Lot 121

Arizona 2015

1934 Auburn Twelve Salon Cabriolet


$401,500 USD | Sold

United States | Phoenix, Arizona



Chassis No.
1201 F
Engine No.
BB 2219
Body No.
L 58 8
  • An authentic, genuine V-12 Salon Cabriolet
  • One of five known survivors; more rare than a Speedster
  • Long-term California history, known since the 1950s
  • Subject of a 10-year, concours-quality restoration
  • ACD Club Certified Category One (A-404)

Model 1250. 160 bhp, 391 cu. in. horizontal-valve V-12 engine, three-speed manual transmission with Columbia electric overdrive, solid front axle, live two-speed rear axle, front and rear semi-elliptic leaf-spring suspension, and four-wheel vacuum-assisted hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 133 in.

It is well known that some of the greatest American automobiles ever produced were sparked into being by the Great Depression. Among them were Auburn’s 12-cylinder Salon models, which were launched for 1933 in a desperate attempt to improve sales of the slow-selling Auburn Twelve. The Salon Twelve boasted numerous unique features, most visibly a new racing-style vee’d grille, unique headlamp lenses, fenders edged in chrome, and the iconic “ribbon” bumpers. It was also built upon a specially strengthened chassis with adjustable vacuum-boosted brakes. These were not only the best-looking 12-cylinder Auburns, but they were also the most expensive and luxurious. They sold slowly but nonetheless lasted into 1934.

Among the scarcest Salon Twelve body styles is the cabriolet, of which about twenty-seven were built and only five survivors are known. The car offered here is a well-known and genuine example. It was most likely originally delivered in California and had its windshield shortened and top modified to the present configuration early on in its life. Experts agree that the styling updates were probably not undertaken by Auburn, but the car is known to have existed in this form by the 1940s, when it was regularly seen parked on Southern California streets. Some believe that the work was done in order to show the car at a California auto salon, but it is likely that the original owner or another early caretaker had the modifications performed probably prior to the war. Interestingly, according to Auburn historian Randy Ema, at one point the car’s fenders had inner metal bracing, indicating that it had been used for dirt-track racing in the 1940s!

The car was acquired in the 1950s by long-time California ACD enthusiast Gil Curtright. It later passed to Mel Durham and then to well-known Auburn aficionado Steve Warner, whose son recalls using it as a backyard “fort”! It was eventually acquired by Dr. Bob Hoffman, of Redwood City, California, who spent 10 years undertaking a restoration. The present owner acquired the Auburn from Dr. Hoffman and undertook work to freshen its appearance and further improve its authenticity.

This Cabriolet is finished in a striking black and pewter livery and has a black top and grey leather interior. It is well accessorized and equipped with dual sidemounts with metal covers, a rear-mounted luggage rack with a metal trunk, and eye-catching Woodlite headlamps; its chrome wire wheels are shod in blackwall tires. The car is accompanied by paperwork that verifies its ACD Club Category One Certification, issued as A-404, which importantly notes that the car is a true Salon model with its original body.

This stunning Cabriolet is one of the most important, attractive, and respected extant Auburn Salon Twelves. It is a landmark CCCA Full Classic with quality, authenticity, and audacious good looks in abundant measure.