Three Second Generation Auburns for Sale

Posted: Feb 27 2020

 

 
 
 
The Beginning

The Auburn Automobile Company grew out of the Eckhart Carriage Company, founded in Auburn, Indiana, in 1874 by Charles Eckhart. Eckhart’s sons, Frank and Morris, experimented making automobiles before entering the business in earnest, absorbing two other local carmakers and moving into a larger plant in 1909. It was successful until material shortages during WWI slowed production to a halt. 


In 1919 the Eckhart brothers sold the company to a group of Chicago investors headed by Ralph Austin Bard. Soon after, Errett Lobban Cord, a highly successful automobile salesman, bought out that group and sold the inventory until 1925. He hired Indiana-based auto designer Gordon Buerhig who created one of the most beautiful cars of his generation: The Auburn Eight. With its aerodynamic profile and unique boat-tail rear, Buehrig’s design was an instant success, igniting a fire under Errett Lobban Cord’s fledgling company and moving Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg to the forefront of the industry. Sadly, it was an uphill battle for the producer of hand-built technologically advanced automobiles. The Great Depression took its toll. In 1936 Auburn ceased production, with Cord following a year later.

 
 
 
 
Second Generation

During the short history of the Auburn Automobile Company, 16 different models were produced. One of the most popular models being the 1936 Auburn Boattail Speedster. Since the end of Auburn, people around the world have sought after these vehicles. To fill this demand, people like Glenn Pray, and companies like California Custom Coach and Speedster Motorcar have emerged. These companies have the experience and resources to craft replicas of these boattails unlike anyone else. 

 

Glenn Pray

Here at St. Louis Car Museum & Sales we have three examples of these Auburn Boattail Speedster Replicas for sale. The first is an Auburn built by Glenn Pray. It is finished in Wimbleton White over Red interior and has 21,000 miles on its 460ci V8 engine since its completion in 1976. 

 

On March 24, 2011 the world of Auburn, Cord, and Duesenberg lost a colorful member and enthusiastic promoter in Glenn Pray.

 

Pray was a schoolteacher in Oklahoma when he acquired the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Company in 1960.  This firm had been established in 1938 by Dallas Winslow, a Buick dealer from Flint, Michigan, who purchased the remaining assets of Auburn Automobile Company and continued to offer parts and service from the original administration building in Auburn.  Pray moved the remaining parts stock to a former cannery--the infamous "Pickle Plant"--in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and went into business.

 

In the years to come, Pray acquired a reputation as one of the foremost dealers in Auburn and Cord parts, which he sold from the original parts bins in which they arrived in Broken Arrow.  A visit to the “Pickle Plant” became a tradition for enthusiasts traveling west, who would spend time searching the bins for that elusive piece to complete their restoration. It is because of Glenn Pray that the original parts for our favorite cars were saved and became available to future generations, as they had been available in the 1940s and 1950s.

 

Pray’s other major contribution to the ACD world was the introduction of a new Auburn and Cord in the 1960s.  These were the original “replicars,” although Pray himself disdained the term, preferring “second generation.” Arguably Pray’s "second generation” cars were the finest of their type, and while they were not a financially successful venture for him, they have built their own devoted following. Today, they are recognized alongside the originals of the Classic Era by the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club, which refers to them, fittingly, as the Second Generation Cars.

 

Whether your favorite Auburn or Cord hails from the 1930's or the 1970's, Glenn Pray had what it took to keep it going.

 

California Custom Coach

Next we have a 1936 Auburn 876 Boattail Phaeton built by California Custom Coach(CCC). This elegant roadster is finished in Almond Beige and Chocolate Brown over Dark Brown Leather. It has only 3,372 miles on the odometer and a 460ci V8. Another great addition to the museum and another replica company with deep roots in their passion for Auburn. 

 

 

CCC was started by Cecil Gold and Ray Oja in Pasadena, California in 1976. They began producing kits for owners in 1976 but elected to make all examples factory turn-key in 1979 to protect quality control and ensure safely finished units. They became known as one of the best replica manufacturers in the nation, also adding other vehicles to the lineup over the years, including a Ferrari Daytona Spider. Today, they continue to be respected as a confident choice for driver enthusiasts worldwide. They remained under the same ownership with various replicars until 2010. That year Alex Christodulidis bought the company and moved it to North Texas where it remains today. 

 

Speedster Motorcar

The Third and final Auburn we have here at the Museum is one built by Speedster Motorcar. It is a 1936 852 replica that was built in 2006. It is beautifully finished in Metallic Blue/Cream over Tan leather interior and has only 2,579 miles on the odometer alongside a 5.3L Vortec V8. 

 

 

No one knows the world of replica Auburn Boattail Speedsters like Michael Akins. To him, the replica Auburn Speedster is more than just another replica car, it has been a life-long passion. Since his early days at Antique Autos of America under the tutelage of David Samuels, Akins has lived and breathed this car. Antique Autos, which later in 1977 became Southeastern Replicas, was at one time the largest distributor for California Custom Coach replica Boattail Speedsters in the country. They built off of this and later made a few changes and designed their own version of the car which was widely regarded as the best designed replica Speedster ever built. Samuels along with Akins set off to build some of the most realistic replicas ever produced. Not only building their new Boattail Speedster, but also eight Cord and Phaeton replicas. Akins honed his knowledge of the replica business under Samuels in the late 1970’s and into the early 80’s.

 

Fast forward into the 90’s, the replica Auburn Boattail Speedster business had all but gone the way of the dodo. The only replicas that you could find anymore were either kits that people had purchased years prior and never finished, or used turnkey cars that had seen their fair share of road use. Akins decided to re-launch the Boattail Speedster once again. He set off to create the car again from the ground up, using more modern building techniques to assemble the car; this wouldn’t be your ‘Dads’ replica Speedster. The new Speedster that Akins would create would set the stage for what would come.

In the early part of the 2000’s, Akins finally got to see his dream come to life; a fully modern Auburn Boattail Speedster. The car was complete with a tube chassis, four wheel disc brakes, modern fuel injected engine, spacious all leather interior, and all of this with the look of a mid ‘30s classic. During that same time period, Akins had already been working on a new project of his own, a 1937 810 Cord street rod, named the Coffin Nose Speedster. The Coffin Nose Speedster along with the Classic Boattail Speedster, should prove to be a great lineup of cars being produced by Speedster Motorcars.

 

 

Key Features

These three Auburn Boattails have key commonalities and differences. The bodies are all similar but there are subtle differences that make each car unique. For example the grills of each vehicle have slightly different angles of the triple chevron pattern. Then Glenn Pray replica has the most shallow angle and the Speedster Motorcar chevron angle is the sharpest. The Glenn Pray model also sports the numbers 866 setting it further apart. 

 

One of the biggest and most noticeable differences are the paint colors. The Glenn Pray has a solid coat of wimbleton white sporting a double red pinstripe where the Speedster Motorcar version has Metallic Blue/Cream two-tone paint and the CCC version has Almond Beige/Chocolate Brown two tone paint.

 

Their headlights are another area where they differ. Again, the Glenn Pray has the biggest difference in its dual Unity spotlights that are solid chrome and yellow fog lamps where the Speedster Motorcar and CCC version have two tone headlights that match the car’s primary color and regular fog lights. 

 

Some of their similarities are ones that any car buyer today would want. Although these cars are all built to the visual standards of the 1930s versions, they do have the modern creature comforts that were available in the ‘70s and ‘80s. All of them have functioning air conditioning, power steering and disc brakes, and power functions.

 

They all have 15” wire spoke wheels but the Glenn Pray’s are painted Red to match the interior. The Glenn Pray and CCC have Coker Classic white wall tires where the Speedster has Goodyear White Walls.

 

Regardless of the differences, I think anyone would agree that all of these beautiful vehicles are a spectacle and truly something rare to behold. Luckily for you, we have three at the same time. The museum is open to the public and open Monday-Friday 9 to 5 and Saturday 10 to 2 so come on in and check them out. Not only that but all three are for sale. You have the chance to own a 1936 Boattail with rich history. Call us to schedule an appointment today!

 

 
 
 
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