“The Year of the Speedster” is the theme for the 62nd Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival taking place August 25 to September 2 in Auburn, Indiana, the town that gave its name to the Auburn Automobile Company and also became the home of the Cord and Duesenberg brands.
In addition to the community events organized by the festival committee, the Labor Day weekend activities include collector car auctions staged by RM Auctions and by Auburn’s hometown Worldwide Auctioneers.
Activities begin August 25 at 6 p.m. with “Cheers to the Festival — Speedster Soiree” at the Auburn City Steakhouse, where guests are encouraged to dress in blue and white just like the Speedster in the festival’s 2018 poster.
August 25 also marks the start of the 86th annual DeKalb County Free Fall Fair which runs through September 30 with events both in downtown Auburn and at the county fairgrounds.
Other festival activities include a tour of local car collectors’ garages on August 26; an ACD Factory reunion and car show on August 30; a driving tour on August 31 of the 28-mile route used by Auburn engineers to test their new cars, and a downtown Auburn cruise-in and car show that same day; the Parade of Classics, featuring historic Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg automobiles, beginning at 1 p.m. on September 1; the Fast and Fabulous concert from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. on September 1, with the Fast and Fabulous fireworks display starting at 9:30 p.m.
There also are activities at the historic Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, including the 13th annual museum-benefit Extravaganza dinner on August 30.
The featured exhibit at the museum is “Boattails: Supercars of the Golden Age” featuring eight streamlined, boattailed speedsters by Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg.
Auburn produced 887 boattail cars from the late 1920s into the mid-’30s. Five of those cars are part of the museum’s exhibit, which also includes a 1932 Duesenberg Torpedo convertible coupe, two re-creations of the 1929 Auburn Cabin Speedster — the original car was destroyed in the fire that swept the Los Angeles auto show that year — and a re-creation of the 1931 Cord L-29 Speedster.
Other special exhibits at the museum include a tribute to designer Alan H. Leamy: Creator of Classics, and John Dillinger: The Hoosier Hoodlum.
Walk out the museum entrance, turn to the right and you can enter former L-29 Cord, Experimental and Service buildings that now house the National Automotive and Truck Museum of the U.S. During the festival, this becomes the site of the annual Worldwide Auctioneers sale, scheduled for September 1.
Due to cars coming in groups from private collections, the auction docket for this year swells from its usual 70 or so to 110. The Godbey Family Collection is sending 43 vehicles, and the Jack and Donna Steele Pontiac Collection is sending 24 cars.
The Auburn Auction Park just south of the town will again be the site of RM Auctions’ multi-day sale which this year will feature 700 vehicles including a 1929 Auburn 120 Eight Speedster, 1930 Cord L-29 cabriolet and 1929 Duesenberg Model J with coachwork by Derham/Bohman & Schwartz, all three vehicles offered without reserve from the Richard L. Burdick Collection.
Burdick, an engineer and successful businessman, founded the Central Texas Museum of Automotive History in 1982 and later Dick’s Classic Garage, both of which in 2019 will be enfolded into the Richard L. Burdick Foundation to provide financial assistance to charities investing in character-based education.
Going to auction from the collection are a 1929 Auburn, serial 2950509, one of two dozen surviving first-generation speedsters; 1930 Cord No. 2928096, never fully restored and retaining its original chassis, engine and body, and showing only 65,000 miles on its odometer; and the 1929 Duesenberg (engine J-118), also with original engine and chassis, and its acclaimed bodywork.
All three are six-figure vehicles, and RM Auctions expects the Duesenberg to sell for as much as $950,000.
Also on the docket are 14 vehicles from the Duffy Grove Collection, including the 1958 Buick “Wells Fargo” convertible, a one-off show car built for Dale Robertson of the television series Tales of Wells Fargo.
In addition, 13 cars will be offered from the Calumet Collection, ranging from a 1913 Maxwell Model 25 touring to a 1999 Cadillac Deville state limousine, and 31 vehicles from The Shrine of the Holy Grille Collection of Carolyn and the late Jim Popp, featuring Edsels and Lincolns, including a 1979 Continental Mark V driven only 26 miles.
For a complete list of 62nd ACD Festival events, visit the Festival website.