Owning a ’36 Auburn was a pipe dream for Firefighter Randy Perez. In its time, the Auburn was known for its advanced engineering, performance, and its beautiful style. The rich and famous from all over the world owned these cars; they were a symbol of success. Despite all of its great attributes, the Auburn was a victim of horrible timing, as it was just too expensive, and therefore could not overcome The Great Depression. Production of the Auburn came to a halt after the ’36 model was built until 1937. On August 7th 1937, Auburn Automotive Company closed its doors for good, and a great era of classic car building came to an end.
Even though owning an Auburn was always in the back of Randy’s mind, he never thought he would be able to afford one. “It would be crazy to have one,” says Randy, and with good reason; with only 500 of the ’36 Auburn Speedsters Boat Tails made and with these models carrying a half million dollar price tag on them, chances seemed slimmed to say the least. “In the ’30’s, all the big manufactures were making boat tail speedsters,” explained Randy, who’s knowledge of Bombs is second to none from everyone I’ve met. “But the Auburn was easily the most famous of them all.”
In the ’70’s and ’80’s, three major companies started reproducing them, but, much like the original company, they failed to stay in business. Replica models range from $100,000-$120,000, and used replicas can go from $70,000-$100,000. “There aren’t many of the reproduction ones out there either,” explains Randy.
Even though Randy thought that owning one would prove to be an impossible dream, he kept looking at them on various websites throught the years. One day, as he was looking online, he came across one for sale with only 35,000 miles on it. “The guy decided to sell it, I saw it on a website, contacted him and made the deal,” says Randy proudly. “I believe that the reason I was able to purchase it was because his price was very reasonable, and he had owned it for so long that he was able to make money on the deal. He would have been able to make more money if he would have put it out there on the market.” Randy’s good fortune smiled upon him, and he was grateful for the owner’s lack of business sense. “I don’t think he knew what the market was,” he says with a grin.
Randy’s dream had come true, and on the same night that Randy brought the Auburn home, he got right down to business. He excitedly began ripping the seats and carpet out, and with his skill saw, began cutting the floor out to make a tunnel for the drive shaft. “I wanted it lowered, and I did lower it that same night!” he says. “There I am with a new $40,000 car, cutting it up with a saw the night I got it. I’m crazy like that,” explained Randy as he laughed about it.
The hardest part of the build was lifting the car. I knew Harry Nieves would be able to help me,” he says. “I drove it over to him and said ‘with what I know about Bombs, and what you know about hydraulics, we can do it.'” After a few weeks of burning the midnight oil, the Auburn was lifted. “Harry helped me a lot. It was a fun collaboration with him.”
Since the car was built in 1980, it had a lot of modern upgrades like handles, switches, knobs, and other additions that Randy replaced with vintage parts to give it a more classic look and feel to it. “I’m going to eventually change all of the headlights and taillights, and even paint a mural of a fine Chicana on the boat tail.”
Randy Perez would like to thank Jaime “Mr. Wim” Trevino, Rich Luna of Lunatic Customs, Rorry Pintacosta, Gary McLean from McLean Wheels, Harry Nieves who helped out a lot with the hydraulics, Coker Tires, and his wife Maddy Perez. “She is always there for me, and she always backs me up in my crazy lunatic ideas,” Randy says sincerely. Great work Randy! N
Owner: Randy Perez
Vehicle Nick Name: Sofia
Vehicle: 1936 Auburn Speedster
City/State: Fremont, CA
Club: Style Kings
Engine/Drive Train: The Auburn Speedster was built by California Custom Coach Inc. of Pasadena, CA, and they added a 429 Ford Big Block engine, and a Ford C-6 automatic transmission.
Body & Paint: Randy bought the car with the two tone paint job on it. Feeling the colors complimented the car he left it as is, but added some pinstripping from Jaime “Mr. Wim” Trevino and Rich Luna of Lunatic Customs.
Interior: Since the car was built in 1980, it had several modern pieces on it. Being a guy who pays attention to detail, Randy reversed any modern looking switch, knob, or other details to get that old school look
Suspension: With no trunk in the car, lifting the Auburn was no easy task. With the help of his good friend Harry Nieves, Randy lifted the Speedster. The two old school pumps were neatly tucked away in the front fenders, and the four batteries were installed behind the seat in the area that was originally meant to hold golf clubs.
Tires: 16″ Firestone 500/525
Wheels: 16″ Artilleries