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8-88 Boattail Speedster
The first Auburn 8-63 was launched in 1925 with 4.5-litre and 60bhp engine, and renamed the 8-88 in 1926 with a 4.8-litre side-valve 88 bhp Lycoming engine. The roadster has a unique third door which allowed easier passenger access to the rumble seat. Power is from a 299 cubic-inch Lycoming eight-cylinder engine that delivers 72 horsepower. The wheelbase measures 129 inches and the car weighs 3180 pounds.
The Lycoming developed eight cylinder would become the basis for the 1925 Model 8-88. The 276-cid 68hp straight eight became the basis for what would form the architecture of every Auburn that followed. With the new, powerful 8-88, Auburn went racing with Stutz the primary target of its efforts. While often coming in second to the Car that Made Good in a Day, the Auburn still very much came in first when it came to value, as the list price of an Auburn was less than half of that of a Stutz.
In 1928, Auburn replaced the 8-88 with the 8-115. Under the hood was a 299-cid straight eight that made 115hp, two more than Stutz's eight cylinder. Just as significant as the muscle under the hood was the new exterior looks. The Speedster, making its debut on the 8-115, was like nothing else at the time. A sharply raked V-type windshield sat atop a long hood and high beltline, ending in a tapered tail. Sitting still, it looked fast. And that was the factory body, not a special one-off from a coachbuilder! Hydraulic brakes made their debut as well, bring the whole affair to a swift stop. The Model 8's were given a wide-ratio three-speed gearbox and rested on either a 125- or 130-inch wheelbase, depending on the model. The 8-115 had the larger size.
The 8-98 featured a more economical 268.6-cid version of the venerable Lycoming straight eight producing 98hp. On top, even more raking and sporting bodywork was fitted. Underneath the skin, the first use of X-bracing on a rear-wheel drive car was featured, Lovejoy hydraulic shocks, semi-elliptical suspension all-around, and an optional L.G.S. Freewheeling unit. Available in Standard and a Custom Series, the sleek new, (lower by three inches) Auburn rode on a X-braced, double drop frame fitted on 17 inch wheels with a wider 59 inch front and 61 inch rear track. Returning was the Bijur one-shot chassis lubrication system. Powered by a 98bhp, 268.6 cu. in. Lycoming eight-cylinder engine, a stock Auburn won the 250 mile road race in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1931. The announcement on October 26, 1931 proclaimed the reintroduction of the famed Auburn Speedster. With its v-windscreen, boattail styling and disappearing folding top the sleek Auburn was a sportsman’s dream. Designed by Alan Leamy the two passenger 1931 Auburn 8-98 Boattail Speedster was a mere 68 inches tall.
1929 brought few changes to the Speedsters; they were now known as the 8-90 and the 8-120. The naming scheme varied slightly from prior years, as horsepower was not rated at 96 and 125 respectively, but the names did not necessarily match. This increase in power was due to a change in the fuel system.
1929 was a great year for the Auburn 8 Models, and enjoyed record sales numbers. The company chose to make minimal changes for the following year, as the cars were selling well and most of their attention was diverted to the upcoming front-wheel drive Cord models.
The '115' became the '125' in 1930, with a 'cabin speedster' among the models, advertised as a "racing car with comfort of a closed car" with a 125bhp version of the Lycoming eight giving it a claimed top speed of over 100 mph. In 1930 horsepower again improved, now rated at 100 for the smaller eight. The name 'Speedster' no longer appeared as part of the Model 8 name. It would re-appear the following year (In 1931), as the company wanted to put emphasis on performance.
The Boattail Speedster offered sits on the shorter, 127" wheelbase onto which all Speedsters were fitted. Painted two-tone red, the body coloured radiator surround and grill helped give the sporting Auburns an even more athletic look. Inside, deep red leather abounds while the comprehensive cluster of gauges sits neatly in the center of the dash.
In 1932, the Styling remained mostly unchaged; mechanically, things were different. A new Startix automatic starter was added; Custom models were fitted with Delco ride regulations which were shock absorbers that were adjustable from the driver's compartment. This allowed a softer or firmer ride depending on the drivers needs at the time. Custom models also were given a vacuum-controlled two-speed axle known as Dual Ratio. This also gave drivers the freedom of selecting a 4.54:1 or 3.00:1 gear ratio. The 4.54 offered better performance while the 3.00:1 had better economy.
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