11-12 October 2012

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Lot 149

1935 Auburn 653 Convertible Sedan

  • Chassis no. 1937H
  • Engine no. WF3922

$80,000 - $100,000

85 hp, 210 cu. in. L-head six-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 120 in.

• Attractive Phaeton Sedan from the last year of production

• Final Auburn redesign by Gordon Buehrig, who created the Cord 810

It was not until 1924, when E.L. Cord was invited by a group of bankers to assume the presidency of the failing company, that Auburn’s fortunes improved. Cord immediately hired J.M. Crawford to redesign the Auburn model line, which formed the basis of the massive Cord Corporation. While the Great Depression resulted in the collapse of the once-buoyant auto market, Auburn sales increased considerably, yet corporate profits fell substantially. In 1931, Auburn produced 32,301 cars, making the firm the 13th-largest producer of automobiles in America. This triumph, however, was short-lived, as sales declined in both 1932 and 1933.

For 1934, the Auburn line-up was restyled by Al Leamy. The styling was not well received, and by mid-1934, the assembly lines were halted so that the much improved, face-lifted 1935 model could be rushed into production. Designer Gordon Buehrig was allotted a $50,000 budget to improve the styling, and he succeeded with such changes as a handsome grille, semi-pontoon front fenders, and an enlarged hood. Auburn sales brochures declared the latest Gordon Buehrig design as being “Exclusive-Distinctive-Individual”, and notably, Hollywood stars such as Mary Astor and George Murphy drove 1935 Auburns. Moreover, the 1935 Auburn models were praised for their improved ride and handling, thanks to a lowered center of gravity, a reduction of unsprung weight, and lower seat placement.

An older cosmetic restoration, this example is finished in a lovely shade of red with a tan cloth top. The interior is a sumptuous chocolate brown, which is invitingly worn. The exterior is adorned by a set of Trippe Safety Lights and body-color wire wheels, including a rear-mounted spare, with wide whitewall tires. This is one of the most stately yet least expensive ways to enter the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg family and holds the promise of driving enjoyment and camaraderie.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver


+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat


+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht


+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig


+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose


+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould


+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff


+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach


+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry


+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut


+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire


+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn


+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin


+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill


+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher


+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers


+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden


+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more