Tag Archives: Auburn

Unlucky In Love – Auburn 851 SC Speedster

The Auburn 8-851 SC was a response to the failure of the previous 12 cylinder 12-160 model to sell at Dodge V8 prices, customers, even during those depression years up to 1933, erroneously thought there had to be something wrong with the product to be offered at such bargain prices !

Auburn 851 SC, Goodwood Revival

Restyled by Gordon Beuhrig, of a model originally designed by Alan Leamy, the Speedster is one of the all time most memorable elegant designs from nose to boat tail.

Auburn 851 SC, Goodwood Revival

The 8 indicating 8 cylinders was dropped from the model name to become ‘851’ which was available with a normally aspirated straight 8 Lycoming motor or a 150 hp supercharged one.

Auburn 851 SC, Goodwood Revival

The casual observer looking at the front of an Auburn was never left in any doubt about the Supercharged version of the “851” chrome headers of the SC were matched by tasteful text on the bonnet / hood which shouted out top of the range model …

Auburn 851 SC, Goodwood Revival

even on the intake side of the motor !

Auburn 851 SC, Goodwood Revival

Fabled speed merchant Ab Jenkins took a stock 851 SC Speedster and ran it for 12 hours at an average speed of 100 mph soon after the model launched on January 1st 1935. Ab Jenkins was then employed to test each 851 SC Speedster to over 100 mph before shipment, the plaque on this one shows Ab tested the car to 100.6 mph.

Auburn 851 SC, Goodwood Revival

Around 5000 normally aspirated and supercharged version of the ‘851’ were sold in 1935, but the following year sales of the same model rebadged ‘852’ tanked leading EL Cord to wind up production at the 40 year old Auburn company for good.

Auburn 851 SC, Goodwood Revival

This particular car was purchased by Eduardo Montinola as a courting gift for Philippine model Susan Magalona who married Eduardo’s rival Carlos Ledesma a sugar baron in what was described as the marriage of the year, in the Philippines, with gifts that included a truck full of peanuts ! The Marriage was loveless and annulled and Susan subsequently married millionaire diplomat by the name of Federico Elizalde.

Thanks for joining me on this ‘Unlucky In Love’ edition of ‘Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


US Convertibles – Niello Serrano Concours 2011

Thanks to the generosity of Geoffrey Horton today’s images come from the 2011 Niello Serrano Concours held the weekend before last in the El Dorado hills of sunny California. Today I’ll be focusing on a fabulous array of American made convertibles seen at the show.

Cord L29 Phaeton, Niello Serrano Concours

Vehicles manufactured by Cord Corporation were the feature Marque of the event so it was most fitting that grandson of the Cord Corporations founding father E.L. Cord should be seen here in one of the companies original models the 1929 Cord L29 Phaeton, which was the first US built front wheel drive car offered to the American public.

Cord L29 Coupé, Niello Serrano Concours

Of all the photo’s that Geoffrey sent to me this one of a 1930 Cord L29 Coupé with it’s bizarre, even by todays standards headlights and racy two tone paintwork, gets my nomination for car of the show. The front wheel drive L29 was the brainchild of Carl Van Ranst who had previously worked on the successful front wheel drive Miller open wheel racing cars that won that won the Indianapolis 500 on four occasions between 1926 and 1932.

Cord L29 Coupé, Niello Serrano Concours

Continuing on a vaguely Indianapolis related theme Geoffrey tells me this 1931 12 cylinder Cadillac 370A Roadster, was an Indy pace car in 1931. It was pulled out of a barn and restored by the owner 18 months ago.

Auburn Boat Tail Speedster, Niello Serrano Concours

One, of many, things I have learned thanks to these photo’s is that Cord was a brand name of cars manufactured by Auburn a company that ueber salesman E.L. Cord turned around during a leveraged buyout, above is a 1935 Auburn 851 Boat Tail Speedster manufactured just two years before both names went bust in the wake of the Great Depression.

Cord 812 Convertible Coupé,  Niello Serrano

The last model developed by Cord was the headlight popping 810 which had onlookers standing on the running boards of rival manufacturers cars when it was launched in New York in 1936. Rushed development and production schedules meant it gained a bad reliability reputation. For 1937 front wheel drive Cord 810’s were rebadged 812’s and although they had ironed out all of the reliability issues of the previous year the 812 series could not save Cord from financially tanking. This 1937 Cord 812 Convertible Coupe is particularly rare, if I have understood Card lore correctly, it is one of only six that were ordered without the exterior chrome exhausts sticking out of the sides of the bonnet.

Packard Super 8 Convertible, Niello Serrano

Despite the now give away giant bonnet ornament it took me a good half hour to work out that the car above is a 1949 Packard Super 8 Convertible with a pre WW2 bathtub body style.

Dual Ghia, Niello Serrano

I’ll let you see if you can guess what this mystery car is before you reach the end of this blog, this car was highly rated by Time and Life magazines, Good Houskeeping described this model as a ‘social phenomenon’. Designed in Italy but not built by one of the ‘big three’ the car is said to have had 50/50 weight distribution about the axles and counted amongst it’s star owners Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin drove one in the film Kiss Me Stupid and Ronald Reagan allegedly lost his to President Lyndon Johnson in a poker game. This is one of the 99 cars built from 1956 to 1957 from a planned production run of 300.

Buick Le Sabre Convertible, Niello Serrano

I know the designer of my all time favourite Formula One car is a fan of the 1959 Buick Le Saber Convertible all though he would probably prefer the Invicta version in bright red.

Lincoln Continental Convertible, Niello Serrano

Representing the swinging, in the UK anyway, sixties at Niello Serrano were the slab sided 1963 Lincoln Continental Convertible with it’s rear suicide doors, which are all the rage at Rolls Royce these days,

Dodge Dart Convertible, Niello Serrano

and the infinitely more modest 1964 Dodge Dart Convertible, which in optional automatic form had push buttons to select the gears.

The mystery car is the Dual Ghia, designed by Ghia in Italy and built by Dual motors in Detroit with Chrysler running gear.

My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for his excellent photographs without which todays post would not have been possible.

Thanks for joining me on this US convertible edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil psycho on tyres’ I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at some of the Ferrari’s at Niello Serrano Concours. Don’t forget to come back now !


Lots of Red Cars – Haynes International Motor Museum

Allard K1, Haynes IMM

A couple of weekends ago I was in a bah humbug mood looking for something to do when a friend asked if I had ever been to the Haynes International Motor Museum, to which I had not and responded accordingly, before I knew it I was being whisked away towards Sparkford in deepest Somerset.

Auburn 852SC, Haynes IMM

The museum bills it’s self as having the UK’s largest collection of cars, numbering over 400, to which maybe added it probably has the largest collection of cars painted red !

Austin Healey Sprite, Haynes IMM

John Haynes publisher of many DIY car repair manuals established the museum, which operates as an Educational Charitable Trust, in 1985.

GAZ M13 Chaika. Haynes IMM

Apart from the accidental or otherwise concentration of red vehicles there are plenty of cars from all over the world some of which were models and or manufactures I had never heard of before.

Jordan Playboy, Haynes IMM

The vehicles are tightly packed at the moment, though unusually for a museum many, possibly even most, get a run round the museum grounds by the museum staff, while others can be hired for weddings and special occasions, a magnificent growling Viper got a quick blast round the museum while we were there.
Lanchester, Haynes IMM

Plans are afoot to expand the museum is September this year and having managed to snap only 10% of the collection over the couple of hours of my visit I look forward to returning even with the building work underway, the ticket I purchased is valid for a year !

Look forward to sharing some of the stories behind these cars in future editions of ‘Gettin’ a little psycho on tyres’, I hope you will join me again tomorrow for a trip to Silverstone. Don’t forget to come back now !