1. 1932 Auburn 12-160A Boattail Speedster

  2. 1932 Auburn 12-160A Boattail Speedster

  3. 1932 Auburn 12-160A Boattail Speedster

  4. 1932 Auburn 12-160A Boattail Speedster

  5. 1932 Auburn 12-160A Boattail Speedster

  6. 1932 Auburn 12-160A Boattail Speedster

  7. 1932 Auburn 12-160A Boattail Speedster

  8. 1932 Auburn 12-160A Boattail Speedster

  9. 1932 Auburn 12-160A Boattail Speedster

  10. 1932 Auburn 12-160A Boattail Speedster

  11. 1932 Auburn 12-160A Boattail Speedster

  12. 1932 Auburn 12-160A Boattail Speedster

  13. 1932 Auburn 12-160A Boattail Speedster

  14. 1932 Auburn 12-160A Boattail Speedster

  15. 1932 Auburn 12-160A Boattail Speedster

  16. 1932 Auburn 12-160A Boattail Speedster

  17. 1932 Auburn 12-160A Boattail Speedster

  18. 1932 Auburn 12-160A Boattail Speedster

  19. 1932 Auburn 12-160A Boattail Speedster

Lot Number
60
From The Tom Gaughen Collection
1932 Auburn 12-160A Boattail Speedster
Scottsdale Auction

Offered Without Reserve

ESTIMATE: $250,000 - $350,000
CHASSIS NO: BB1079
• Iconic styling with V-12 performance; striking presentation
• Real Speedster body transferred from an eight-cylinder Auburn to current Twelve chassis
• Origin of body and frame known by marque experts; letter on file
• A highly optioned example in superb condition

Car No: 2628
Frame No: 1628

392 cid L-head V-12 engine, dual carburetors, 160 HP at 3,500 RPM, four-speed manual transmission with free-wheeling and two-speed rear axle, rear-wheel drive, semi-elliptic leaf spring suspension, four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes; wheelbase: 133”


While automobile markets sank drastically in 1931-32 along with the rest of the world’s economy, Auburn took a daring step and introduced a V-12 engine. Built by Lycoming – another of Cord Corporation’s companies – the Auburn Twelve engine was as innovative technically as it was daring commercially. With a narrow 45-degree V angle engine block ideal for balancing the power strokes of a Twelve, it displaced 391.6 cubic-inches. Four main bearings supported the crankshaft and two carburetors metered fuel to the engine, one per cylinder bank. True to Auburn’s performance heritage, its 160 horsepower was the highest specific output per cubic-inch of any of Detroit’s multi-cylinder engines of the day. The key to the Auburn V-12’s performance was its ingenious combustion chamber and valve arrangement. Driven by a single camshaft located in the engine’s V, the valves’ horizontally located stems were operated directly by rocker arms riding on the cam. The combustion chambers were nearly vertical pockets. With unusual forethought for servicing ease, Lycoming enclosed the valves in separate castings that could be removed without disturbing the cylinder heads. To handle the power and weight, Auburn beefed up its already rugged X-braced frame with additional front members. Four-wheel internally-expanding Lockheed drum brakes and full semi-elliptic leaf spring suspension took full advantage of the stiff Auburn frame.

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. The Auburn that Eddie Miller chose to set those records was a 12-160 Speedster, like the one offered here, considered the finest creation of the many gifted, talented, dedicated individuals who worked to make Auburn America’s greatest value in performance and style.

The Speedster body, with its fully disappearing top and elegantly tapered rear body, was the work of Al Leamy, a young designer hired by Cornelius Van Ranst at E.L. Cord’s suggestion in 1928. Initially employed to work on the Duesenberg Model J and Cord Front Drive L-29, he was then given the task of creating Auburn’s 1931-1932 models which he crowned with the Boattail Speedster. The Speedster, it is believed, was created as a bright, shining halo vehicle that would spread its appeal across the rest of Auburn’s range and draw traffic into Auburn dealers’ showrooms where they could be sold a more responsible, practical, and reasonably priced example.

Auburn Twelve Speedsters are some of the most sought after, and difficult to attain, automobiles from the classic era. Enthusiasts count as few as six Auburn V-12 Speedsters verified by marque experts as factory-original cars today. This Speedster is documented as a compilation of donor Auburn Twelve chassis, using the best parts from each and, most importantly an original body transferred from an eight-cylinder Auburn to this twelve-cylinder chassis. The consignor, a knowledgeable and fastidious collector with emphasis on Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg, purchased this vehicle from fellow ACD Club member Ernest Meyer of Georgia, in late-December 2011. Documents included with this dashing 1932 Auburn V-12 Speedster include the restoration work, prior sale paperwork, correspondence, technical and historical information. While not a nearly-impossible-to-find and purchase complete as built from the factory example, this vehicle’s combination of a real Speedster body, transferred to its present twelve-cylinder chassis, represents quite literally the next best thing. Guaranteed to attract admirers everywhere it goes, it is a recognized and respected example of visionary style and design of the Classic Era.

1932 Auburn 12-160A Boattail Speedster
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