Proudly Rebuilding the Auburn Speedster
With several members of D&D Classic Auto Restoration's talented metal shapers beaming with pride, the ACD Labor Day weekend event provided a perfect back drop for D&D to publically unveil a newly-completed coach built Auburn Boattail Speedster body -- a demanding 4-year undertaking. Pete Cowic, one of D&D's talented hammer men rhetorically summed up the mammoth undertaking. "It was a painstaking task that has provided us with a wealth of satisfaction once completed."
The brevity of Cowic's comment only touches the surface as to the overwhelming nature of the project, which prior to it‚s inception, had been the topic of many discussions for some 10 years between Auburn enthusiast Tom Quick, St. Louis, Missouri and D&D's Mark Kennison.
In 2004, with Quick's go-ahead nod and the delivery of his 1933 Auburn sedan chassis to D&D's shop, the project began. "The wheels started rolling big time from that point," Kennison recalled. "Tom researched the availability of boattail components, (purchasing the few that were out there) while I sought advise from my former ACD customers and noted Auburn experts." Both endeavors proved worthwhile as well as contact with Dewayne Ashmend, Salt Lake City, Utah. Ashmend loaned some decaying remnants of wood which his restorer Dave Arnold had replaced during the restoration of Ashmend's boattail.
As photos, templates, etc., began to accumulate, Kennison struck gold when Jay Engler, Fremont, Ohio, graciously agreed to loan an original unrestored Auburn boattail to D&D for research. "Keep it as long as you need," Kennison fondly remembers Engler saying. "Seeking to solve the mountain of questions had been a real headache up to that point" according to Kennison. "Then once we were off and running, another stroke of luck came our way when Gene Perkins, Greenwood, Indiana, brought his 1932 Auburn speedster to us for a ground up restoration. Once again, there was never a question of it's originality."
Interestingly, Engler and Perkin's cars featured differing details in some cases, ie. the golf door measurements were quite different as were the widths of the cowls above the instrument panels. In retrospect, the Auburn experts came to the conclusion that due to the fact that both cars as well as the others with similar bodies built from 1931 to 1933 reflect the skills and techniques of different coach building crews.
And, due to the hands on manufacturing methods at the Auburn facility its reasonable that the bodies ended up different in some details. In addition, constant evolution was taking place in building techniques and may have contributed to the differences.
During the following four years, the construction of the coach built body took place at D&D. The exactness and excellence of its metallic skins reflects the skills of D&D's metal beaters involved in the project and their willingness to settle for nothing less than the best results.
Tom Quick took delivery by his Auburn boattail speedster once the ACD weekend was over. It now resides in Quick's garage and is undergoing final details. A hands on sort in his own right, Quick will be applying the finish top coats as well as attending to the mechanical aspects of the build up.
You are invited to call us at 937-473-2229 to ask specific questions or stop in at our Covington, Ohio shop for "the grand tour".