1929 Auburn 8 Race Car
1929 Auburn Race Car.
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Listed under categories:
1900-29 Antique/Vintage, Race/Track/Rally
95 hp Lycoming motor. Straight eight, 4900 cc with rare Ricardo high-compression head.
The entire running gear is genuine '29 Auburn apart from the front shock absorbers. - 3 speed Warner Muncie gearbox, Columbia rear axle, Dayton wire wheels, Schebler twin throat carburettor.
Great effort was made to locate quality Michelin tyres.
This vehicle was converted into a race car in 1960 in Oamaru, New Zealand then during the next decade raced with considerable success considering the huge weight of the machine. During conversion, the chassis was cut in half and the rear end turned upside down, make the diff underslung which unwittingly was identical to a 1929 one-off factory speedster and the '29 Trexler Special which competed in the 1930 Indianapolis 500. This vehicle, unlike the other American pair, also has its engine and gearbox lowered to promote faster cornering.
In its Otago (New Zealand) racing career it often won Fastest Time of the Day - FTD, or best local entrant, in the many grass racing track meets, hill climbs, or standing quarters it entered in.
Due to the restorer's ill health this car is for sale.
1929 AUBURN Straight 8
Extra Notes on the Auburn.
The following is a mixed series of points relevant to the restoration of the Auburn as a racing car.
Egge, the piston supplier in the US, did not supply 1929 pistons as requested, but they were the last + 40 thous. pistons available in the States. Because they didn't go to the top of the bore when fitted, we needed to get 1/2 inch of alluminium welded onto the top and then a ring grove turned in that 1/ 2 section, to ensure it had no piston slap. It was a very successful job.
I had quotations of $5500 and $6500 to carry out the whitemetal bearing renewal. My friend who is a retired fitter and turner, worked for a major motor company and foundry all his life and had experience doing whitemetal contracts 40 - 50 years ago. He and I put days into doing the Auburn's 13 journals and we fitted 2 thous. shims in as well, on the theory that after a thousand miles or so, these shims could be removed if necessary.
I renewed all bearings in the hubs, gearbox, steering box, axles etc. The only ones I didn't touch were the diff head as these had been replaced during racing days.
The Schebler carburettor is unique with twin adjustments and was really something in 1929. This very car for many years ran on a single throat inlet manifold but with the twin throat carburettor. I was very lucky to obtain the correct twin throat manifold. It has made all the difference to the running of the motor.
The other thing to affect the potency of the motor is the camshaft grind. I paid the shaft grind company to place all the information on my shaft into their computer, which then recommended a shaft grind to make the car more powerful and more economic, but not ' lumpy'. The grind used was a Chrysler 6 one.
The car is fitted with 18 inch wheels on the front and 17 inch on the rear. This came about because the 1960's converter had the wire wheels cut and fat feet fitted to the hubs ( the old hubs are included in the spare parts box ). I didn't approve of these out of place wides, and spent months trying to locate more wire wheels in both New Zealand and Australia. In the end I imported a pair from up near Detroit, USA. The 17's on the back also help with speed and pick up. This model originally was fitted with 18's all round but by 1930 or '31 had the 17's.
I fitted a hidden modern oil filter as I thought this vital, especially after all our work and money spent on the motor. The filter used is common on Ford V8's. It is under the passenger's side but reachable from under the firewall. A spare is included to assist you purchase replacements.
Oil used is that recommended by the Manager of Valvoline South Pacific in Australia. For both running in and permanent use he recommended ' Super HPO 30 which is SAE 30 API SF/CC '. It is still on the original oil after having travelled perhaps only 100 to 150 miles since restoration.
Because of the amount of fuel consumed, the 1960's converter to a racing car, fitted an electric fuel pump. I obtained a brand new high volume pump which is very reliable.
An inline fuel filter is fitted close to the tank which is reached by removing the rear cover. The fuel tank is not huge, I believe about 10 or 11 US gallons. There is room for a much bigger one.
We converted the electrics to 12 volt, mainly because 6 volt batteries are so expensive nowadays. The starter was checked over but built so strongly it didn't need upgrading. The distributor was upgraded. The internals of the generator ( brushes etc ) were removed but the generator however is required to drive the water pump. I find you do not need to recharge the battery all that often.
The entire running gear is genuine 1929 Auburn straight eight, except for the front shock absorbers which were brand new English technology in 1960. The only other thing non original, is the steering wheel which is apparently off some fancy early English racing car.
I went to considerable expense to get a modern multi core radiator made, as it was necessary to cut down the height by nearly 6 inches to suit the alloy body. I ordered the new radiator with good cooling in mind.
This is a "WOW" racing car. I was requested to take it around the Dunedin circuit for the annual Southern Festival of Speed series which is well attended by Americans, Canadians, Hong Kong, Macau, Australians and English. During the five laps it got a standing ovation from the crowd and it was filmed for showing on one of the national television news items that evening.
I was also asked to show it at a monstrous car show in Dunedin. Unknown to me they judged the cars in sections. The Auburn won 1st prize in the competition section against 50 plus other cars. The certificate is included in the box of goodies and the trophy is also made available.
When I was researching the vehicle prior to restoration, I spoke to two elderly gentleman who attended the Hill Climb at Dunedin to the south in 1967. Oddly enough, they both said identical things " oh that blue car, it made a fantastic sound, not a V8 sound, but one all of its own". That was nearly 40 years after the event !! Competing that day were several top class imported racing machines from Italy, England, etc. The Auburn with all its weight still pulled 7th place.
If desired it wouldn't take much to convert this to left hand drive. I believe you'd need to locate a left hand drive steering box. The pedals would easily be transferred to the other side.
This car, when converted to a race car, had the chassis cut in half and shortened by over a foot. The back section of chassis was turned upside down, thus making it underslung i.e. the diff and rear springs are now on top of the chassis. To continue with the lowering effect the motor and gear box were remounted in a much lower position and taken rearwards at the same time. It now has a very short driveshaft. This helps with speed cornering as well as transferring weight onto the rear wheels. The steering box was also relocated.