Live Auctions

Walled In: 1935 Auburn 653

We’ve heard of people going to great lengths to keep their old car protected from the elements. We’ve even heard stories of people building walls around car in to keep it safe. According to the seller of this 1935 Auburn 653, it was found a week ago walled in in the previous owner’s garage. After tearing down a wall to get to it, they have now pulled it free from its resting place and have listed it here on eBay.

This pre-war classic is going to need a full restoration, but it looks like it will make a great starting point. It has spent at least the past 60 years in Southern Oregon, which means cancerous rust shouldn’t be a huge issue. The car was last licensed in 1953 and was parked in the previous owner’s garage around that time. The garage apparently lacked a door, so they built a wall to close the opening. It appears to have done a decent job of protecting the car from the elements, but time has still taken its toll.

This Auburn was advanced for its time, with the Columbia two speed differential and the Startix ignition system. The car’s original straight six engine is still in the car, but the seller doesn’t state whether it turns freely or not. It appears that most of the parts are still here, but this could be a big project to get this running again. With only 85 hp, don’t plan on getting anywhere in a hurry, but the two speed differential should make this a comfortable car to drive at speed.

We don’t come by Auburns very often, the few we do are usually in very rough condition. This one has plenty of rust and will need some major work, but it looks solid. The next time you’re in an old barn or garage, be sure to check behind every wall you see, you might just find something great hiding behind it. We would like to thank Mike H for sharing this interesting find with us.


  1. Horse Radish

    Great that something like this has survived this long.

    According to the seller the front bumper is the only thing missing, so this car must have been delivered new without front or rear windshields and with out cushion or cover on the back seat. How strange indeed.

    Note to e-bay author: they invented paragraphs not too long ago. Makes for easier reading I hear…..

    • eccentrickels

      Sorry about no paragraphs. It must have been most difficult for you to read as you missed the fact that the front and rear windows were in the car and the mice found the cushions too.

  2. paul

    My friend Horse R made fun of my bad spelling so I’ll make sure to get it right, just kidding Radish. This one deserves a complete Rotisserie, ground up, deal for sure, nice find. Funny when you hear these stories of cars being walled up, like the family that had a grocery store & the owner decided to wall in his orig 53 Corvette that he bought new, many years later the family sold the property but removed the car from it’s tomb, wonder what happened to that very orig. very low mile, Vette.

  3. twwokc

    In 1953 this 1935 Auburn was 18 years old. Had no glass or front bumper and was in pretty rough shape.
    Owner “walled” it in to protect it. Now almost 60 years later its discovered.
    Quite a story.

  4. Toolbox

    eccentrickels seems to have a split window Bug undergoing a resto in his garage.

    • eccentrickels

      The VW is an early dash Feb. 1952 standard. All chrome trim is painted! Now in the reassembly stage. Man, it took me years to find all the correct parts!

  5. Larry Sauerhage

    Let’s build a Street Rod!! Who’s with me on this one??

    Like 1
    • eccentrickels

      The new owner of a fabrication shop and can do all the metalwork. The car is very sound anyway. As far as the upholstery is concerned, even a perfect museum car with original upholstery would need a complete redo as, once you get in, materials that are 77 years old, crumble into tatters. Unless you can do a lot of the work yourself, as this owner will, I agree, watch your pennies.

      Like 1

      I have 1936 Auburn Combination car , its the body of a hearse and ambulance , that I have street rodded . 163.5 inch wheel base .

      • Scot C

        ~ Like to see that.

  6. scot c

    ~ despite lack of paragraphs the narrative was compelling. it seems the rescuer knows something about this find. no judgement implied but why would you not want to be the one to bring this back to life? i understand it is a monumental task which will strain one’s resources. hope to read the success story one day.
    (what the heck did become of that ’53 Corvette?)

    • eccentrickels

      Thank you for appreciating my story. I really wanted to restore this car. My wife really didnt want me to restore this car. The reasons are the ongoing projects listed below…
      1938 Studebaker Cruising Sedan
      1938 Packard 1600 Touring Sedan
      1939 Cadillac 60S
      1942 Chevrolet 1/2 Ton
      1947 Studebaker M-15A1 One Ton
      1949 DeSoto S-11 Club Coupe
      1952 VW Standard Pre-Zwitter
      1956 Buick Century 2-dr Hardtop
      1967 Volvo 1800S
      1969 Karmann Ghia Coupe

      Like 1
      • Roger Gorski

        What do you do with your spare time?
        Look for more restorations?


      scot c , if you give an email or some way to do so , ill send you a picture of my Auburn

      Like 1
      • Scot Carr

        ~ Are you on FB? Send me a friend request.
        Scot Carr. thanks

  7. Dolphin Member

    Auburns are a great American marque, and this car has an interesting story, but despite the enthusiasm of the seller I would be very cautious here.

    This is a 4-door sedan that needs everything on it restored plus some missing parts. The cost to bring this back to good driver condition will be many ten$ of thousand$ if you pay to have it done, and if you don’t you will need to be very skilled, have a well-equipped restoration shop, and have a lot of spare hours to devote to the job. A 100-point restoration will cost even more.

    A very nicely restored 2-door 1935 Auburn Model 653 Salon Dual Ratio Brougham was sold at auction at Hilton Head in 2007. It was described this way: “….treated to a restoration, finished in cream with tan accents, given a dual ratio rear end, and one of the rarest examples of the Model 653 in existence. It has a vinyl roof, is a rust-free example…”. That car sold for $30,800 at the height of values before the financial meltdown in 2008, and it was a sporty 2-door. This one is a ‘regular’ 4-door, and would be less appealing on the collector car market.

    Be cautious. Very, very cautious.

    • paul

      I see your point, well taken, I thought these were worth more.

    • scot c

      ~ Winning bid: US $7,500.00
      it doesn’t seem that your warning was taken to heart.
      .best of luck to the buyer, none the less.

      • eccentrickels

        I just found a similar 4-door that sold for $13000

  8. Chris

    Another walled up car in the garage story. But Auburns haave a great history and this one is good enough for a full restoration even if it is a 4 door. From the depths of the depression, not very many of these could have been made and are still surviving even in this shape. Stylish car.

  9. Lemble

    This car will be made into a speedster .

    • eccentrickels

      Funny you should say this. I currently am selling loads of parts to a gentleman in New Delhi, India who has made a 653 4 door into an 851 Speedster!

      Like 1
  10. Dale

    Well kept, but restoring it would put the owner upside down in a big hurry. Now if was a supercharged 8 cyl, a whole ‘nother story.

  11. volvotechmikec

    This is a magnificent car! Its so sad all anyone cares about is how much they may or may not profit from. This car deserves either a proper restoration, or simple mechanical freshening ( will still cost a pretty penny), I love the barn fresh look . Drive it around, real American history.

    Like 2
    • scot c

      ~ well put, Mike.

    • eccentrickels

      Mike C,
      Thank you so much for your comment! So many people have said exactly the same thing to me, including the new owner. He had searched for over 10 years to find an Auburn in this price range, is extremely excited about it and can’t wait to dive into the project! The car is enroute to Michigan now. He will send me photographic progress from time to time.

      Like 1
  12. Dolphin Member

    @scot c & volvotech:

    Not everyone who figures costs before taking the plunge into a long and expensive restoration is a flipper or even plans to resell the car soon. For those of us who have limited funds for old cars, it’s important to figure costs in money and time, because a long expensive restoration is going to limit what can be done if other priorities or even another desirable car comes along.

    I think that some cars I see up for sale here and on other car sites and on eBay are probably being sold because someone didn’t realize how long, difficult, and expensive a complete restoration of an old car would be, lost interest, and was forced to sell part way through with no hope of getting all their money back. If you have restored an old car that needs “everything” you know how long, difficult and expensive it can be to source scarce parts and services to bring it back. As for me, I like too many different cars to allow myself get trapped that way, so I have to figure costs carefully or I’ll get underwater, and any hope of buying that next car will be shot, even if it’s relatively cheap. And I figure this Auburn is more expensive to buy and restore than I can afford, so if you like this interesting Auburn enough, go ahead and step up to the plate.

    Like 1
    • scot c

      ~ @ Dolphin,
      your approach is the rational, analytic method we all would be wise to employ. it is difficult to leave final value out of the equation, hard to ignore what the result of your planning, hard work, and money spent will be worth when the project is complete. i try not to exceed my ability to accomplish but have been caught in the trap you describe more than once, although profit is not my prime mover. and as you have pointed out, this one i’ll have to leave to someone better prepared.

      Like 1
      • eccentrickels

        What Scot C says is spot-on! I have restored many cars and have only lost money on one! (a modern car) This is possible if, you can do much of the work yourself. The vast, worldwide reaches of the internet, enable the restorer to find “impossible” parts that, could not be found just a few years ago. I would have never been able to find a $5000 radio for my 52 VW had it not been for the internet. (I have seen them as high as $6500) I was able to trade for this radio straight across for vintage vw parts that were hoarded my me. Because I am not in a hurry, I stockpile duplicate parts when I find them at swapmeets at extremely reasonable cost, then, sell off the excess for a profit and many times, when the profit on a truckload of parts is deducted from the resto cost, I have many thousands of dollars taken off my net cost of restoration. Go slowly, join clubs to make contacts and buy as many parts for trading stock as you can. Then, you will seldom be upsidedown. There is more money in parts but, making a junker into a JEWEL and preserving a bit of Automotive history makes this process a Labor-of-Love.

        Like 1
  13. JW454

    Eccentrickels, you are so right on this one. If you watch and are ready buy at the right time you can make some good money swapping, selling, and trading parts. On Memorial Day I bought two steering columns from a junk yard for $27.00 each. I broke them all down and restored them. By the time I had replaced all necessary parts I had $38.00 in them. This past Sunday I sold one of them for $325.00 and have a bite on the other one for later this week. That will be a little under $600.00 net to put towards my project.

  14. Dustin

    Auburns are awesome.

  15. Jody

    I have a 1936 Auburn Combination Car that I have street rodded , they only built 33 this body style. 383 Stroker with TPI, 700R trans , GM 10 bolt posi …. Im out of Oklahoma

    • Alan Trickel


      I am in Oregon and found the Barn Find Auburn in this article. I have many 1934-36 Auburn parts for sale Let me know what you need everybody!
      Alan or text /call (541)665-2516

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