Auburn Automobile Company - 1900-1936 - Auburn, Indiana


Auburn (Auburn Automobile Company – Auburn Indiana) showed a nine-passenger airport limousine called the Auburn-Cummins at the 1935 NY auto show in November 1935 that was powered by a Cummins diesel engine. Car was never manufactured.


Auburn funeral coaches were produced during the Great Depression in the mid-1930s when the struggling Auburn Automobile Company was attempting to diversify to reach more customers. The largely inactive Auburn factory began limited production of bodies and chassis for airport limousines, ambulances and hearses for the commercial vehicle market. Auburn built only about 50 of these hearses in 1935 and 1936. Few survive. A 1936 Auburn Hearse could be purchased for $1,895 and weighed 4,300 pounds. The company offered one of the most economically priced hearses in America while drawing from its long-standing reputation for superior styling. The 163-inch-wheelbase funeral coach (36 inches longer than that of a standard Auburn sedan) is powered by a 115-horsepower Lycoming straight eight engine. The interior is upholstered in deep blue mohair. The rear door is of a two-piece design with hinged upper and lower sections, both opened with a single handle. When open, the lower section extends the length of the casket compartment floor.


AUBURN (US) 1936

Auburn Automobile Co., Auburn, Ind.

Ironically this famous car manufacturer chose a line of ambulances and hearses for a last-ditch stand. This used a lengthened edition of their 852-series private car chassis with 4.6-litre straight-8 Lycoming engine, and hydraulic brakes. The year's sales, were, however, less than 5,000 vehicles, and very few of these were professional cars. MCS


Now under the direction of supersalesman E.L. Cord, Auburn entered the professional car field in 1926 with a beautiful 88hp Lycoming-engined 7-passenger sedan-limousine, mounted on a 146" wheelbase, designed exclusively for the funeral industry. The limousine-sedan remained in production through 1928.

In 1936 Auburn introduced a purpose-built limousine-style 115hp Lycoming-powered ambulance and funeral coach that was priced starting at a very low $1850. Unfortunately it was only offered for one year as its owner E.L. Cord, under investigation by the Federal Government for securities fraud, liquidated Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg at the end of the year.


I am presently restoring a 1932 Auburn Model 8-100A Seven­Passenger Limousine that was used in Ohio as an ambulance and funeral car. It was ordered from the factory with split front seats and unwelled front fenders, and the right-side doors were rehung with a removable center column, apparently the usual way of making a car function as both an ambulance and funeral limo. The son of the original owner wrote me with the history of the car, confirming this information.


Although there were some 1935-36 Auburn hearses, out of the 196 seven-passenger limousines built between 1931 and 1933, this was the only ,one so altered. Only two limos survive, in fact. Most were airport limousines for Century Airlines which was also owned by E. L. Cord, who owned the Auburn car company.


I would like to research what literature may exist on ambulances of this period, the usual way such cars were altered and used and learn of any other surviving Auburns -- especially any that were used as airport limos.


    For more information please read:

Don Butler - Auburn Cord Duesenberg

Lee Beck & Josh B. Malks - Auburn & Cord

Jon Bill - Auburn Automobiles 1900 Through 1936 Photo Archive

The Professional Car - Issue #66, Fourth Quarter 1992

The Professional Car - Issue #88 Second Quarter 1998

The Professional Car (Quarterly Journal of the Professional car Society)

Gregg D. Merksamer - Professional Cars: Ambulances, Funeral Cars and Flower Cars

Thomas A. McPherson - American Funeral Cars & Ambulances Since 1900

Carriage Museum of America - Horse-Drawn Funeral Vehicles: 19th Century Funerals

Carriage Museum of America -  Horse Drawn - Military, Civilian, Veterinary - Ambulances

Gunter-Michael Koch - Bestattungswagen im Wandel der Zeit

Walt McCall & Tom McPherson - Classic American Ambulances 1900-1979: Photo Archive

Walt McCall & Tom McPherson - Classic American Funeral Vehicles 1900-1980 Photo Archive

Walter M. P. McCall - The American Ambulance 1900-2002

Walter M.P. McCall - American Funeral Vehicles 1883-2003

Michael L. Bromley & Tom Mazza - Stretching It: The Story of the Limousine

Richard J. Conjalka - Classic American Limousines: 1955 Through 2000 Photo Archive

Richard J. Conjalka - Stretch Limousines 1928-2001 Photo Archive

Thomas A. McPherson - Eureka: The Eureka Company : a complete history

Thomas A. McPherson - Superior: The complete history

Thomas A. McPherson - Flxible: The Complete History

Thomas A. McPherson - Miller-Meteor: The Complete History

Robert R. Ebert  - Flxible: A History of the Bus and the Company

Hearses - Automobile Quarterly Vol 36 No 3

Beverly Rae Kimes - The Classic Car

Beverly Rae Kimes - The Classic Era

Beverly Rae Kimes - Packard: A History of the Motorcar and Company

Beverly Rae Kimes & Henry Austin Clark Jr. - Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942

Richard Burns Carson - The Olympian Cars

Raymond A. Katzell - The Splendid Stutz

Marc Ralston - Pierce Arrow

Brooks T. Brierley - There Is No Mistaking a Pierce Arrow

Brooks T. Brierley - Auburn, Reo, Franklin and Pierce-Arrow Versus Cadillac, Chrysler, Lincoln and Packard

Brooks T. Brierley - Magic Motors 1930

Nick Georgano - The Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile: Coachbuilding

John Gunnell - Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1946-1975

James M. Flammang & Ron Kowalke - Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1976-1999

Daniel D. Hutchins - Wheels Across America: Carriage Art & Craftsmanship

Marian Suman-Hreblay - Dictionary of World Coachbuilders and Car Stylists

Michael Lamm and Dave Holls - A Century of Automotive Style: 100 Years of American Car Design

Thomas E. Bonsall - The Lincoln Motorcar: Sixty Years of Excellence

Fred Roe - Duesenberg: The Pursuit of Perfection

Arthur W. Soutter - The American Rolls-Royce

John Webb De Campi - Rolls-Royce in America

Hugo Pfau - The Custom Body Era

Hugo Pfau - The Coachbult Packard

Griffith Borgeson - Cord: His Empire His Motor Cars

Don Butler - Auburn Cord Duesenberg

George H. Dammann - 90 Years of Ford

George H. Dammann & James K. Wagner - The Cars of Lincoln-Mercury

Thomas A. MacPherson - The Dodge Story

F. Donald Butler - Plymouth-Desoto Story

Fred Crismon - International Trucks

George H. Dammann - Seventy Years of Chrysler

Walter M.P. McCall - 80 Years of Cadillac LaSalle

Maurice D. Hendry - Cadillac, Standard of the World: The complete seventy-year history

George H. Dammann & James A. Wren - Packard

Dennis Casteele - The Cars of Oldsmobile

Terry B. Dunham & Lawrence R. Gustin - Buick: A Complete History

George H. Dammann - Seventy Years of Buick

George H. Dammann - 75 Years of Chevrolet

John Gunnell - Seventy-Five Years of Pontiac-Oakland


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