Lot 121

Motor City 2015

1934 Auburn Twelve Salon Speedster


$506,000 USD | Sold

United States | Plymouth, Michigan



Chassis No.
Engine No.
BB 2317U
  • Offered from a prominent private collection
  • Formerly owned by Harrah’s Automobile Collection and Terry Radey
  • ACD Club West Coast Best of Show and Best Auburn winner
  • An original Salon Twelve chassis with an original Auburn body

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

The Auburn Twelve Salon Speedster, one of the most elite of American Classics, was produced only in 1933. It was the sportiest of all Auburns, as it combined the power of the famous Lycoming V-12 with Alan Leamy’s striking “boattail” styling and featured additional chrome trim, unique headlamps, a unique dashboard, and the now-iconic Salon “ribbon” bumpers. It is believed that only nine were originally produced by the factory in Auburn, Indiana. Four genuine survivors are known, all of which are part of long-term, significant private collections.

This car has an original 1934 1250 Salon Twelve chassis, no. 192, and its ownership history has been traced back to the early 1970s, when it was acquired from Harrah’s Automobile Collection by Auburn enthusiast Frank Pfenninger, of New Castle, Indiana. In the same purchase, Mr. Pfenninger also received an original eight-cylinder speedster body, which he mounted on the Salon Twelve’s chassis along with a correct 12-cylinder engine, BB 2317U, from his Salon Twelve Phaeton. The speedster was given the Salon Twelve Phaeton’s original serial number, 1935 H.

This car was eventually acquired from Mr. Pfenninger by the well-known collector Terry Radey, of Ontario. When Mr. Radey elected not to restore the Auburn, his restorer, Bud Hicks, of Marshall, Michigan, arranged its sale to a Midwestern collector of 12-cylinder Auburns. Mr. Hicks then restored the speedster for its new owner in two-tone maroon with a cream interior, and it was an award-winner in Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club National competition. So striking was the Auburn that it was used as the model for the ACD Festival poster in 1998.

In 2000, the Speedster was sold to David Graham, of California, who had the car inspected by Auburn expert Randy Ema and numerous small details corrected and improved. It was then shown that year at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and was an award-winner in AACA competition on the West Coast. Richard Wesselink next acquired the Auburn, and in his hands, it was professionally refinished in deep red with a black interior, as it appears today. The serial number tag was also changed to a new number, 1935 E, as would be correct for a 12-cylinder speedster. The car went on to be awarded Best Auburn and Best of Show at the ACD Club’s West Coast meet prior to its acquisition by the current caretaker for his well-maintained stable of fine American Classics. It has been properly looked after, with recent services including changing of fluids, suspension work, installation of correct nuts and bolts on the firewall, and replacement of the intake/exhaust manifold hardware with correct pieces.

Ideal for further showing in ACD Club events and various concours d’elegance, this is a striking example of one of the most beautiful and prestigious of all Auburns.