Lot 124

Monterey 2017

1936 Auburn Eight Supercharged Speedster


$1,017,500 USD | Sold

United States | Monterey, California



Serial No.
852 35209 E
Engine No.
GH 5349
  • The Art Deco performance automobile of the Classic Era
  • An original, authentic example, beautifully restored and a multiple award-winner
  • Formerly of the well-known David Tunick collection
  • Auburn Cord Duesenberg (ACD) Club Certified Category One (A-487)
  • Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic
Addendum: Please refer to rmsothebys.com for an updated and expanded catalogue description.

The audacious 1935–1936 Auburn speedsters boasted curvaceous “boattail” bodywork on a potent supercharged eight-cylinder chassis, with a two-speed rear axle for relaxed highway cruising. A perfect storm of engineering and beauty, these cars combine elegance and modern drivability into an outstanding touring machine. The model has been referred to as the one genuine American sports car of the Classic Era.

Offered here is one of about 150 authentic speedsters produced, and one of fewer still produced as a 1936 852 model. Formerly owned by the late, respected Massachusetts restorer, Ted Billing, it was later hidden away for many years in the famous Connecticut collection of David Tunick, before its sale in 2005 to James Foght of Illinois. Mr. Foght brought the car to the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club, which certified it as a Category One Original Car, noting that it retained its original body, frame, engine, and even the original serial number tag on the firewall.

Subsequently the car was owned by a well-known European collector of performance automobiles, before finding its way into its current American ownership several years ago. While the speedster had been fully restored and shown at Pebble Beach and Villa d’Este, the current owner elected to have the complete drivetrain, including the engine and its ancillaries, rebuilt by his own expert restorer, and the body restored, including new upholstery, top, and paintwork over a body correctly stripped to bare metal. The owner notes that almost $200,000 was spent over the past two years. The car is offered with photographic documentation of the restoration and invoices for the past three years.

Since the fresh restoration work, the Auburn has delighted judges and crowds alike in competition, including Best of Show at Kiawah Island in 2016; Best in Class at Pinehurst (2016), Boca Raton (2016), Santa Fe, and the Art of the Car Concours (2016), and most recently the Concours d’Elegance of Texas (2017); and the Garage Style Magazine Award at the San Marino Motor Classic (2016), in addition to numerous other awards all over the country. It also scored 99.5 points at the Classic Car Club of America Grand Classic in 2016.

Any Auburn speedster is a joy to behold and a surprisingly modern-feeling pleasure to drive. This particular car still holds rank among the finest survivors, and it would be welcomed at continued concours appearances or at Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club events. Few American automobiles pack such an astonishing presence.