Car collectors tend to have some eclectic tastes, then again car aficionado and philanthropist Jim Rogers wasn’t your average car collector. The media mogul made his millions in the television industry, and though he gave much of his fortune away, the rest he spent on cars – over 230 autos in total.
Sadly, Rogers passed away in June of last year, but true to his philanthropic nature, his massive car collection will be sold off by Mecum Auctions to fund arts and education scholarships. The trove features big ’40s and ’50s coupes, sedans, and wagons that scream vintage Americana, but this gorgeous orange-on-olive 1935 Auburn 851 Phaeton stands out from the pack. What a looker.
The striking 851 was the styling result of two men, Auburn designer Al Leamy and his replacement Gordon Buehrig. Although Leamy’s designs have been lauded for Auburn’s earlier success, the economic decline of the Great Depression forced Leamy out…and Buehrig in. The young Duesenberg design veteran then focused on cutting costs by subtly revising his predecessor’s bodywork.
On the 851, Buehrig channeled those efforts into the car’s fenders, hood, and its powerful front grille. Inside, the original dash is engraved with gold inserts and iconic art deco styling, and underneath the Auburn sits on glimmering orange wire wheels with period whitewall tires. 80 years later, we’d say he did a bang-up job.
Behind the Auburn’s protruding front fascia lies a Lycoming 280ci flathead straight-eight engine, featuring high compression heads and outputting – in its day – around 100 to 115 horsepower.
The auction house estimates a final gavel bang between $75,000 and $100,000. We’d figure the orange wheels add an extra ten grand or so.