The “McCleary Special” Auburn Features Long-Term Ownership & Extensive Tour History

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This Auburn is ready to tour and is selling at no reserve at Barrett-Jackson this weekend.

The classic car community is set to witness a remarkable offering as "The McCleary Special," a meticulously restored 1931 Auburn 8-98A Cabriolet, graces the market for the first time in over three decades. This iconic vehicle, initially acquired by William E. McCleary on October 8, 1988, for $12,500, stands as a testament to the seamless blend of authentic restoration and modern enhancements. Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg experts expect this car to sell for $200000-$250000.


Originally hailing from California, the Auburn had lingered in the hands of a long-term owner, who, despite intentions, never embarked on its restoration journey. Recognizing the vehicle's potential, McCleary embarked on an extensive nut-and-bolt restoration, meticulously documented and completed in 1995. The engine was meticulously dismantled and rebuilt, and the undercarriage and suspension were rejuvenated to meet the exacting standards of factory-new conditions. The restoration process also involved revamping the chrome, interior, and exterior, culminating in the installation of a tan top, later replaced by a black one to match McCleary's evolving aesthetic preferences.

As time progressed and priorities shifted towards enhanced safety and drivability, McCleary entrusted the vehicle to a specialist who carefully integrated a series of modifications without compromising its matching-numbers originality. These upgrades included the installation of a power steering system, the conversion of the brakes to hydraulic with a dual master cylinder, and a revamped 8-cylinder header paired with twin carburetors to boost horsepower.

"The McCleary Special" has garnered acclaim within the Auburn Cord Duesenberg (ACD) and Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) communities, participating in numerous tours and standing as a prime candidate for official certification. Despite its performance enhancements, the car retains its original engine, frame, and coachwork, rendering the modifications inconspicuous unless subjected to a detailed inspection.

Now, after years of cherished ownership and meticulous care, this distinguished Auburn 8-98A Cabriolet is poised to enchant a new custodian. Accompanying the sale is a comprehensive binder of restoration photos, an owner's manual, and a service manual, ensuring the vehicle's legacy and its blend of classic charm and modern refinement are preserved for generations to come.

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