Lot 443

Hershey 2023

1934 Auburn Twelve Salon Cabriolet


$440,000 USD | Sold

United States Flag | Hershey, Pennsylvania



Serial No.
1201 F
Engine No.
BB 2219
US Title
  • An authentic, genuine V-12 Salon Cabriolet
  • One of about 27 produced; one of only five known survivors; rarer than a Speedster
  • Long-term California history, known since the 1950s; unique, shortened windscreen; desirable Columbia two-speed rear axle
  • Benefits from a previous, 10-year, concours-quality restoration
  • ACD Club Certified Category One (A-404); CCCA Full Classic

Among the most extraordinary automobiles spurred by the Great Depression are Auburn’s 12-cylinder Salon models. Launched for 1933 to improve sales of the slow-selling Auburn Twelve, the Salon Twelve boasted numerous unique features, most visibly a new racing-style V-shaped grille, unique headlamp lenses, fenders edged in chrome, and the iconic “bowtie” bumpers. It was also built upon a specially strengthened chassis with Lockheed adjustable vacuum-boosted brakes. These were not only the best-looking 12-cylinder Auburns, but they were also the most expensive and luxurious. The Salon models sold slowly, lasting into 1934.

Understood to be one of about 27 examples of the Auburn Salon Twelve Cabriolet produced for the model’s final year, this car is rarer still, one of only five believed to remain in existence. Rarest of the Salon Twelve body styles, the Cabriolet coachwork was produced by the Central Manufacturing Company, one of parent-company Cord Corporation’s many subsidiaries. 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 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 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, possibly indicating that it had been used for dirt-track racing in the 1940s.

Long-time California Auburn-Cord-Deusenberg enthusiast Gil Curtright acquired the car in the 1950s. 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 noted ACD Club member and marque collector Dr. Bob Hoffman, of Redwood City, California, who spent 10 years undertaking a restoration, with Mr. Ema providing assistance in sourcing necessary parts.

The next owner, residing in Colorado, commissioned work to freshen its appearance and further improve its authenticity. The car was taken to its birthplace in Auburn, Indiana for evaluation during the 2002 Labor Day Weekend ACD Club Festival. There, this rare Auburn received the coveted ACD Club Level One Certification, issued as A-404, which importantly confirms that it is a true Salon model with its original body, frame, and engine. Also of note, the Salon’s Dual Ratio two-speed Columbia rear axle adds exceptional flexibility, proven with the prior owner on long-range tours.

Noted collector, the late Terrence E. Adderley acquired the car in 2015 and lovingly maintained it for some years as part of his extensive collection. This Salon Twelve Convertible Coupe exemplifies pure Jazz Age presence with its dashing open body accommodating up to four, thanks to the jaunty rumble seat at the rear. Finished in pewter with black accents and a black canvas top, the Auburn features excellent brightwork, including its distinctive bumpers and proper 17-inch Auburn chrome wire-spoke wheels. Period-correct features and accessories abound and include the stunning chrome Woodlite headlamps, twin Auburn-scripted Pilot Ray accessory lights, dual side-mounted spares with steel cases and chrome mirrors, dual cowl lamps, and rear luggage rack and trunk.

Trimmed in gray leather, the inviting passenger compartment features an Art Deco-inspired dash, comprehensive instrumentation, and an ultra-rare period Philco radio atop the chromed steering column. Recent professional attention includes full engine and interior detailing. Sure to create a sensation wherever it appears, this beautifully presented, incredibly rare, and stylish 1934 Auburn Twelve Salon Cabriolet will certainly provide a welcome entry into a multitude of Classic Car Club of America events and CARavan tours, where its power and presence will enchant all who are fortunate enough to experience it directly.