They come from as far off as Vancouver and Florida. Some make their permanent homes in Long Island and Cleveland and Los Angeles. But in each of the last four years, like birds migrating in the spring, they have wended their way back to the sweet rolling countryside of the Indiana lake region and the place of their birth, Auburn, a town of gracious homes and inconspicuous wealth that is perhaps best known for a scrappy little automobile manufacturing firm that once produced some of the finest cars in the U.S.
There were 90 cars in all, Cords, Auburns and Duesenbergs, and with them came their owners and friends, 500 strong. Most belonged to a national club, the purpose of which is to preserve the famous makes.
Auburn's citizens threw their homes open to the visitors. There were parades and inspections, a drive through the surrounding hills and a barbecue in Eckhart Park, behind the Auburn factory. Enthusiasts traded gossip and hard-to-get equipment, dropped in at the factory and talked with Gordon Buehrig, who is presently with Ford in Dearborn, Mich. Back in the heyday of Auburn he was chief stylist of latter-day Duesenbergs, the Auburn Speedster and the coffin-nosed Cord. In all, about 3,000 Cords were built, 1,500 Speedsters and 500 Duesenbergs. Club members own 400 of' the Cords, 250 Auburns and 80 Duesenbergs. Their rally has become an annual event, which is fine by Auburnites, many of whom were skilled artisans in Auburn's great shops.
Boat-tailed Auburn Speedster, also styled by Buehrig, is sportiest, most popular of Auburn line. A Speedster, owned by Founder Harry Denhart of Greenville, N.Y., led to founding of club in 1952.
Coffin-nosed Cord, Buehrig's last styling effort for Auburn, came in two models, the 810 (above), built in 1936, and the supercharged version of the next year, the 812. Both models offered front wheel drive.
Line of Duesenbergs assembles for parade of all three makes through downtown Auburn. Lead car shown here is a model J 1933 Murphy-body Duesenberg owned by Alfred Ferrara of Cleveland.
Lines of enthusiasts inspect Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Club autos parked following parade around square in center of Auburn. Car in foreground with hood up is a 1931 Cord convertible coupe.
Classic lines belong to beautifully refurbished 1933 model J Duesenberg Derham Tourster, owned by Dr. C. H. Elsner of Crete, Neb. An optometrist, Dr. Elsner also owns an Auburn Speedster.
CORD STYLIST GORDON BUEHRIG WANDERS HAPPILY AMONG REMNANTS OF HIS ART