E. L. Cord commissioned a 60,000 square foot building in Auburn, Indiana to display his cars and use as office space for his new business. The decade was the 1930s, and times were getting tough. The Great Depression destroyed countless American businesses, but Mr. Cord managed to keep his doors open in this facility for seven years. The Auburn Automobile Company went out of business in 1937. That same two story building is now the home of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum.
The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum is located at the south edge of Auburn, just 150 northeast of Indianapolis. Museum experiences like this help enhance education around Indianapolis and teach young Hoosiers about Indiana history and Indiana culture. The museum is named after three classic car types, Aurburns, Cords and Duesenbergs. Each of these types are featured in museum galleries, and the majority of them were built right here in the Crossroads of America. Many of the classic cars spotted driving around Indy during the Indianapolis 500 were built in Auburn.
Auburn, Indiana hosts one of the biggest Hoosier car shows. The town also holds auctions in the Fall that attract crowds of 150,000 people. Being a major automotive town, Auburn also features the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum, home of the largest Duesenberg display in the world. MSNBC listed this museum as one of the “Top Ten Gearhead Destinations in the United States.” Antique lovers, car junkies and Indianapolis kids are fascinated by this day trip from Indianapolis.
The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum opened doors in 1974, and it’s now one the National Register of Historic Places. More than 100 cars are on display and many of them were made right around the Circle City, some were even built by Indianapolis businesses. The early part of the twentieth century was automotive history’s golden age, and cars in this collection represent a panorama of the era.
One tidbit of history learned at the museum is that Indiana had more than 100 auto producers between 1910 and 1030. During those two decades, cars were carefully assembled, not mass manufactured. Some of these fancy cars were driven for racing and some were built exclusively for luxury.
Classic car lovers could get lost in this museum and escape for hours, traveling through automotive history. One favorite exhibit at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum is the Avanti, a 1965 two-door sports coupe built by the Studebaker Company in South Bend, Indiana. This vehicle is special because it was built with glass fiber body, a method chosen in hopes of turning things around for the company. Other exhibits at the museum display Cord’s Presidential Office, classic advertising offices, automotive fine arts and endless rows of cars.
The Kruse International Classic and Collector Car Auction is based out of Auburn too, and it’s known to sell more classic cars than any other similar auctions combined. Nearly 5,000 cars are put on auction each day, beginning in September. Auburn is packed full of visitors during this time of year. There are tons of fun things to do in eastern Indiana, including a visit to the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum, a stop at the Grissom Air Museum in Peru, Indiana or a day trip to the Mid-America Windmill Museum in Kendallville, Indiana.
Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum
1600 Wayne Street
Auburn, Indiana 46706