As you grow
older you tend to look back on life and realize you took some things for
granted. Since this is a blog about great classic cars, there were a few cars
that have made a big impact on my life. I was born and raised in the small town
of Auburn, IN. Home of the classics. When I was a kid I really had no clue what
that meant even though The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum was
literally 2 blocks from my house. I rode my bike by it every day not realizing
the impact the cars inside had on the automotive industry and our little town
of Auburn then and now.
By classics that would be 3 of the all-time best American cars ever made; Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg. And you don’t have to ask me about that, do some research and you will find these 3 makes on almost every list of the best of the best of American made automobiles in history. From pure forward thinking design, speed, front-wheel drive, elegance and engineering, these classics have made their mark on the history of American Cars and manufacturing.
I use to sit there every Labor Day weekend, and still do when I can get back, and watch as these beautiful giants of the road come down the annual classic car parade. Now that I am older I look at these cars in such pure amazement and can see the impact they truly had. The annual ACD festival is held every year on Labor Day weekend bringing together car enthusiasts from around the world. The festival is a focus on the three local classics, but also holds a huge auction that draws buyers from around the world looking to buy any and all other makes and models from the course of the past 100 years.
When I was in
my 20’s and went back each year for that weekend and saw the likes of professional
athletes, movies stars and a few billionaires from around the world walking
around the town center mingling with us local Hoosiers, I knew this place and
these classic cars were way bigger than I ever imagined. It’s then I started to
realize how important these cars and Auburn were to so many people. It made me
proud and still does to say I am from Auburn Indiana where these great classics
were made. And yes, Jay Leno shows up from time to time. Of course I could
never buy a million dollar Duesenberg, but apparently many can and even compete
for them at these auctions. There has even been a Duesenberg that sold for over
$10 million in the past. These cars certainly don’t come cheap these days.
I try to explain to friends that they do in fact know these great classics and have seen them in various movies, TV shows and videos, etc. Here’s just a small list; The Great Gatsby, Indiana Jones, Dick Tracey, Seabiscuit, Knight Rider, Charlie’s Angels and even a Nicki Minaj video. Gary Cooper and Clark Gable owned the only two short-wheelbase SSJ Duesenbergs ever built.
These days I live in Charlotte, NC where seeing a BMW is the norm around every turn. It’s funny because when I go back to Auburn, a few times a year; it is the norm to see classic cars of all types rolling by day and night like no big deal. It would be nice to see a Duesenberg cruise around Charlotte for an afternoon. Traffic would stop dead in its tracks. No one would then notice a BMW go by.