Auburn 851 Boattail Speedster
The two photos shown here are courtesy of Mike Harmon. They were made with his Nikon D300.
After it was determined by a group of Crossings readers that the automobile that I featured in the An Unknown Automobile post was a replica, not an original, Mike Harmon, author of The Hashbrown Diaries, sent me the following email.
“Here’s a couple of pics of a Auburn 851 Boattail Speedster at a 2009 auto show held at the design school my younger daughter went to.”
The following authoritative comment was forwarded by Steve Marchionda of Penn Yan, NY.
“Ray, it’s a 1935 Auburn 851 speedster. Can’t tell for sure from the photo if it’s a replicar or the genuine thing. The reason I say that is many of the replicars had the exhaust coming out of the right side of the hood, which the original had the exhaust coming out the left side (which you can’t see in the photo).
“If it is (genuine), it’s a real rare car with a real interesting history. They only made about 600 of them over two years (35 & 36) then the company went under. It had a Lycoming straight 8 with a Cummins supercharger, putting out 155 hp. They ran 100 mph stock off the showroom floor, which for ’35 was fast.
“Price was a whopping $2,450. and even at that they were losing about $600 a car on each one sold. The strategy was to use them to attract people to the showrooms to buy other less expensive models of the cars, that’s why there were so few of them made. They are worth about a half million dollars today if you can find one.”
A few minutes later, another message arrived from Steve.
“It’s a replica. I just zoomed in on your other photo. the real thing had exhaust only on the left.”
So it appears that the photos shown here are of the real thing. I love that color – it just looks right, though it would have been overly flashy in the mid-1930s…