Auburn was a brand name of American automobiles produced from 1900 through 1936. The Auburn Automobile Company grew out of the Eckhart Carriage Company, founded in Auburn, Indiana in 1874 by Charles Eckhart (1841-1915). Eckhart's sons, Frank and Morris, experimented making automobiles before entering the business in earnest, absorbing two other local carmakers and moving into a larger plant in 1909. The enterprise was modestly successful until materials shortages during World War I forced the plant to close.
In 1919, the Eckhart brothers sold the company to a group of Chicago investors headed by Ralph Austin Bard, who later served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and as Undersecretary of the Navy for President Roosevelt and for President Harry S. Truman. The new owners revived the business but failed to realize their anticipated profits and in 1924, approached Errett Lobban Cord (1894–1974), a highly successful automobile salesman, with an offer to run the company. Cord countered with an offer to take over completely in what amounted to a leveraged buyout and the Chicago group accepted. Cord aggressively marketed the company's unsold inventory and completed his buyout before the end of 1925. But styling and engineering failed to overcome the fact that Cord's vehicles were too expensive for the Depression-era market and Cord's stock manipulations that would force him to give up control of his car companies. Under injunction from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to refrain from further violations, Cord sold his shares in his automobile holding company. In 1937, production of Auburns, along with that of Cords and Duesenbergs, ended.