Larry picks his favorites at Auctions America’s Auburn Fall sale

Some of the cars awaiting their turns across the block at Auburn Auction Park | Larry Edsall photos
Some of the cars awaiting their turns across the block at Auburn Auction Park | Larry Edsall photos

I’ve already written about the Murphy-bodied 1929 Duesenberg Model J convertible coupe that will be offered up for bidding this weekend at the 45th annual Auburn Fall classic car auction, the last several of them staged by Auctions America, a subsidiary of RM Sotheby’s.

Besides, the Deusey figures to sell for somewhere between $1 million and $2 million, so as much as I might like to own such a vehicle, it’s an unrealistic selection for this list of what Larry liked the most Thursday as he and his camera wandered around the Auburn Auction Park in northeastern Indiana.
OK, I will add this about the Duesenberg: Not only in the auction-house photographs but in person as well, that amazing shade of silver paint really does make the car look like it’s glowing.

So, what were the cars that most captivated me Thursday?

1955 Imperial Crown
and
1941 Packard Airport Limousine (below)
Probably because a few weeks ago I rented a three-row crossover vehicle for a trip to Florida and back with one of my daughters and what seemed to be half-a-dozen grandchildren, and probably because we’re already planning to do that trip again next year, I sort of have an eye out for vehicles with room for lots of people inside. While the barn-found Packard certainly has plenty of room, it would need a lot of restoration work. Meanwhile, the ’55 Imperial limo not only is ready to roll, but it seats eight and even has a division window to separate the driver and front-seat passenger from the madding crowd.
1955 Imperial Crown
1955 Imperial Crown
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1941 Graham Hollywood
My favorite car on the 18th fairway of the Pebble Beach golf links a few weeks ago was the Saoutchik-bodied 1938 Graham Model 97 convertible. So I figure that while this 1941 Graham Hollywood doesn’t have quite the overwhelming design of the Saoutchik version, it is still a Graham and a gorgeous vehicle.
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1961 Daimler SP250
My favorite car at Auburn was this 1961 Daimler SP250. I’d heard of the little roadster but don’t recall ever seeing one before. This car is British, not German, though the British company does trace its heritage to Gottlieb Daimler, who licensed Frederick Richard Simms to sell Daimler engines in the British Isles in 1891. The fiberglass-bodied SP250, Daimler’s first sports car, was introduced in 1959. It was called the Dart until American automaker Dodge objected because it owned that name. Power is provided by a 2.5-liter hemi-head V8, not a Dodge Hemi but one designed by Edward Turner, whose experience had been in creating motorcycle engines for Ariel and Triumph. In 1960, Daimler was purchased by Jaguar.
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1968 Intermeccanica Torino
Another sports car that drew my attention was this 1968 Intermeccanica Torino. In the mid-1960s, New York car dealer Jack Griffith hired Mark Donohue to engineer and Robert Cumberford to design the Griffith 600, with chassis by John Crosthwaite (formerly of BRM) and with bodies and assembly by Italian coachbuilder Intermeccanica. After perhaps fewer than a dozen cars, Griffith sold the rights to someone who soon sold them again. Eventually, Intermeccanica simply took over the car, which it called the Torino and later the Italia. Power comes from a 289 cid Ford V8.
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1951 Frazer Manhattan
The Garden Green paint really brings out the creases that distinguish the design of this large ’50s four-door convertible, which also have a very cool hood ornament, sort of a modern interpretation of a jousting knight. 1951 was the final year of production for Frazer, which was named for Joseph Frazer, president and general manager of Kaiser-Frazer. Frazer left the company in 1949.
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1930 Cord L-29
Since we’re in Auburn, Indiana, it only makes sense to include at least one car from the Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg trio. My selection is this rather stunning white with blue trim (and that includes the wheels). The car has had the same owner since 1973 and is the car that carried Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh to the world premiere of Gone With the Wind.
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1916 Rauch and Lang Electric J6
I’m a long way from being ready to take responsibility for a Brass Era classic, but I do think every collection should have at least one early electric car, so I’d opt for this one, one of the 700 built by Cleveland real estate developer Charles Lang and Jacob Rauch, who’d come from Germany to Massachusetts to work as a blacksmith who repaired and then built wagons. Besides, my 13-year-old grandson was with me at Auburn and I got to explain how cars were steered by tillers as we examined this J6.
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1930 Hudson-powered race car
Painted in tribute to the No. 98 car that Troy Ruttman drove to victory at Indianapolis in 1952, this racer was built over a lightened Ford Model A frame and 1932 Ford front axle. The car reportedly always has been powered by Hudson engines, currently a twin-carb unit Hudson Hornet 308. Something tells me it might draw some attention at a Saturday morning cars and caffeine gathering.
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