HomePick of the Day1935 Auburn 851 Cabriolet

1935 Auburn 851 Cabriolet


The 1935 Auburn 851 Cabriolet is a stunning example of the classic design era
The 1935 Auburn 851 Cabriolet is a stunning example of the classic design era

In honor of the 20th anniversary of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance next week, the Pick of the Week is an elegant and sporty 1930s classic that’s also located in Florida.

This 1935 Auburn 851 Cabriolet is fully restored, according to the seller, in an eye-catching paint scheme of bright red with black accents, red upholstery and black fabric top.

The Auburn is handsomely streamlined
The Auburn is handsomely streamlined

The Cabriolet might not be as familiar as Auburn’s legendary boat-tail Speedster, but it is a gorgeous convertible that exemplifies the streamlined styling of the era. This sports model was originally penned by Auburn designer Al Leamy, who left the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg dynasty in 1934. The finished product is attributed to the acclaimed Gordon Buehrig and his design team, which mainly contributed the distinctive grille, front fenders and other details.

The Sarasota classic car dealership that’s advertising the Auburn on ClassicCars.com is a bit light on the description, but that’s made up with a gallery of 100 photos that show the car’s pristine bodywork, interior, engine compartment and undercarriage. The striking dashboard is totally decked out with Art Deco design cues.

The dashboard is an array of Art Deco style
The dashboard is an array of Art Deco style

These Auburns are known for their roadworthy drivability as well as their beauty. The seller describes this one as a “nice driving example.”

The 851 is powered by a normally aspirated Lycoming straight-8 engine, which is less rare or valuable than the more-potent supercharged version. Still, it is one of just 1,850 Cabriolets built, the seller notes, and it would be a joy to drive and show.

Naturally, these things don’t come cheap, and the asking price is $149,900. But it never hurts to dream, especially when you imagine yourself driving this lovely Auburn along the Gulf Coast, top down on a balmy spring day.


Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.
  1. The 30s produced some of the finest designs and looks of all time. I remember, as a young kid, living in NE Mpls, watching a neighbor get into his 1935 Packard Phaeton 4-door V-12 (he rode in the back seat of this chauffeur driven car) and literally lusting over that car. A cream body with tan fenders and accents, brown leather interior… just the memory stirs my love for all old classic cars. He also had a chauffeur driven 1938 Packard V-12 enclosed limo, dark blue, wide whites… yeah, I lusted after that one also.
    This Cord is a prime example of the styling leaps made in automobiles in the 30s. Chryslers, Cadillacs, Buicks, Cords, Studebakers, Auburns, even the Lincolns of that day were all interesting, innovative and beautiful in my eyes. Still are.
    Now if I can just win a few bucks in the lotto….

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