Lot 21

2022   |   Pebble Beach Auctions

1936 Auburn 852 SC Boattail Speedster

SOLD $692,500


$800,000 - $1,000,000




GH 5267

Car Highlights

Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg-Certified Example

Breathtaking Design and Exceedingly Rare Art Deco Masterpiece

Multiple Award Winner

Exhaustively Researched Restoration

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® and Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance® Veteran

Technical Specs

280 CID Lycoming L-Head Inline 8-Cylinder Engine

Stromberg EX-32 Carburetor

Schwitzer-Cummins Centrifugal Supercharger

150 BHP at 4,400 RPM

3-Speed Manual Gearbox with 2-Speed Columbia Rear End

4-Wheel Hydraulic Drum Brakes

Front Beam Axle with Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs

Rear Live Axle with Semi-Elliptical Leaf Springs

Register to Bid

Justin Gosaynie

Joseph Coppola, Novi, Michigan (acquired circa 2002)

Jim Patterson, Louisville, Kentucky (acquired circa 2003)

Paul Petrovich, Sacramento, California (acquired from the above in 2006)

John Stafford III, Chicago, Illinois (acquired from the above in 2012)

Current Owner (acquired from the above in 2015)

Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance, 2003 (People’s Choice Award)

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, August 2011

Niello Concours at Serrano, California, October 2011 (Best in Show)

Legendary designer Gordon Buehrig delivered a triumphant, stylistic update of Alan Leamy’s inspired design of the 1932 Auburn Boattail, creating a completely new persona for the most sporting of Auburns. It also had more than a passing resemblance to the one-off Weymann-bodied Duesenberg Tapertail Speedster. Buehrig left the existing top, doors, and windshield of the previous model while integrating the cowl with the new Auburn front-end design. He created a new tail section and added voluptuous pontoon fenders, all with spectacular results.

This stunning 1936 Auburn 852 SC Boattail Speedster bears the results of two no-expense-spared restorations. The first, conducted in 2002 and undertaken by Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg enthusiast Joe Coppola, led to this Speedster being awarded an AACA National First Prize. The Auburn was then entered into the 2003 Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance, where it received the People’s Choice Award. The car was then sold privately to respected collector Jim Patterson of Louisville, Kentucky, before being acquired by Auburn devotee Paul Petrovich of Sacramento in 2006. Upon being invited to the 2011 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, and with only 250 miles covered since its 2002 restoration, the Auburn was again disassembled in preparation for a restoration to a new level that included reshaping the fenders, hood, and splash pans to precise, original factory measurements.

In almost daily collaboration with a senior ACD judge, nearly all parts and finishes of this car were examined, replaced, or refinished in pursuit of the most accurate presentation possible. The attention to detail was assisted through access to an original, unrestored 1935 Auburn 851 SC Speedster located in Wisconsin that was cross-referenced with rare, factory production-line photographs. Further, the five-freeze-plug Lycoming straight-eight engine, which was sourced for the car during the initial restoration, was inspected to verify that it was indeed equipped with the special modified crankshaft, connecting rods, and oil pan common only to supercharged-series engines. This Speedster also has the rare and correct 1 3/8” venturi-port Stromberg EX-32 carburetor that was unique to Auburn’s supercharged offerings between 1935 and 1936. Ultimately, thousands of hours were devoted to the restoration, and the results are immediately evident. In late 2010, this Speedster completed the evaluation process for certification by the ACD Club and was granted certificate number A-503, according to a copy of the certification paperwork on file.

When placing an order for a new Auburn Speedster in the mid-1930s, for an additional $65 it could be painted in any custom color imaginable. Beyond the design and mechanical restoration, it is the color of this car that sets it apart from its peers. This Speedster is finished in a deep maroon with a hint of dark brown that is best characterized as “Auburn.” When viewed in bright sunlight, the finish takes on a deeper and more complex hue and is truly breathtaking.

The Auburn was then invited to compete in the prestigious Niello Concours at Serrano in El Dorado Hills, California, where it was awarded Best in Show, chosen from a field of worthy competitors. In 2012, the Auburn joined the diverse collection of respected collector John Stafford III of Chicago, before being acquired by the consignor seven years ago. In its current ownership, numerous small mechanical items have been dutifully addressed, including service to some of the instruments, the Columbia differential actuator, and the clutch linkage.

The approximately 50 surviving original 1935–1936 Auburn Boattail Speedsters – with their sparkling, external, stainless-steel exhaust – present an amazing experience to own and drive. The fact that this car has been certified by the ACD Club only adds to its significance. These Speedsters in many ways became the rolling icons of the era and hold a place in the top echelons of all American cars of the period, and this example is virtually in a class unto itself. Given the historically strong values of these individually hand-built works of art, bidders are encouraged to carefully consider this remarkable opportunity to own an Art Deco masterpiece.