1930 Auburn 8-95 Cabriolet

After having been saved from oblivion during the mid-1920s by super salesman E.L. Cord, Auburn embarked on a new path to profitability and growth under Cord’s ownership. Once firmly at the company’s helm, one of Cord’s earliest and most astute moves was his decision to reposition Auburn upmarket with the addition of new eight-cylinder model lines, offering ample power output, reliability, and the scope for further development – all at a startlingly affordable price range.

Lycoming produced these engines to Auburn specifications and subsequently, the respected engine maker would form a key component of E.L. Cord’s fast-growing transportation-related industrial empire. So powered, the eight-cylinder Auburn models formed the core of Auburn’s model lines and helped Auburn set a succession of officially observed speed records through the company’s remaining lifetime that sadly ended once and for all in 1937 with the ultimate demise of Cord’s once-vast industrial enterprises and the redirection of his wealth and energies into California real estate.

While Auburn only ever reached a single-digit market share at the height of its production, the company’s automobiles remain highly prized by Classic Era® enthusiasts and collectors today. This enviable cachet among collectors is understandable today, given the high quality of engineering, materials, and workmanship that set Auburn apart from many competing marques.  An Auburn was certainly far above many other eight-cylinder competitors, featuring extremely sturdy frames, carefully specified mechanical components, and advanced features including Bijur central chassis lubrication and by 1928, four-wheel hydraulic brakes – an innovation not adopted by many competitors until the latter 1930s.

In particular, Auburn’s engines were thoroughly tested prior to their installation using a 40-unit test room and external propeller-drive system simulating an uphill climb at a steady 25 miles per hour and wide-open throttle operation over an 11-14 hour timeframe, equal to a distance of approximate 300 miles.

Under Cord’s leadership, captivating styling and bold color combinations set Auburn automobiles apart from the pack, especially with the hiring of young ex-Marmon designer Alan Leamy in 1928. First assigned to update the 1929 Auburn models for 1930 with improvements in passenger comfort and usability, Leamy went on to acclaim for his foundational design work on the front-drive Cord L-29, Duesenberg Model J, and original boattail Auburn Speedster.

Exuding pure “Jazz Age” glamour and sportiness, this 1930 Auburn 8-95 Cabriolet is simply a thrilling find for collectors and enthusiasts of these Classic Era® icons. Over $300k was invested in its restoration, over and above the cost of the car itself, with the work completed in 2017 by Manns Restoration. Resplendent in red and black, accented by the black fenders and folding top, the Auburn is handsomely upholstered in black leather with smart red piping. Greeting the driver is a large 4-speke steering wheel and handsome wood grain dash containing a visually striking instrument panel housing a dial-type speedometer, odometer and trip odometer, plus gauges monitoring fuel level, amperage, oil pressure and coolant temperature. A rare Harrison under-dash heater rounds out the passenger compartment.

Period-appropriate exterior options and accessories include dual Trippe Safety Lights, chrome radiator stone guard and twin side mounted spares with chrome mirrors. A fully upholstered golf-club compartment is found to the rear of the passenger-side door, providing occasional storage as required, a jaunty rumble seat yields additional passenger room, with access eased by step plates, and a fold-down luggage rack and twin brake lights round out the Auburn’s very well-appointed exterior. Road contact is provided by a set of period style Michelin blackwall tires surrounding stainless wire wheels with red painted rims and outer brake drums.

Confirming the excellence of its restoration, the Auburn has earned multiple awards and accolades on the concours lawn, including 1st in Class at the Keeneland Concours d’Elegance in 2018, followed by another 1st in Class award at Ault Park in 2021. Most appropriately, the Cabriolet received the Mayor’s Choice Award at the 2022 ACD Festival in Auburn, Indiana, where it also received its ACD Club certification. Photographs and invoices document the restoration of this wonderful 1930 Auburn 8-95 Cabriolet and are included with the sale of the vehicle. Handsomely restored and presented throughout, this dashing CCCA Full Classic® automobile is of course eligible for a truly enviable array of shows, events and tours, where it will serve as a captivating reminder of Auburn’s greatness.


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