1936 Buick Century Sedan / Specs, Model History

Featured in this article is a finely restored 1936 Buick Century. This was the first year that the Century model was introduced. Century was produced by Buick in 1936 as a full size automobile. This first generation of the Century model stopped production in February 1942 when all civilian auto production was stopped due to World War Two. At the time that production ceased in 1942 the Buick Century production output was just about ten percent of Buick's total.

1936 buick century

1936 Buick Century Sedan

The Buick Century was reintroduced in 1954 and ran to 1958. After that the model was built from 1973 to 2005.

Interesting story about how the Century model name came to be. According to legend, the British who had tested the automobile referred to the car as "doing the century" when it reached 100 MPH. Buick management liked the phrase and decided to name the model "Century".

Buick and General Motors

David Dunbar Buick started the Buick Motor Company in 1903 in Detroit, Michigan.. Later that same year the company was acquired by James Whiting who moved the Buick operation to Flint. The story is that David Buick really didn't see the opportunities presented by building cars and therefore sold his company soon after starting it. Whiting meanwhile hired William C. Durant to manage his new auto company. The first Buick that was offered to sale to the public was the 1904 Buick Model B.

The Buick badge was considered by many to be the first real automobile success. In fact, at that time it was the largest automaker in America. The brand had an excellent reputation for engineering and quality production at a time when buyers were getting acquainted with automobiles. Durant, with the success of Buick, went on and acquired more companies and in 1908 gave them the name General Motors.

old buick centuryWilliam Durant took Buick to the racing venues. The racing team was put together with Louis Chevrolet and Wild Bob Burman and others. The team won a some 500 trophies just from 1908 to 1910. Buick was a huge success and by by 1908 it had become the country's leading automobile producer with 8,820 cars produced. A very high number of vehicles built during what was the early days of the industry.

Now a part of General Motors, Buick made a very significant statement in 1911 when they produced the first completely enclosed American automobile beating Ford to that major achievement.

The 1936 Buick Century

During it's time in production which accounted for four generations, the Buick Century at various times was offered in coupe, sedan and station wagon body styles. For the first two generations, from 1936 to 1942 and from 1954 to 1958 the Buick Century was classified as a full-size car. When Buick reintroduced the Century for 1973 ,it replaced the Skylark as the brand's midsize car. During the third generation there was a total restyling for 1997, thus the fourth generation.

The 1936 Buick came out of course during the Great Depression years which forced many automakers, especially upscale car makers, out of business. Buick, with it's powerful engine reputation along with it being a part of a larger corporation in the name of GM made it through just fine. The 1936 Buick Century was able to reach 100 MPH which caught the eye of many performance minded buyers.

For the 1936 model year Buick renamed it's entire line-up. This was done because of engineering advancements and more streamlined designs coming out that year.

1936 Buick Century Specifications

The 1936 Buick Century was produced with a 320 cubic inch straight eight engine. The engine delivered 165 HP and as mentioned above, the car could reach a top speed of 100 MPH.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic.

Front suspension were independent coil springs and rear consisted of semi-elliptic leaf springs.

1936 buick century specificationsWheelbase was 122.0 inches..length 197.0 inches...width 70.62 inches...height 70.25 inches. Weight was 3,780 lbs.

Total production for the 1936 Century Sedan was 17,800.

The serial number for this model can be found on the right side of the frame behind the front wheel.

Please see these additional Auto Museum Online articles found on the links below...

1937 Buick Special

1955 Buick Special

1957 Buick Century

References used include...The Buick: A Complete History (90th Anniversary Edition) by authors Terry B. Dunham and Lawrence R. Gustin. Also, David Buick's Marvelous Motor Car: The Men and the Automobile that Launched General Motors (Updated 2013) by author Lawrence R. Gustin. Also GM Buick Archives.

history of buick century1936 Buick Century Collector Values

The automobile featured in this article is an original model in great condition. In addition to the, the 1936 Buick Century was the first of that model produced.

You may find retail values in the neighborhood of $28,000 to $32,000. These are prices for a running and very good condition models.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)

Very Rare 1936 Horch 853 / Model History and Specs

The 1936 Horch 853 featured in this article is one of the most valuable collector cars in the world. The automobile is original and features a 4.9 liter straight eight engine.

horch 853

1936 Horch 853

August Horch

Horch & Cie. Motorwagenwerke AG was founded by August Horch, a former production manager for Karl Benz, in 1904 in the city of Zwickau in the Kingdom of Saxony.  Interestingly enough, due to an internal personnel problem and because the Horch brand was already registered and not to August Horch therefore the company was renamed Audi Automobilwerke in 1910.

The name Audi was suggested to August Horch by a business partner. The word "Audi" is the Latin translation of "Horch". This is why the Audi automobile had it's roots going back to the original company founded by August Horch.

The Horch 853

August Horch gained a reputation for building quality automobiles.  Horch had a goal to compete for the Mercedes-Benz market with OHC 4.5-liter straight eight engines, and also a 6-liter V-12. Mercedes-Benz built engines with superchargers while Horch did not, leaving his great looking cabriolets relatively under powered and with a top speed of around 80 mph. With that being said, the elegant Horch 853 series looked comparable with the Mercedes-Benz 500K and 540K series.

1936 horch

The very first Horch 853 was introduced for 1936 and the 853s continued to be produced up until the start of World War II.

A total of 627 Horch 853's were produced. They sold for the price of 14.900 Reichsmark. These were very luxurious automobiles, looks comparable to Mercedes but carried a price tag lower than Mercedes-Benz.

It's important to note that Horch was one of the most important car companies in Germany before World War II and Mercedes Benz's only real competitor in that country. One reason why the name is not more commonly known is that in 1932 Horch merged with three other car manufacturers. The four brands (Horch, Audi, DKW and Wanderer) formed the Auto Union, the company under which this particular automobile was built. On the hood of the car is the Auto Union's four-ringed badge which continued to be used when the conglomerate eventually evolved into a new company named Audi.

Under Auto Union, Horch presented a new model range consisting of just two basic model series in the mid-1930's. These were the Type 830 with three-litre V8 engines and the Type 850 with five-litre straight-eight engines. The highlight in the 850 series was the 853, a sports cabriolet that was an outstanding success in its class. Its two-color finish gave the car a very elegant look. Car buyers were also able to order this car with a kind of metallic paint finish at an extra cost. The glittering effect of this paint, which was offered in several color versions as “Fish Silver”, was made by adding extremely finely ground fish scales.

The Horch Type 853 Sports Cabriolet was popular among Germany’s rich and famous, as it was the only German built car that offered an alternative to Mercedes-Benz. The 853 was also the car of choice for German NAZI officers and generals before and during World War Two.

Horch automobile photos

The Horch badge

The Horch Series 850 featured the 100 horsepower straight eight engine along with it's luxury and style. The Model 853 was fitted to a shorter wheelbase and used a DeDion axle rear suspension.

Some Horch 853s were produced with bodies in the factory while some chassis were sent to coach builders to add customized bodies for the new owners.

1936 Horch 853 Specifications

The 1936 Horch 853 was built with a 4.9 liter straight eight engine which delivered 120 HP. The 853 had a top speed of just over 80 MPH.

Transmission was a four speed manual.

Brakes were servo assisted hydraulic drum.

The automobile had independent front suspension and a rear DeDion axle. The DeDion tube which connects the two rear wheels keeps both wheels parallel to each other under all conditions. This keeps them perpendicular to the road surface regardless of body roll.

Weight was about 5,775 lbs.

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

1933 Duesenberg Model J

1929 Cord L-29

horch 853 specifications

Horch 853 dash

The 1936 Horch 853 Collector Car

The 1936 Horch is a very, very rare automobile and has attained high valuation at auction. The Horch 853 featured in this article was one of 50 which were used by the German forces as General Officer's transportation during World War Two. This automobile was taken over by U.S. forces after the war and eventually found it's way to the U.S. The car was exhibited in several museums and was ultimately purchased by a U.S. individual.

Fifty years later this 1936 Horch 853 was purchased by another individual in 2010 at the Branson Auction. The automobile was awarded second place at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours in the pre-war preservation class.

A 1936 Horch 853 has been offered for sale in the mid $600,000 range.

References for this article included...Four Rings: The Audi Story by Audi...Legendary German Cars by Whitestar...Hemmings Motor News.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)


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)