The Auburn Automobile Company of Auburn, Indiana only manufactured cars for a brief 37 years, but these beautifully-designed cars are still coveted by collectors today. Auburn grew out of the Eckhart Carriage Company, founded in 1874 by Charles Eckhart. Eckhart’s sons started manufacturing cars in 1900 with limited success, but were forced to shut down production during World War I due to materials shortages. The company was resuscitated in 1919 by new owners, sold again in 1924, and reached the peak of its success in the late 1920s.
The Auburn Twelve Speedster was sold at a surprisingly low price for a 12-cylinder car — around $1,000. And it wasn’t just a bargain; it was fast too, setting several speed records at Muroc Dry Lake in California’s Mojave Desert (now part of Edwards Air Force Base). And of course, it was stunningly good-looking, with sleek lines, swooping fenders, and a unique “boattail” back end. Unfortunately, remarkable as it was, this car and the other Auburn models that followed couldn’t keep the company afloat. When the Great Depression hit, demand for new automobiles crashed. The Auburn Automobile Company ceased production in 1936 and closed down completely the following year. The company headquarters is now the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum.