Auburn Speedster strikes again as Worldwide reports top auction sales

13th annual collector car event in Auburn, Indiana, totals nearly $8 million

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the 1935 Auburn 851 SC Boattail Speedster brought a 7-figure result | Worldwide photos

Labor Day was a big weekend for Auburns in Auburn, with the two major auction companies holding sales in the Indiana burg reporting Auburn Boattail Speedsters as their highest-selling collector cars.

Worldwide Auctioneers, which held its 13th annual Auburn Auction on Saturday, said that a supercharged 1935 Auburn 851 SC Speedster boattail led the bidding and sold for $1.072 million (all results include auction fees).  The auction’s total results came in at nearly $8 million, Worldwide said, with 90 percent of the offerings sold.

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The Speedster is an iconic design by Gordon Buehrig

RM Auctions, which also held a Labor Day weekend sale in Auburn, said that its highest seller was a similar 1935 Auburn supercharged speedster, which went for $770,000.

Worldwide had one other 7-figure result at its Auburn sale, actually for a set of three cars sold as one lot: the “Trifecta” of factory-built stainless-steel classics, a 1936 Ford Deluxe Sedan, 1960 Ford Thunderbird and 1967 Lincoln Continental Convertible, which sold as a set for $1.045 million. 

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Ford built the stainless-steel-bodied cars as a demonstration of the material

The historic vehicles were conceived by pioneering stainless-steel producer Allegheny Ludlum, Inc. in collaboration with Ford Motor Company in 1935, which resulted in the earliest model of the group, followed by the 1960s cars.

A stunning custom car “capturing the absolute essence of coachbuilt beauty” was Worldwide’s third top seller. The one-off 1936 Cadillac ‘Shangri-La’ custom roadsterby Rick Dore, its hand-formed aluminum body fabricated by Marcel Custom Metal, brought an impressive $550,000.

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The 1936 Cadillac ‘Shangri-La’ custom roadster by Rick Dore,

No less stunning, though on a much smaller scale, was the wonderful all-steel Duesenberg pedal car, also with an Auburn connection as it was created by the late Don Dettmer, an Auburn resident. It sold for adult money at $27,500. 

Highly detailed with Duesenberg trim and one of just four built, the extravagant toy was consigned by the owner who bought it many years ago as a gift for his granddaughter; proceeds from its sale will now go toward her college education, according to Worldwide.

The pedal car boasts intricate Duesenberg design cues

Held under state-mandated pandemic restrictions, the Worldwide Auburn Auction was a hybrid live/online sale with onsite bidding and online bidding via three partner platforms, as well as absentee and telephone bidding.

“We extend sincere thanks to all of those who helped to make our 13th annual sale at home in Auburn such a terrific success, to both our in-person bidders and to the absentee and ‘virtual’ collectors from around the world who have demonstrated that the market for great collector cars is still strong,” said John Kruse, principal and auctioneer, in a news release.

The top-10 highest-seller cars for the Worldwide Auburn Auction were:

1. 1935 Auburn 851 SC supercharged boattail speedster, $1.072 million

2. The “Trifecta” of three stainless-steel Ford and Lincoln cars, $1.045 million

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3. 1936 Cadillac ‘Shangri-La’ custom roadster, $550,000

4. 1941 Chrysler Town & Country “Barrelback” station wagon, $228,000

5. 1934 Chrysler Airflow coupe, $209,000

6. 1935 Packard 1201 Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton, $176,000

7. 1963 Chevrolet Corvette 327/340 “Split-Window” Coupe, $156,750

8. 1934 Packard 1101 Coupe Roadster, $144,100

9. 1956 Ford Custom Truck, $126,500

10. 1998 Dodge Viper GTS-R Coupe, $125,000

(All results include auction fees) For more information, visit the Worldwide website.

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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.

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