When you examine the evolution of the automotive industry in the United States, the Detroit-area Big Three and their multiple divisions immediately come to mind, but there were some other companies that made a huge impact in the earlier days as well, and they weren’t all from Michigan. One of them is the Auburn Automobile Company, which was founded in Auburn, Indiana in 1900. The impetus for what became Auburn actually started even earlier, back in 1875 when Charles Eckhart started the Eckhart Carriage Company along with his two sons, who were named Morris and Frank.
In 1919 the Eckharts sold Auburn to a consortium of Chicago businessmen, and in 1924 they attempted to bring Erret Cord aboard. Cord had made a name for himself in automotive sales, and rather than joining the Chicago group, which was headed up by Ralph Austin Bard, he acquired the company for himself. In 1926 he forged a partnership with the Duesenberg Corporation while also releasing the first car that carried his name, the Cord that came to be known as the L-29. Cord was positioning himself well in the high-end automotive niche, but he was doing so in the latter portion of the 1920s. As we know with the benefit of hindsight, the stock market crashed in 1929, so the timing was a problem for Cord, and production of the Auburn, Cord, and Duesenberg ceased in 1937.
However, the legacy of these seminal vehicles lives on at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum that is actually located in the same building that was once home to the Auburn Automobile Company in Auburn, Indiana. It was opened in 1974, and it is indeed one of the most important automotive attractions in the United States. It has been rated as one of the “Top Ten Gearhead Destinations” in America by MSNBC, and it houses some 120 specimens that date back as far as 1894. The museum is open to the public seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is $10 for adults and $6 for children five and above. And bring your camera, because photographing these historic classics is not only allowed, but highly encouraged!
“You ain’t afraid of no…” Ghostbusters’ Ectomobile! The 1959 Cadillac ambulance/hearse combination limo-style endloader is one of the most iconic vehicles from a movie. The original Ecto 1 was built by Miller-Meteor Company and included a 6.5 liter V8 engine. It was 20 feet long and 6.5 feet wide.
In the original Ghostbusters movie, character Ray Stantz, played by actor Dan Aykroyd, purchased the vehicle for $4800, which was very pricey for the 80’s and for the poor condition the vehicle was in. The work that he describes doing on it is as follows: suspension work, new shocks, brakes, brake pads, lining, transmission, rings, muffler, rear end and steering box and a little bit of wiring.