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851 SC Speedster
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  Auburn 851 SC Speedster
 

  Article Image gallery (10) Chassis (1) Specifications  
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Country of origin:United States
Produced in:1935
Numbers built:around 5000 (all versions)
Designed by:Gordon Buehrig
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:December 05, 2005
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Click here to download printer friendly versionOne of the ways Errett Loban Cord attempted to have Auburn survive the depression of the 1930s was to offer the cars at very reasonable prices. Unfortunately the customers did not 'buy' it and believed there had to be something wrong with a 12-cylinder car offered for 8-cylinder Dodge prices. They were wrong, but still the stunning 12-160 model was discarded in 1933; just one year after it was introduced. For 1935 Cord prepared a renewed assault on the market with a new car bearing his own name and a new Auburn model.

Although the 1935 Auburn was an evolutionary model, there were enough changes compared to the previous models to call it a new car. In line with previous models, it was originally known as the 8-851, but the '8' indicating the number of cylinders was quickly dropped. In the top 'SC' model the Lycoming straight eight was equipped with a Schweitzer Cummings Supercharger, boosting power to 150 bhp. To allow for swift acceleration and comfortable high speed cruising a dual ratio differential was fitted that could be operated by a lever on the dashboard.

Auburn's new president Harold Ames commissioned Gordon Buehrig to design a new nose for the 851. The revised radiator grill and fenders were a real improvement over the previous Auburn models. Of the various bodystyles the Speedster version received universal acclaim and is still considered one the greatest designs. The supercharged models were easily recognizable thanks to the four external exhaust headers, since the introduction of the Duesenberg SJ a performance statement. To be absolutely sure nobody mistook the SC for a 'regular' 851, the word 'supercharged' was written on both sides of the engine cover.

Launched on January 1st 1935, the 851's potential was quickly showcased by Ab Jenkins who completed a 12 hour run averaging above 100 mph in a completely stock SC Speedster. To commemorate this achievement all SC Speedsters received a plaque on the dashboard. In its first year the 851 seemed to turn Auburn's fortunes around with a production run of close to 5000 cars. For 1936 very little changed in the line, but for reasons unknown the model was now known as the 852. Sales dropped dramatically to just 1850 and Cord decided to immediately end Auburn production.

Even though the Auburn production stretched over four decades there is really only one model that the manufacturer is still known for today; the last one. Ever since Cord bought the company in 1924 he used for his own financial benefits and to test new marketing strategies, which is what the great cars did not deserve. With the help of Harold Ames and Gordon Buehrig the company went out with a bang and will always be remembered for the marvelous Speedster.

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  Article Image gallery (10) Chassis (1) Specifications