When we think of classic American made cars most of us immediately think of Detroit and Ford, GM and Chrysler. Another place to look is Auburn, Indiana, home of the Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg Museum. Founded in 1900, for the next 36 years, the Auburn Automobile Company manufactured luxurious performance cars for the upper crust of society. The museum is a paradise for car lovers of all stripes.
The Auburn company produced three name plates. The Auburn was the companies mainstay automobile and in 1903 a new one cylinder Auburn could be had for the princely sum of $1400. By 1932 a 12 Cylinder version of the Auburn could be purchased for $1425.
Introduced in 1929, the Indianapolis 500, inspired Cord was the first production front wheel drive car offered for sale. The price was about $3200. Within months of the introduction of the Cord models the stock market crash of '29 started the company's demise.
The third nameplate was to become the most famous of cars to come out of Auburn. Introduced at the end of 1928, the Duesenberg Model J was aimed directly at the top of the upper crust. Originally selling for $8500 (for the chassis only) Coach work was extra and started at $2500 and went up from there. The mid 1930's price for a completed car ranges in the "mid teens". These were unbelievable prices for an unbelievable automobile.
The company also entered the fast growing airplane market. Manufacturing quality engines to put the country into the air.
By 1936 the great depression had devastated the company. the Auburn Automobile Company was sold in 1937 after producing just over 177,000 automobiles in its 36 year life span.
The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum (ACD Museum) is worth the visit for anyone with even the slightest interest in cars and the life of the rich during the depression. Many of the cars in the museum have a current value well in excess of $1 million. It is located in Auburn, Indiana, 20 miles North of Fort Wayne off of I-69.
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