By Travis Mitchell
It’s 6:15 AM and Civitan Car Club member, Mark Eisinger, arrives at Cars and Coffee Las Vegas to help set up the Civitan Car Club tent for the week’s event. Members Travis and Lynnette Mitchell also arrive and the routine of setting up for the weekly show begins. During set-up, Mark is excited to announce that he’s heard a $400,000 vehicle is supposed to be at this week’s show, a 1935 something or other, maybe an Aston Martin. Moments after the 7:00 AM show start, club member Kim F. arrives, iPad in hand. Since both Travis and Lynnette recently made “Car of the Week” selections, and Mark is to leave the show early, Kim is asked to pick the Member’s Choice “Car of the Week” this time. Mark expresses to Kim about the rare car that is supposed to be arriving, his excitement being very infectious.
Shortly thereafter, she rolls in. Red and shiny, floating on chrome-hubbed wheels with red spokes outlined by contrasting whitewall Firestones. Her mesmerizing lines are piloted by a striking female whose ensemble of white-rimmed glasses and red polka dot dress clearly reflect the attitude of the machine. All in all, the scene demands the attention of the sea of head-turns it’s receiving. Kim immediately scatters from the Civitan Car Club booth, iPad still in hand.
That was the early morning scene at Cars and Coffee Las Vegas this past Saturday, June 7, 2014, prior to the pick of the Civitan Car Club Member’s Choice “Car of the Week” selection. In fact, club member Kim was very excited to make the pick. If you knew Kim, you’d know that she’s an avid car iPadographer. She has taken literally thousands of photos of cars with her iPad at the many car shows she attends throughout the valley. An avid auto enthusiast, her blue Superman-themed Fiat 500 can be seen driving around Las Vegas area streets and on area racetracks.
It turned out that the car was not a something or other or an Aston Martin, as originally hinted at by club member Mark. It was, in fact, a 1935 Auburn Boattail Speedster Model 851 built by the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Company. The car’s owner, Candace Paulino, found it for sale at a museum in Murdo, SD and purchased it with the intention of completing a full restoration on the vehicle. Candace has been involved in showing cars for more than 25 years in the Seattle area. Her ownership of this masterpiece started 18 years ago, and during that time she’s accumulated a wealth of knowledge about the car and the brand.
In this short video, Candace explains briefly about the car.
“She’s a 1935 Auburn Boattail Speedster that was assembled by the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Company in 1964. This car has an all original running gear and chassis. Most of the car parts were reproductions built to complete the car. In 1935, it broke over 70 American speed records on the Bonneville Salt Flats when it was run by Ab Jenkins, the famous race car driver of the time. The car has a lot of rich history to it, and it took me 18 years to put the car back together and do all of the research on it.”
In further conversation, Candace noted that the car is likely worth approximately $200,000.00. She emphasized that her car is not a replica and that it’s powered by an originaly Lycoming engine with a Schwitzer-Cummings centrifugal super-charger, designed by August Duesenberg and Pearl Watson. Candace also says her efforts of a complete restoration are still underway, that the supercharger is still being finished. At Cars and Coffee Las Vegas, it was great to watch Candace interact with the many awestruck auto enthusiasts who approached her with questions about her baby. She freely shared her knowledge of the most intricate details of her car, and of the ACD Company. One passerby asked “What does the Model 851 mean?” Candace’s reply was “8 means that it’s an 8 cylinder, 5 is the year the model was produced, and 1 is the edition of the car”.
Additional research on this model of car adds even more impress and history. The Auburn Speedster was known as the rolling icon of the Art Deco Era, owned by many of the era’s rich and famous. Noted Auburn authority John Ehresman of Al Restorations in Southwick, Massachusetts, a former 1935 Speedster owner himself, indicated that there were only 97 of the Speedsters made in 1935 and another 50 in 1936, for just 147 of these vehicles in all. History also shows that the development of the car took place at a time when the Auburn Cord Duesenburg Company was bleeding red, losing money on each car built. Owner EL Cord employed the imaginative designer, Gordon Buehrig, who used existing parts from designs of Alan Leamy to build the speedster.
According to AuburnSpeedsters.com:
Auburn, Cords and Duesenbergs (ACD) came to be known for their advance engineering, performance and beautiful styling. The Rich and Famous owned these cars around the world. They were a symbol for success. Despite all of their attributes E.L. Cords automobiles were just too expensive and could not overcome the Great Depression. It would have a devastating effect on Mr. Cord’s car companies. The Depression and the fact that Cord had started neglecting his car business, caused profits to start falling by 1932. At that time, Cord was one of the richest men in the world. The ACD Cars are what he is best known for, but Cord owned a transportation empire. He owned airlines, ship lines, ship building companies, aircraft companies, foundries and communication companies. He would later make more fortunes in real estate, mining and oil refining.
Even with the popularity of the Speedster, the Auburn Automobile Company would continue to bleed red ink. Auburn production stopped after the 1936 models and Cords were built into 1937. On August 7th 1937, the Auburn Automobile Company closed its doors. A Great era of building Classic Cars had come to an end.
Congratulations to Candace and her beautifully restored automotive treasure. It’s a true piece of American automotive history and this week’s Civitan Car Club Member’s Choice, “Car of the Week”, selected by member Kim F. Also, congratulations to Cars and Coffee Las Vegas for getting cars of this caliber to be shown at the weekly event.
Find out more information about Candace’s Speedster at her blog located at http://auburncordlady.blogspot.com. Additional resources on the ACD Speedster can be found at the following: