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A Dashing 1935 Auburn 851 Phaeton

By Gene Herman:

While the Auburn 852 Speedsters have achieved iconic status amongst classic car enthusiasts, their less flashy brothers are seldom seen on showfields today. In 1935 and ’36, this Indiana based manufacturer produced a full line of cars in six, eight and supercharged eight cylinder guise.

Seen above is a 1934 factory publicity photo of their handsome 1935 Phaeton. Although it shared the rakish good looks of the Speedster, this four door five-seater was meant to appeal to the buyer looking for a more practical car. But even offering four other distinctive body styles (a coupe, a brougham, a cabriolet and a four door sedan) could not this save this pioneer builder of quality automobiles from the ravages of the Great Depression. Although a 1937 product line was announced, the company closed it’s doors forever that same year before any were produced.

Seen below is a video of an all-too-short period promotional film showing the sedan, the coupe and the Speedster in their natural habitat.

You can see many more posts and photos about Auburns here on  The Old Motor (scroll down) and to learn more you can also visit the  Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Club. Photo courtesy of the Donald Ellis Collection.

6 responses to “A Dashing 1935 Auburn 851 Phaeton

  1. The bridge in the first part of the film, looks like the Colorado St. Bridge built in 1911 and crossing the Arroyo Seco. The Adolphus Busch estate or Busch Gardens looks like the setting where the car was filmed. The city is Pasadena, CA. The Colorado St. Bridge is still there as a restored and updated bridge. The Busch Garden Estates is long gone and now consists of numerous homes. Only some street name references and a few footpaths remain.

  2. Summer 1944, my Dad was station in Georgia for Officers Training School. Being a car nut even then, he picked up a 1935 Auburn Phaeton (just another used car then).

    Late 1944, my Dad ships out to Europe, my Mom is pregnant (guess who!) and refused to drive the car back to far upstate (St Lawrence Count) NY!

    I’m not sure my Dad ever really forgave me for the one that got away!

  3. Back in the 1950’s I had a friend in Oklahoma City who had been quite well off in the oil business but subsequently lost most of his wealth (oft told tale). He had three Auburns (all roadsters) left of his former status and kept them in inside storage,’ til he died. When I asked him why he particularly liked Auburn he said that at the time (early and mid 30’s) it was the only car he could trust on high speed runs to Southern California (much of it on gravel surfaces). Highway 66 might have been iconic but not that smooth.

  4. My parents drive a 1935 851 Phaeton (formerly mine) and I drive a 1936 852 Phaeton – fabulours cars and probably the nicest driving of any Classic era automobile (nice power and agile as well).

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