Auburn, Indiana, former home of the Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg brands, has become something of a mecca for automobile enthusiasts. The big gathering takes place each Labor Day weekend for the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival and associated events.
But there’s a spring-time automotive tradition in the northeast Indiana community as well — the collector car auction, most recently taking place at the Auburn Auction Park just one exit on I-69 south of the town.
The auction dates to the days of Dean Kruse’s sales. It was acquired by RM Auctions, which operated it under its Auctions America brand. RM became part of RM Sotheby’s and last year, Auctions America was put into hiatus, with prestigious catalog sales held under the RM Sotheby’s banner and other events as RM Auctions.
Around 400 vehicles will be offered up for bidding on May 11-12. Also taking place at the same location is the annual Triple Crown Meet, staged by the Antique Automobile Club of America, and this year in conjunction with the Nash Car Club of America.
The weekend also includes a swap meet and car corral.
Highlights of the Auburn Spring auction docket include a 1931 Cord L-29 cabriolet; several 1950s American cars, always a popular attraction with Auburn bidders; and a 2006 Ford GT.
“We’re excited to continue the Auburn tradition with our first event of the year at the Auburn Auction Park,” Gord Duff, global head of auctions for the RM Sotheby’s Group, said in a news release. “Auburn Spring has always proven to be a great way to kick off the summer auction season, as well as a car-filled weekend for collectors and enthusiasts of all ages, tastes, and budgets.”
Among the cars expected to attract the highest bids is the 1931 Cord L-29. The car’s pre-sale estimated value is $225,000 to $250,000, considerably more than the $750 a Mr. Huffey of Cincinnati paid for the vehicle in 1946.
“The Cord passed through a handful of owners before landing with a collector in 1980, who drove the car to his private museum in the American West, where it remained until 2013,” RM Auctions noted, adding that the car reatins its original chassis, engine and cabriolet body and recently underwent a complete restoration back to showroom condition.
Featured cars from the 1950s on the auction docket include a 1955 Mercury Montclair Sun Valley with a Plexiglass half-roof; a 1954 Buick Skylark, one of only 836 produced for that model year; and a 1957 Ford Thunderbird, an E-Code factory hot rod.
The docket also includes the Duffy Grove Collection, which includes a 1951 Frazer Manhattan convertible sedan and 1958 Imperial Crown convertible among group of cars from the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.
Like the ’31 Cord, the 2006 Ford GT has a substantial pre-sale estimated value — $250,000 to $300,000, though it is being offered without reserve. The car has been registered to only one owner, has been driven only 3,800 miles, and is equipped with three factory options — racing stripes, forged BBS wheels and upgraded McIntosh audio.
The complete auction docket is available on the RM Sotheby’s website.