Lot 157

2022   |   Pebble Beach Auctions

1932 Auburn 12-160A Boattail Speedster

From The Tony Vincent Estate Collection


$750,000 - $1,000,000


12-160A 2280 E


BB 708

Car Highlights

Among the Most Exciting Two-Place Designs of the Classic Era

Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Category-1 Certified Example

Striking and Dramatic Color Combination

One of Just 1,261 Examples of 12-Cylinder Auburns of All Body Styles

An Ideal CCCA Full Classic to Show or Tour

Technical Specs

391 CID Lycoming L-Head V-12 Engine

Twin Stromberg Downdraft Carburetors

160 BHP at 3,200 RPM

3-Speed Manual Gearbox with Columbia Dual-Ratio Rear Axle

4-Wheel Vacuum-Assisted Drum Brakes

Front Beam-Axle with Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs

Rear Live-Axle Suspension with Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs

Register to Bid

Garth Hammers

Fred Massey, Nashville, Tennessee (acquired in 1963)

Henry Romersa, Nashville, Tennessee (acquired from the above in 1970)

Tom Crook, Auburn, Washington (acquired from the above by the early 1980s)

John Farrell, Seattle, Washington (acquired from the above in 1982)

William Lassiter, West Palm Beach, Florida (acquired from the above in 1984)

Desmond Fitzgerald, Greenwich, Connecticut (acquired from the above in 1989)

Robert Pass, St. Louis, Missouri (acquired from the above in 1999)

Dale Fowler, Anaheim, California (acquired circa early 2000s)

Tom Crook, Auburn, Washington (reacquired by mid-2000s)

Tony Vincent (acquired from the above in 2008)

Making its debut in 1931, the Alan Leamy-designed Boattail Speedster was by far the most sporting member of Auburn’s new product lineup. Its bold, subtly tapered radiator shell, high hood line, and diminutive and steeply raked V-windscreen atop a rounded cowl flowed perfectly through the cockpit into elegant compound curves to a sharply angled tail. With the Speedster, E.L. Cord gave Auburn a new calling card that, as intended, elevated the popularity of the entire Auburn line, driving traffic to showrooms across the US. The cars were lauded in the press with Business Week declaring that the new Auburns were more car for the money than the public had ever seen.

In response to their impressive speed and style, demand for Auburns grew exponentially, and the company posted robust sales through the early years of the Great Depression. Mr. Cord then outdid his own best efforts when, in 1932, he debuted the new Auburn V-12 with prices starting under $1,000. This is the same category of Auburn that broke every existing stock car speed record from 1–500 miles in 1932, becoming the champion class B production car for that year. Among the impressive numbers it achieved at Muroc Dry Lake during these AAA Contest Board runs was a flying mile at 100.77 mph. The Speedster then continued breaking records by the dozen, including the grueling 500-mile record at an average of 88.95 mph. This was more than an impressive debut for the V-12’s performance and reliability, and many of these records would remain unbroken until after WWII.

The striking Boattail Speedster offered here is finished in black and silver with a complementing black leather interior, with its history known for much of the past 60 years. It was discovered for sale in Atlanta in 1963 and has been in an enthusiast’s hands in the years since. Beginning in the late 1970s, it received a cosmetic restoration, finished in two shades of red, and in 1982 it was chosen to lead the ACD parade in Auburn, Indiana, during the club’s annual festivities. Soon thereafter, the Auburn joined the much admired Florida-based collection of Bill Lassiter via respected classic car collector Tom Crook of Washington. Then in 1999, in the ownership of noted lifelong collector Robert Pass, the Speedster was thoroughly inspected by the ACD Club’s certification team and was granted Category-1 status.

In the early 2000s, following a refinish in its present colors by Twin Brooks Restoration Inc. of Suffield, Connecticut, under the ownership of Californiabased collector Dale Fowler, the Speedster was reacquired by Mr. Crook, and was mechanically restored by Murray Motor Car in Monroe, Washington. The extensive work reportedly included a chassis refurbishment, brake service, suspension work, and a restoration of the Columbia dual ratio differential.

Interestingly, the Auburn sports six 16" drop-enter chrome wire wheels, rather than the 17" units typically fitted to the model, lowering the car, which may be to improve its road manners at speed.

Joining The Tony Vincent Estate Collection in 2008, this Speedster has continued to receive expert care; it has enjoyed pride of place during Mr. Vincent’s 14 years with the car, having been seen in public only minimally.

Presented here is a respected and well-known CCCA Full Classic, perfect for CARavans, vintage rallies, and tours as well as gatherings overseas, where it is sure to be a most unusual, yet capable entry. With its design as exciting today as when it first debuted, and in light of the model’s newsworthy recordbreaking performance, this Auburn represents a rare opportunity for the most enlightened collector.