Motor City

25 July 2015

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Lot 121

1934 Auburn Twelve Salon Speedster

  • Chassis no. 192
  • Engine no. BB 2317U

Sold for $506,000


Model 1250. 160 bhp, 391 cu. in. horizontal-valve V-12 engine, three-speed manual transmission, solid front axle, live two-speed rear axle, front and rear semi-elliptical leaf-spring suspension, and four-wheel vacuum-assisted hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 133 in.

  • Offered from a prominent private collection
  • Formerly owned by Harrah’s Automobile Collection and Terry Radey
  • ACD Club West Coast Best of Show and Best Auburn winner
  • An original Salon Twelve chassis with an original Auburn body


The Auburn Twelve Salon Speedster, one of the most elite of American Classics, was produced only in 1933. It was the sportiest of all Auburns, as it combined the power of the famous Lycoming V-12 with Alan Leamy’s striking “boattail” styling and featured additional chrome trim, unique headlamps, a unique dashboard, and the now-iconic Salon “ribbon” bumpers. It is believed that only nine were originally produced by the factory in Auburn, Indiana. Four genuine survivors are known, all of which are part of long-term, significant private collections.

This car has an original 1934 1250 Salon Twelve chassis, no. 192, and its ownership history has been traced back to the early 1970s, when it was acquired from Harrah’s Automobile Collection by Auburn enthusiast Frank Pfenninger, of New Castle, Indiana. In the same purchase, Mr. Pfenninger also received an original eight-cylinder speedster body, which he mounted on the Salon Twelve’s chassis along with a correct 12-cylinder engine, BB 2317U, from his Salon Twelve Phaeton. The speedster was given the Salon Twelve Phaeton’s original serial number, 1935 H.

This car was eventually acquired from Mr. Pfenninger by the well-known collector Terry Radey, of Ontario. When Mr. Radey elected not to restore the Auburn, his restorer, Bud Hicks, of Marshall, Michigan, arranged its sale to a Midwestern collector of 12-cylinder Auburns. Mr. Hicks then restored the speedster for its new owner in two-tone maroon with a cream interior, and it was an award-winner in Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club National competition. So striking was the Auburn that it was used as the model for the ACD Festival poster in 1998.

In 2000, the Speedster was sold to David Graham, of California, who had the car inspected by Auburn expert Randy Ema and numerous small details corrected and improved. It was then shown that year at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and was an award-winner in AACA competition on the West Coast. Richard Wesselink next acquired the Auburn, and in his hands, it was professionally refinished in deep red with a black interior, as it appears today. The serial number tag was also changed to a new number, 1935 E, as would be correct for a 12-cylinder speedster. The car went on to be awarded Best Auburn and Best of Show at the ACD Club’s West Coast meet prior to its acquisition by the current caretaker for his well-maintained stable of fine American Classics. It has been properly looked after, with recent services including changing of fluids, suspension work, installation of correct nuts and bolts on the firewall, and replacement of the intake/exhaust manifold hardware with correct pieces.

Ideal for further showing in ACD Club events and various concours d’elegance, this is a striking example of one of the most beautiful and prestigious of all Auburns.

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

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+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

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+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

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+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

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+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

drose@rmsothebys.com

+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

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+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

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+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

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+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

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+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

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+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

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+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

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+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

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+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

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+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

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+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

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+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

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+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