1928 AUBURN 8-115 Boat Tail Speedster

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Dealer

OLDTIMER GARAGE AUSTRALIA P/L

By Appointment

Northgate, QLD

OLDTIMER GARAGE AUSTRALIA P/L Visit website

Features

Title 1928 AUBURN 8-115 Boat Tail Speedster
Make AUBURN
Sale Price $209,950
Listing Type Used
Stock Number 0783
RefCode TA1219898
Body TypeRoadster
No. of Doors2
No. of Cylinders8cyl
Capacity - cc4893
TransmissionManual
No. of Gears3
Drive TypeRWD
Odometer7,588 miles
ColourMaroon

Description

Details:

Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale a 1928 Auburn 8-115 Boat Tail Speedster.

The early history of this car is not known; however, it is understood to have been in Australia for a very long time.

The car offered for sale was the dream of late Auburn enthusiast Neil Burns. Burns had always wanted to own an Auburn Boat Tail Speedster. In the early 2000s he acquired a mostly complete Auburn 8-115. He subsequently located a factory built Auburn Boat Tail Speedster in Western Australia from which he could copy the body. Measurements were taken, drawings were made and Burns started to build the car of his dreams. It is understood the original body has been preserved from the scuttle forward.

By 2010 all major mechanical components had been reconditioned, including the engine, the gearbox, the carburettor and the radiator. All trim, lights and brackets had been rechromed, all the dash instruments had been fitted and a hood assembly had been manufactured. Unfortunately, Burns never got to see the finished product. He passed away in May 2010 and the car was sold from his estate to Ian Waller from Gordon, Victoria.

Waller completed the restoration and the car was subsequently displayed at Motorclassica in Melbourne in 2019. In February 2022 the car was displayed at the Torquay Rotary Motor Show where it won the pre 1959 class and was also the outright Best of Show winner.

During its restoration, the car was given a few sympathetic upgrades to make it a more reliable and usable classic. According to the documentation on file, the original Warner gearbox which has known reliability issues, has been replaced. The gearbox fitted to the car is a period correct three speed plus reverse crash box, though it is not branded and its make and model is unknown. A Mitchell overdrive has been installed, which gives the car more cruising flexibility. The electrics have all been upgraded to 12 volt, a modern fuel pump has been installed and an alternator has been discreetly installed underneath the car.

The current owner acquired this fabulous Auburn 8-115 Boat Tail Speedster in 2022 and he has spent a considerable amount of time and money fettling the car. He has thoroughly enjoyed his brief love affair, however, due to a change in direction he has decided it is time for a new custodian to take ownership of this amazing car.

This car looks STUNNING in the photographs, however, in the flesh it has an even more incredible presence. Make no mistake, this is a big car. The sleek art deco styling is a work of art and the more you look at this car the more details you will you notice. The massive bonnet and flowing guards meet at the trademark Auburn grill mounted with the most elegant hood ornament. The most unique feature of the Auburn Speedster is the relatively small vee shaped rakish front windscreen which evokes a sense of speed but at the same time emphasises the size of the car even more. The boat tail rear end just finishes the car off in terms of the uniqueness of its design.

The colour combination of black over maroon is just perfect for the car and all the bright work just sparkles. The paint is in very good condition with a strong depth of colour and a high gloss finish. We struggled to find any obvious imperfections. We did find a very small blemish on the lower edge of the right rear guard. You cannot miss the bright work on this car. The massive and very imposing grill, the almost oversize Monogram headlights, the smaller driving lights, the spotlight as well as the wiper motor covers and the mirrors are all beautifully chromed and present in very good to excellent condition. The only exception we noticed is the small mirror mounted on the back of the spotlight that is showing some light wear. Interestingly, rotating this mirror operates the on and off switch for the light for the light.

The painted wire wheels are in very good condition with no evidence of any curb rash. They are currently shod with Excelsior Stahl Sport radial tyres, size 5.50R18 which are date stamped 0917 (week 9, 2017). The tyres are still in excellent condition.

There is a small door on either side of the boat tail section of the body which provide access to the storage compartment. This is where the soft top is kept and there is also adequate room for some overnight bags.

Open the door and you are welcomed by a very simplistic, yet quite elegant interior. The bench seat is in excellent condition with no rips or tears in the leather. It is comfortable and provides ample support. You can also tilt the seat forward to access the storage compartment. The dashboard contains a very simple instrument cluster, that is both functional and in keeping with the style of the car.

You literally climb up and into this car. The driving position is relatively comfortable and once settled behind the wheel it is time to hit the road! The starting procedure is as simple as turning on the ignition and waiting a few seconds for the fuel pump to do its work. Then turn the key further and the big straight 8 bursts to life at pretty much first crank. The engine sounds just fabulous and it very quickly settles into a smooth idle.

First impressions are good, in fact, they are really good!

After selecting first gear and getting acclimatised to the relatively long travel of the clutch you are soon moving. On our first test drive, instinct says to dab the brake pedal to get a feel for the stopping power of this car. Surprisingly, the brakes are pretty good for a car of this vintage.

On pulling out of our showroom and into traffic one cant help but notice that the turning circle isnt the best weve come across. The steering is also quite heavy, but once you are moving it becomes a lot easier. The three speed gearbox is easy to use despite not having synchros. The gear leaver travel is direct which makes the gear changes relatively easy.

So many prewar cars have the show, but lack the go . . . but not this car! The engine in an Auburn 8-115 is quoted as producing 115 hp and not surprising this car pulls strongly through the rev range. It accelerates surprisingly quickly and easily keeps up with modern traffic. The brakes are also adequate and they pull the car up in a straight line when needed. The car feels solid on the road and is a real pleasure to drive.

Accompanying the car is a soft top, tonneau cover, parts manuals, an instruction manual, some historical documentation and various parts including a spare, correct carburettor.

Highlights:

- Unique and iconic car from the golden age of American motoring.
- The pinnacle of art deco design for an American car.
- Fitted with some modern upgrades to make it a more usable classic.
- Beautifully restored.
- Ready to use and enjoy.

Price $209,950.


Background:

In 1874 Charles Eckhart founded the Eckhart Carriage Company in Auburn, Indiana, USA. When his sons Frank and Morris joined the business they started experimenting making automobiles.

In 1903 the two brothers established the Auburn Automobile Company (AAC). That year, at the Chicago Automobile Show, they launched their first car, a chain-drive, single-cylinder, 6hp two seater, with two speed planetary transmission. In 1905 they launched two-cylinder version.

By 1909 they had outgrown their dads workshop and they moved to a larger premises in Auburn, Indiana.

In 1911 they produced their first four cylinder, 25hp model. A year later they produced a six cylinder car powered by a Rutenberger engine. The car was quite advanced for its day having electric headlights and tail lights.

Unfortunately, World War I put a hold to the business and material shortages forced the factory to close. In 1919 the brothers sold the business to a group of investors from Chicago headed by Ralph Austin Bard. The new owners managed to revive the business but were not able to make it profitable. In 1924 they approached Errett Lobban Cord, who at that time was a very successful automobile salesman, with an offer to run the company for them. Cord countered with a leveraged buyout proposal that was accepted. Cord managed to sell off all the old stock quickly and then focused on what would become the glory days for Auburn.

1925 was like a new beginning for Auburn. The new cars introduced that year expressed distinct styling. The new 8 cylinder engines provided both the prestige and performance Cord had desired ever since he became involved in Auburn.

In 1927 Auburn even made a name for itself in stock car racing by winning at Salem, finishing third at Pikes Peak and they managed to exceed 108 mph at Daytona Beach.

In 1928 the first of the now famous Auburn boat tailed speedsters was introduced, styled by Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky. The car was powered by a straight 8, 4.8 litre, Lycoming engine which produced an impressive 115hp. The speedster was a fast car, especially in its day which is supported by the fact that Auburns test driver Wade Morton set a AAA stock car record on the sands at Daytona Beach, Florida on the 20th February 1928 driving a stock bodied 1928 Auburn 115 Speedster at 104.347 miles per hour.

All was good for Auburn and despite the looming recession they managed to sell 22,000 cars in 1929. Somehow Auburn attracted sufficient buyers during the Depression years to keep afloat and its 1930s designs were magnificent. Designers, including Alan Leamy and Gordon Beuhrig styled Auburns, Cords and Duesenbergs of that period.

1930 saw only a slight dip in sales and in 1931 sales increased again. In fact, 1931 was the greatest sales year in the history of the company. They managed to sell 33,000 cars and made a profit of $4.1 million. Unfortunately, sales dropped significantly in 1932 and by 1933 Auburn realised they had to make some drastic changes to survive. In 1934 the company made a huge investment in a new car and whilst sales did increase after that, it was not enough to make the company profitable again. In 1937 Auburn declared bankruptcy.