As the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival celebrates its 59th anniversary, it’s easy to see the impact this festival has had on the community during its rich and long history. Whether it be the sprawling 235-acre Auburn Auction Park, one of the largest venues of its kind in the United States, or the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Facility which is designated as a National Historic Landmark, it is easy to see the gems this rich automotive celebration still bears today. But if you go beyond the cars and past the great historic walls, there is more than meets the eye.
When the Auburn Automobile Company closed its doors in 1937 due in large part to pressure from the Great Depression, not to mention the U.S. Securities and Exchange commission, it left a community with a large dependency on the automotive industry in despair. Not only were the citizens of Auburn out of work, many had invested their savings in the company as well. Just two decades later the newly-formed Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club rolled into town for its first reunion. Not everyone welcomed them with open arms, but fortunately, a few Auburn locals along with the Chamber of Commerce recognized the potential upside of this tourism to the town and worked to tirelessly welcome the visitors and creatively brainstorm ways to grow the festivities.
In the early 1970s, some great minds decided to give a collector car auction a try. It was such a success that traffic from the event shut down Interstate 69 and prompted national media coverage at the high prices garnered from “used” cars at the auction. The collector car auction industry put Auburn on the map, expanding over the decades. In 2015, Auburn is privileged to have two collector car auctions during Labor Day weekend offering some of the world’s finest automobiles.
(According to a recent study on the economic impact of tourism in DeKalb County.)