The Auburn 852, produced in 1936, marked the final model crafted by the company. It offered exceptional value, boasting a robust Lycoming-built 280 cubic inch inline eight-cylinder engine with a two-barrel carburetor, delivering 115 brake horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque. Its three-speed manual transmission, often coupled with a 2-speed rear axle, utilized the engine’s abundant torque for smooth high-speed operation and improved fuel efficiency.
Renowned designer Gordon Buehrig revamped the coachwork in 1935, retaining the existing passenger compartment but introducing stylish updates. The new body featured a body-colored radiator surround and a revised hood, resulting in a fresh and successful look that remains highly regarded to this day. Remarkably, the only change made to the 1936 model 852 was the update of the model number on the radiator grille.
Each Auburn 851/852 model came with an engraved brass dash plaque, highlighting the brand’s association with Ab Jenkins. Jenkins set numerous American and world records in 1935 with an Auburn 851 Speedster, including being the first American stock car to complete a 12-hour endurance run at a speed over 100 mph, achieving 102.9 mph precisely.
The Auburn 852 convertible sedan, referred to as a “Phaeton Sedan,” exemplified the refinements introduced by Buehrig to Al Leamy’s original design. It offered exceptional adaptability, with roll-up windows and a snug-fitting top for inclement weather, while still providing the exhilaration of open-air driving in fair conditions. Today, it stands as one of the most sought-after and rare automobiles from the 1930s.