You can view the entire collection here at Hagerty My Garage
The museum is located in the former administration building of the Auburn Automobile Company, which operated on this property from the early 20th century until its closure in 1937. The building, along with the adjacent service and new parts building, and the L-29 building now occupied by the National Auto & Truck Museum, were together declared a National Historic Landmark in 2005. This complex was recognized as one of the nation’s best-preserved examples of an independent auto company’s facilities. The showroom and administrative buildings were designed by architect Alvin M. Strauss in Art Deco style and were built in 1930. The Auburn Automobile Company had its genesis in a carriage manufacturer, and at its height had more than 18 acres (7.3 ha) of facilities here. After its closure, the administration building housed a business selling original and reproduction parts for a number of discontinued manufacturers, including the Auburn, Cord, and Duesenberg nameplates, until 1960
One of the Chevrolet Corvette’s most popular features traces its roots to an obscure, airplane-like prototype built in 1948. Although the third-generation ‘Vette is widely credited as being the first production car equipped with a T-top roof, the system was inaugurated by Gordon Buehrig’s one-of-a-kind TASCO prototype and patented in 1951.
Born in 1904, Buehrig was an accomplished stylist and engineer whose resume included the Auburn 851 Speedster, the coffin-nosed Cord 810/812, and several variants of Duesenberg’s Model J. Shortly after World War II, he was commissioned by The American Sports Car Company (TASCO) to create — you’ll get no points for guessing this — an American sports car. He drew a two-seater with a long hood and a short deck, proportions associated with grand tourers, but he injected an unusually large dose of aerospace DNA into the design.
Last year the ACDAM made parts of the archival collection available online in a searchable database for the first time. In response to recent school and business closures, the museum staff has decided to release as much of the archive as possible to the public ahead of schedule. The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum Archive Database now includes the Photographs Auburn Collection, Photographs Cord Collection, and approximately 1/4 of the Photographs Duesenberg Collection!
2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the Duesenberg Automobile and Motor Company, Inc. The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum is celebrating this once-in-a-lifetime occasion with an unbelievable gift of the very first customer-purchased production passenger vehicle built by the Duesenberg brothers, which has been in the same family’s ownership for 100 years.
Donated by CyrAnn and James C. Castle, Jr. of California, the 1921 Duesenberg Model A Coupe features a body built by the Bender Body Company of Cleveland, Ohio and was produced to the order of the car’s original owner, Samuel Northrup Castle, including space for his seven-foot-tall stature. Mr. Castle was from a family of Hawaiian missionaries and was a founder of Castle & Cooke Co., a Hawaiian sugar cooperative, when he ordered the car and received it in 1921 due to delayed production. It was the first production Model A to be built after the prototypes were completed and tested and the first one to be sold to the public.
The Castle Duesenberg would remain in his possession until his death in 1959 when ownership was transferred to his nephew, James Christian Castle, and was transported to San Francisco and placed into storage. Upon his death in 1994, ownership then transferred to his son, James C. Castle, Jr. and his wife CyrAnn. The 1921 Duesenberg Model A Coupe has remained in the Castle family until the decision was made to entrust the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum with the care and preservation of the vehicle and to be its future steward.
“This gift to the museum is one of the most significant donations to the collection in the 45-year history of the museum,” states Brandon J. Anderson, Executive Director & CEO of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum. “The Castle’s generosity will allow for future generations to appreciate the history of Duesenberg, automotive design and engineering, the evolution of the automobile, and the legacy of the Castle family in perpetuity.”
This Duesenberg Model A was the first in American passenger vehicles to be equipped with four-wheel hydraulic brakes and an overhead-cam in-line straight-eight engine producing a top speed well over 100mph. In 2010, the Castles commissioned a 10,000-hour, three-year restoration to bring the vehicle back to its original appearance and specifications. In 2013, the Castle Duesenberg would go on to win the Classic Cars of America Trophy at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Best of Show at the Niello Concours at Serrano, and the Automotive Heritage Award at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
This is an excellent interview with Gordon Buehrig from back in 1989 carried out as part of the Automotive Oral History Project.
Some of the cars designed by Gordon Buehrig were the Stutz Black Hawk, Auburn 851 Boattail Speedster, Duesenberg J, Duesenberg J, 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II, and, perhaps the car he’s most known for, the Cord 810/812. He also invented the removable T-top, patented in 1951
The story of Glenn Pray is very different from that of Harry Shay covered in Part 1.
Glenn Pray was a school teacher when he purchased the assets of the former Auburn Cord Deusenberg company back in 1960. Upon the winding up of E.L.Cord’s company back in 1938 the assets had been originally purchased by a Buick dealer from Flint Michigan named Dallas Winslow. Winslow has continued to offer parts and service from the original ACD building in Auburn. Upon purchase Pray moved lock stock and barrel to a former cannery in Broken Arrow Oklahoma and set up in business.
Pray gained a reputation as the foremost supplier of Auburn and Cord parts saving may valuable vehicles in the process, his cannery site becoming a must visit for all enthusiasts of the marques.
Starting in the 1960’s Glenn Pray also introduced what became the first well known replica cars, Pray preferred to call the cars “second generation” this endeavour was not a financial success. The cars however have gained a cult following and have been recognised by the ACD club fittingly as “The Second Generation Cars”
The museum has a fantastic display of all three marques (and other cars), and is sited at the old factory and showroom. The showroom is particularly interesting, it has been restored to it’s former art deco glory. The entrance fee is very low and the whole thing is maintained by enthusiasts.
The original offices of E.L.Cord and the design offices have been restored.
Whilst we were there we watched the Ben Stiller film “Tropic Thunder” which was really funny.
Strange thing was there were only four people in the cinema including us, during the show the weather was so bad there was a power cut. The reason it was so quiet was that the cinema had only been open for a few days. We stayed at an any excellent Hampton Inn (also brand new) and ate at a Buffalo Wild Wings (very frendly, good food, again brand new) All three were next to each other on a new development just outsise Auburn.
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