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Roaring Twenties: 1927 Auburn Averages 72.5 MPH On 1000-Mile Run

The United States suffered through a short-lived but sharp economic depression caused by the return to a peacetime economy after World War I between January 1920 to July 1921. It has largely been forgotten after the advent of the “Roaring Twenties,” a time when automakers used the publics interest in board track racing to stage high-speed runs on some of the wooden “Toothpick Palace” speedways as a means of gaining publicity for their offerings.

The Auburn Automobile Company quickly learned the value of this type of a staged event and prepared a 1927 8-88 Roadster for a speed run. The car is pictured below at the Atlantic City Speedway board track in Hammonton, New Jersey after it had covered a distance of 1000-miles at an average speed of 72.51 m.p.h. powered by a Lycoming L-head straight eight engine producing 88 h.p. The time required for the staged publicity run was thirteen and three-quarters hours including pit stops.

Learn more about Auburn’s later speed runs in our earlier coverage of the marque. The lead photo is courtesy of Old Car Advertisements, and the lower photo is courtesy of the National Automotive History Collection at the Detroit Public Library.

13 responses to “Roaring Twenties: 1927 Auburn Averages 72.5 MPH On 1000-Mile Run

  1. The Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg were undoubtedly some of the most advanced and opulent vehicles of the time.
    Unfortunately, due to WWI and two subsequent depressions with very little recovery time in between, only the affluent could enjoy such elegance, let alone race them. The average American blue collar family, not to mention rural farmers, would continue to press vehicles such as the Model T into service well into the late 1930’s and early 40’s. The Model A and Model B were not an uncommon sight well into the 40’s during WWII with gas ration stickers and bald tires. It was not “roaring” for all to be certain. At heart, I am an American auto purist, believing that off the assembly line restoration is prudent to preserve the history but….I am also a realist. Very rarely do we see a Maserati, Bentley, RR, or any other vehicle in that class on our city streets today.
    The more things change, the more they stay the same.
    Keep up the great work here at The Old Motor, as it continues to remind me of my Grandfather’s trip to this country and the business that he started in 1920 and my family’s history. I constantly look forward to new articles !

  2. “Very rarely do we see a Maserati, Bentley, RR, or any other vehicle in that class on our city streets today.”

    Depends on your location, I think. Atlanta, where I am, Maseratis are often seen, and Bentleys are not uncommon. Don’t see a Rolls very often, but it doesn’t surprise me when I do.

    Drive around LA and you will see the same situation. Anywhere there’s a lot of money you’ll see more high-end cars.

    • I do believe you have a valid point Mr. Wells in that location is a factor. My wife and I visit L.A. frequently and I am always excited to go because I know I will be seeing a lot of vintage tin. On Our second to last trip, I rented a 1939 Mercury Convertible (from Vinty) for a wonderful cruise on the Pacific Coast Highway. It was well worth the expense and We stopped at many unforgettable places up and back over 3 days. The trunk held a lot of goodies. I’m thinking for this year, they have a beautiful 1947 Cadillac S62 that would be a very cool, comfortable ride up to San Diego to see Our Grandson who is in the U.S. Navy.

  3. I love the illustration of the Auburn. So beautifully presented. It was a different world of advertising and selling cars back then. Today the Dealers don’t even have brochures. It’s all on computer web sites. Sad.

  4. In 1925 Chandler, with Ralph Mulford at the wheel, claimed they covered 1000 mile in 11.5 hours at an average speed of 86 MPH. I have never believed Chandler’s claim and consider it fanciful. Now we see, two years later, Auburn’s claim of 1000 mile in 13 3/4 hours at an average speed of a bit more believable 72 MPH. Why would Auburn tell the world of their achievment if Chandler had bettered two years earlier. This should make interesting discussion.

  5. While 72 mph is nothing special today ( heck, people do that in school zones now) It was really moving for 1927, and that’s an average, I’m sure it did well above that. I’d have to think 85 mph in something like this on macadam roads, would not be for the faint of heart. As far as classics in L.A. my kids live there, and on a visit, I only saw one classic car driving in the 6 weeks I was there. ( a ’56 Tbird, and the guy was a jerk. The only “full classic” I saw, was Jay Leno driving a brass era roadster in Burbank.

  6. For what it’s worth (and I suspect not much), almost 30 years later than the Auburn run, I drove a ’56 Olds 98 the 800+ miles from Denver to Kansas City in just under 8 hours. At night on 2 lane highways. Ah, the good old days!

  7. The large “balloon” tires are: ( Like all tires are!) Part of the vehicle’s “suspension system” . (take a ride in an early solid rubber tire Truck — and you will appreciate Balloon tires! Many roads were not paved and were either crushed rock or dirt: Winter-time with: snow, ice & partial- melt and re-freeze made for very rough going! The balloon tires (and improved suspension) including the addition of the “Houdaille’ ( hoo – dye”) shock absorber (and other brands) — Plus paving — have allowed today’s tires to look less: Balloon- like. At “their time”, — they allowed a trip to be much less jarring and with less fatigue at journey’s end! Edwin W.

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