Franschhoek Motor Museum’s ex-Bertie Bester supercharged straight-eight 1936 Auburn 852 Speedster, one of the last of the brand to be built, is back on the road again following a mechanical refurbishment after the block became porous with resultant unwelcome mixing of oil and water. Locating a replacement Lycoming engine was proving difficult but a standard, non-SC block was found and purchased from Louis van der Merwe in White River, and together with the original engine sent to Antonio’s Engine Rebuilders in Paarl for a rebuild. The new block’s porting had to be modified in order to accept the supercharged induction system but the crankshaft, con-rods and pistons were salvaged from the original engine. Combining the parts has created a superb sounding and performing engine befitting the Auburn’s sporty nature, as FMM workshop manager Lorenzo Farella and myself recently found out.

For the story behind the rise and fall of Auburn and driving impressions of the car, check out the June/July issue of Classic & Performance Car Africa magazine, which goes on sale at the end of May. MM