ESTIMATE: $150,000 - $250,000
• ACD Club Category 1 Certified
• Offered from the care of a selective private collector
• Very well-preserved and elevated restoration
• Excellent colors and details throughout
• Legendary example of Auburn innovation

391 cid Lycoming V-12 engine, 160 HP, three-speed manual transmission, Dual-Ratio rear axle with two-speed differential, solid axle suspension with leaf springs, power-assisted four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes; wheelbase: 133"

The legacy of The Auburn Automobile Company is one of the richest of all prewar manufacturers on either side of the Atlantic. While its history is very well-known among marque enthusiasts and Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Club members, the company’s innovative approaches to making and selling exciting, value-rich automobiles with immense style at the trough of the Great Depression remain the stuff of legends today. Although the Auburn company had turned a considerable profit during the late 1920s and into the early 1930s, keeping up with the changing market was difficult. The cylinder wars of the early 1930s sent many companies struggling to keep up with the changing technology and mechanical advancements. Auburn answered this challenge in 1932 with the creation of their twelve-cylinder engine in 'V' configuration. To stimulate even more interest, the 12-160A was offered at an incredibly low price, at just under a thousand dollars. At that price it has remained in history as the lowest priced 12-cylinder vehicle ever produced. Many people feared that the quality of the engine or the vehicle was reflective of the price. This mindset backfired and, as a result, did not sell as well as intended. By years end, the company had lost more than a million dollars.

The 6.5-liter Lycoming V-12 engine produced a respectable, quite likely under emphasized, 160 horsepower rated output and generated enough torque to propel the vehicle smartly to around 100 mph. One of the most ingenious components of the vehicle was the Dual Ratio differential, which was operated by a dashboard lever. There were high and low ratios available for each of the three gears, improving fuel consumption. The end result was less strain and wear-and-tear on the engine. This very powerful yet efficient drivetrain package went on to be used for subsequent years on various models. Auburn offered the Twelve at prices starting at $1,425, less than half the price of a comparable Cadillac V-8 and more than $2,000 below a V-12. Astounding performance was endorsed by a number of speed record runs by factory driver Eddie Miller, setting 31 American stock car speed records at Muroc Dry Lake in December 1932 in trials observed by the AAA, including covering 500 miles at an average of 113.57 mph, which was faster than Fred Frame’s winning speed at the Indianapolis 500 that year.

Having received Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Club Category 1 certification in 1994, with copies on file, this 1933 Auburn 12-161A Cabriolet was owned by ACD Club member Gus Ludwig from 1979 to 2007, when it was sold by him to the current owner, a collector with a keen eye for the greatest pre-WW II classics, particularly those from the celebrated Auburn, Cord, and Duesenberg marques. According to the ACD Certification, “This 12-cylinder Auburn Cabriolet was assembled from original Auburn parts of the same years,” and the document lists the known provenance of the body, chassis, and running gear, with ACD Club member names listed for each. Importantly, the body is a factory original having been transferred from a 1933 Auburn 8-105 Cabriolet to its present 1933 Auburn 12-cylinder chassis. The restoration was performed under Mr. Ludwig’s lengthy ownership of the vehicle, and then subsequently elevated and sorted under the consignor’s watchful care. As offered, the Auburn is a study in Classic Era style and grandeur in attractive livery, remaining highly appealing. An AACA award winner, it is well-equipped with period accessories including a single Pilot Ray lamp, twin horns, plus twin cowl lamps, side view mirrors, and dual rear-mounted spares. If you are searching for a very fine 12-cylinder Auburn in sporting Cabriolet form with ACD Certification, look no further.

1933 Auburn 12-161A Cabriolet
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