1933 Auburn 12 / Specs and Model History

The 1933 Auburn 12 featured in this article was the top of the line Auburn model at that time and today is a very rare and high priced collector vehicle. These were luxury automobiles and Auburn had a reputation for great styling and superb engineering. Designed by chief engineer George Kublin, Auburn unveiled their new 391 cubic inch V-12 engine that delivered 160 HP at the end of 1931.

auburn 12 specifications

1933 Auburn 12

Interesting fact is that Auburn is said to have spent about one million dollars to develop their V-12 in 1930. A very high sum in those days and especially after the shocking stock market crash of 1929. Some have said that the company's president, as well as a few others, believed the economic downturn would be short lived and the go ahead was given to spend the money. Obviously it wasn't a short bump in the road and while 1931 was Auburn's best year ever, the company lost about one million dollars in 1932.

E.L Cord priced his dramatically styled and multi cylinder high performance luxury cars at prices noticeably lower than luxury competitors which may have been a big reason for  profit shortfalls. By the same token, selling luxury automobiles during the early 1930's required superb marketing which Cord did have a gift for.

The Auburn Automobile Company

The Auburn Automobile Company was founded in 1900 and began by producing a one cylinder automobile. The company grew out of the Eckhart Carriage Company, founded by the Eckhart brothers in 1875 in Auburn, Indiana.

1933 auburn car

Great styling

Auburn found itself in financial trouble in 1919 and was purchased by a group of Chicago investors. These Chicago investors also had a difficult time trying to make a profit, not helped by the recession of 1921-22, and as a result eventually hired a man named E. L. Cord with the goal of turning things around.

Cord was a Chicago car salesman with a keen ability to market automobiles. Cord's overall ambition was to someday own a car company and reportedly had a deal with the investors to at some point take over the company himself.

Cord did indeed increase sales and was named company president in 1926. E.L Cord would later partner with Duesenberg and also build the Cord automobile. That first automobile was the 1929 Cord L-29. Eventually, the Auburn Automobile Company became part of "Cord Corporation" led by E.L. Cord.

Like any luxury automaker, Auburn and E.L. Cord were hurt by the Great Depression. The problem was building a luxury automobile at a cost where a profit could be made. Price pressure from competitors was a major factor during the 1930's and profits were being squeezed like never before.

One great venue to view and learn more about the cars from Auburn is a visit to the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum in Auburn Indiana. The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum is a National Historic Landmark and is located in the building that was once the national headquarters and showroom for the Auburn Automobile Company.

The 1933 Auburn 12

There were only about 100 of these Auburn V-12's produced. Today, there are only a very small number in existence. The high styled and elegant body is credited to Chief stylist Alan Leamy. Leamy was a self taught designer who built some very good looking cars for Cord during the 1920's and 30's.

On the engineering side, which Auburn had a fine reputation, the company utilized their V-12 with a Dual Ratio rear end that by using a lever on the dashboard would offer either a 3.0 or 4.5 ratio for each of the transmissions three gears. Because this reduced engine strain better fuel consumption was attained. This was even with a 160 HP engine and a high cruising speed.

Another novel addition to the 1933 Auburn 12 were headlights that turned in conjunction with the steering wheel.

auburn 12 photos and specs

Grille and headlamps. Headlamps were made to turn with the steering wheel.

1933 Auburn 12 Specifications

Engine for the Auburn 12 was a Lycoming 391 cubic inch V-12 that put out 160 horsepower. As mentioned above, Auburn invested one million dollars to develop their V-12.

Transmission was a three manual with overdrive.

Brakes were four wheel vacuum assist hydraulic drums.

See these Auto Museum Online articles on the links below...

1929 Cord L-29

1929 Auburn Boattail Speedster

1933 Duesenberg Model J

Reference material for this article includes...Auburn & Cord by Lee Beck and Josh B. Malks...Errett Lobban Cord: His empire, his motorcars : Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg by Griffith Borgeson...Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg by Don Butler and George H. Dammann.

Auburn 12 Collector Car Values

auburn motor company

Auburn 12 dash

As we have mentioned, the Auburn 12's are rare automobiles. Some of the rarest out there.

Auburn automobiles in general are high priced collector cars and values easily get into six figures. We have seen 1932 and 1933 Auburn 12's selling at auction in the neighborhood of $200,000.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)

 

1949 Diamond T Model 201 Truck / Specs and More

The vehicle featured in this article is a 1949 Diamond T Model 201 One Ton Truck.

1949 diamond t

1949 Diamond T Model 201 One Ton

The Diamond T Motor Car Company

The Diamond T Motor Car Company was a  Chicago Illinois automobile manufacturer for a short time from 1905 to 1911. After 1911 Diamond T produced only trucks and enjoyed much success for many decades.

The “T” in Diamond T was Chicago’s Charles A. Tilt, and the company's  logo came from his father’s shoe company, where the diamond signified quality and the “T” represented the family name.

Diamond T's reputation was as a builder of heavier trucks, typically one ton and larger. The company produced quality trucks with the style you might look for in a passenger automobile. Some would refer to Diamond T as the "Cadillac of trucks". Charles Tilt made the comment.."A truck doesn't have to be homely". Diamond T certainly lived up to both of those attributes.

dianond t specs

Diamond T's stylish horizontal bar grille

During the First World War Diamond T built more than 1,500 Liberty Trucks for the military. During World War Two, when the company produced over 50,000 trucks with many of these vehicles purchased by the British Purchasing Commission. This included half-tracks, army wreckers, tank tractors, and tank movers. Lots of heavy duty vehicles that the military required.

Diamond T is Acquired by the White Motor Company

The White Motor Company purchased Diamond T in 1958. In 1960 White moved all production from Chicago to Reo's manufacturing facilities in Lansing, Michigan. The Lansing Division of White Motor Company then produced both Diamond T and Reo trucks. This all changed beginning in 1967 when the two brands, Diamond T and Reo, became one brand known as Diamond Reo. As a result of the two brands being merged into one, the White Motor Company established a new Diamond Reo Division and that same year started building Diamond Reo trucks.

Diamond T Model 201

The Model 201, a one-ton pickup, was introduced in 1938 and used a Hercules engine and Warner Gear transmission. Highly regarded for its rugged and sturdy character, the sturdy Model 201 was many times converted for use as a towing vehicle.

The six cylinder Hercules engine powered the 1949 Diamond T Model 201. Hercules Motors Corporation produced both gasoline and diesel engines and either could be employed without major changes to the vehicle. During World War Two Hercules significantly increased production for the U.S. Military and by the end of the war had supplied about 750,000 engines for the war effort.

The Model 201's were built from 1938 to 1949. These are rare today because the best estimates put total Diamond T Model 201 production for the entire run at about 7,000 vehicles.

It's estimated that Diamond T produced about 250,000 trucks over the company's 56 year history.

1949 Diamond T Model 201 One Ton Specifications

The 1949 Diamond T Model 201 was built with a 236 cubic inch inline six cylinder Hercules engine that delivered 91 HP.

The engine worked into a Warner T-9 Four Speed Manual gearbox.

diamond t historyThe trucks were built with an X-Braced frame that was placed on an extra heavy duty front axle and a floating rear axle with leaf springs in each corner.

Gross vehicle weight was about 8,000 lbs.

New truck price for the 1949 Diamond T Model 201 One Ton Pickup was in the area of $1,675. Diamond T's weren't cheap trucks to purchase since it's price was at least $200 more than a Ford One Ton at that time. By the same token the cost was justified considering the Diamond T reputation for quality and rugged construction.

You may also enjoy the additional Auto Museum Online articles found on the links below...

1937 Diamond T Pickup

1949 GMC 100

1946 Ford Half Ton

Reference material for this article includes...The Worlds Toughest Truck The Reo/Diamond Reo Story by Robert R. Ebert...Motor Trucks of America by James A. Wren...Standard Catalog of U.S. Military Vehicles.

The 1949 Diamond T Model 201 Collector Values

For a variety of reasons, the Diamond T Model 201 is a popular classic truck. The Diamond T trucks were known for quality construction and engineering. The trucks were built for rugged jobs but at the same time offered great styling. The Diamond T Model 201 One Ton is probably one of the most stylish classic trucks ever produced.

diamond t model 201

As mentioned earlier, the Diamond T Model 201 is a rare truck and not easy to find. With only about 7,000 built from 1938 to 1949 there simply are not many of them around these days.

We have seen finely restored 1949 models in the $37,000-$50,000 plus range. We also see mechanically sound yet non restored models with some minor rust in the $25,000 to $30,000 range. A 1949 Model 201 project truck which needs complete rebuilding was priced at $11,500.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)

1930 Austin Bantam Coupe / Specs, Model History

The car featured in this article is an American built 1930 Austin Bantam Coupe. The company that manufactured this automobile is certainly not a household name but it's story is quite interesting. It's a story of how a start up automaker strove to survive during one of the greatest economic downturns in world history.

American Austin Car Company and American Bantam

austin bantam photos

The 1930 Austin Bantam

The American Austin Car Company was a U.S. corporation which was founded in 1929 in Butler, Pennsylvania and built automobiles under a license from the British Austin Motor Company. The American company styled automobiles based on the British Austin Seven.

Starting a new automobile manufacturing company in 1929, just short of the stock market crash, proved to be a daunting task. The Great Depression that followed the market crash forced established American automakers to slash prices. The Austin Car Company was building smaller vehicles like the Austin Bantam shown her. What was not anticipated was that larger automobiles from the established automakers were being sold for a price that Austin Bantam required for their vehicles. The price squeeze was on. It's well known the difficulties luxury car makers had during the Great Depression. In the case of the American Austin Car Company, they were hurt on the lower end.

1930 austin bantam specsA smaller automobile like the 1930 Austin Bantam was proven to be popular in Europe. European taxes favored smaller cars with less horsepower. The question was, can this same automobile make it in the U.S. where many car buyers felt that bigger was better. You could make the case that the economical Austin Bantam was like the Volkswagen many years before Volkswagen was imported to America.

American Austin Car Company Opens for Business in 1929

When the American Austin Car Company marketed their new small yet well designed car, orders went through the roof. They received orders for over 50,000 vehicles but had a factory in Butler, Pennsylvania that could only turn out about 100 cars per day. This was a huge problem but it was remedied before too long. When the Great Depression began settling in, orders dropped drastically and the factory in Butler closed it's doors in 1932.

A young auto dealer from Florida named Roy S. Evans along with investors bought the Butler, Pennsylvania plant and began turning out vehicles once again. The plant still couldn't meet the relatively low demand and the money investors pulled out leaving things with the young yet still optimistic auto dealer.

As it turned out, the American Austin Car Company went bankrupt in 1935 and was taken out of bankruptcy by Evans who renamed the company American Bantam. All formal ties with the British company then ceased. American Bantam began producing cars from 1938 and ended production in 1941.

When American Bantam started selling cars again in 1938 the economy was still a giant headwind. Prices for larger automobiles were still heavily discounted and when all was said and done, American Bantam lost about $75 for each of the 6,700 vehicles they produced from 1938 through the next two years.

austin bantam automakerMilitary Orders

During 1939 and into 1940  the U.S. military was awarding vehicle contracts for all purpose vehicles. Ford and Willys had complete access to Bantam's design and submitted their own designs.

There was the question of whether American Bantam had production facilities that could meet the demands of a military contract. In the end, American Bantam received a government contract for a vehicle known as the Bantam Reconnaissance Car (BRC). The army had requested an all-purpose military vehicle, and it was the BRC that became the prototype of the jeep, later produced by Willys and Ford.

1930 Austin Bantam Specifications

The 1930 Austin Bantam like the model featured in this article came with an 46 Cubic Inch Inline 4 cylinder engine. The engine produced 15 HP. The Bantam was very economical to operate achieving about 40 miles per gallon. Top speed was also about 40 MPH.

The automobile came with a three speed manual gear box.

Bantam's wheelbase was 75 inches. It's length 105 inches and weight averaged about 1,100 lbs.

New car price in 1930 averaged about $375. This was just slightly cheaper than than Ford's V-8. As an example a 1930 Ford Model A could be bought for about $400.

You may enjoy the additional Auto Museum Online articles found on the links below...

The 1929 Stutz Model M Le Baron Phaeton

The 1934 Pierce-Arrow 836A

The 1934 Ford V-8

Reference material for this article includes...Collector Automobile Magazine...American Austin Bantam Club...Standard Catalogue of American Cars.

Austin Bantam Collector Car Values

The American Austin Bantams produced from 1929 to 1934 are affordable for just about any collector. Good automobile to start a collection with. These cars are indeed rare since only about 20,000 American Austins of various body styles were built before the factory in Pennsylvania closed in 1935. Another 8,000 were built from 1938-40.

austin bantam engine

Austin Bantam Inline four engine

As of this writing we're finding running 1930-1934 Bantam Coupes in the $6,000 to $15,000 range. Full restorations and frame off restorations will command a higher price. Restored American Austin Roadsters are seen in the $20,000-$29,000 range.

The American Austin Bantam Club is the world's first organization dedicated exclusively to the restoration and preservation of American Austin and Bantam vehicles that were built in Butler, Pennsylvania. The club welcomes owners and fans of American Austin, American Bantam, Bantam Reconnaissance Cars, as well as the English Austin Seven and its derivatives. Check out their website at www.austinbantamclub.com

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)