Auburn 856 Speedster and the Auburn 898 four place Phaeton version
of the Speedster were built in Indianapolis, Indiana. Elegant Motors
inc. was founded in the early 1970's by two Indianapolis
businessmen, Del Amy and Richard Passwater. Richard is better known
as Dick Passwater of stock car racing fame. The original idea was
too sell enough Auburn Replica's to finance their own Auburns and to
fuel their enthusiasm for classic cars.
The cars could be ordered turn key complete or purchased in any
stage of completion or as kits. Their Auburns were of the correct
dimensions and rolled on a 127" wheel base. The drive line and chassis
choices were unlimited. The bodies were fiberglass and were produced
in Goshen, Indiana by the Steury Corporation, a manufacturer of
fiberglass boats and camping trailers. With their elegant
promotions, and favorable product reviews for authenticity from many
major publications such as Motor Trend, Car Classics and Playboy to
name a few, the company took off. By the late seventies Elegant
Motors had set up independent product distributors across the United
With Elegant Motors growing success, they started adding more
Neo-Classic Cars to their
product line. Their Auburn Speedsters would eventually be offered in six variations. The 898 Phaetons
became available in a longer
wheel base to accommodate those sitting in the rear seat.
The Auburns were followed by a Cord 820 Phaeton, a 427 Cobra, The
Cheetah and a Lamborghini Countach. A Mercedes 500K and a couple of
versions of a Duesenberg were advertised, but I do not know if they
were ever produced. I have collected printed advertising material for Elegant
Motors as late as 1990. I do not know when they actually stopped
producing cars. In my opinion, Del Amy's and Dick Passwater's
Elegant Motors offered the best looking and most informative
advertising catalogs and sales brochures of any of the Auburn
Speedster replicar companies at that time. Their sales literature
has become quite collectible.
To give you a feel for pricing, in 1973 856 Speedsters were priced
at $20,000 for cars built with Corvette running gear and $16,000 for
cars built on a Ford chassis. Kits were available for $4000-$5000. By
1979 Elegant Motors ads were listing Speedsters at $30,000, 898
Phaetons for $40,000 and their new LWB Phaeton with an extended 135"
wheel base and Side mounted spares for $45,000. Their was even a
Brougham (deluxe 898) available for $60,000. By 1984 I saw prices for 898
Phaetons drop to $28,000 and kit prices were dropping also.
Elegant Motors would soon become Indy Exotics under the leadership
of it's new owner, Harry Broaddus. Harry was a former
Elegant Motors employee. I do not know how long Harry operated Indy
Exotics. I last purchased parts from him in 2001 when the company
was located on Washington Street in Indianapolis. At that time he
was talking about selling the business. Some of the early Elegant
Motors cars used in
their sales catalogs were still sitting in the warehouse area. That
was pretty cool.
By 2007, the
remains of both companies seem to have found their way to Auburn,
Indiana. A new Auburn Speedster replica company by the name of
Classic City Motors was getting started. They are building Auburn
Speedsters again, two and four place versions. They were also
building a 427 Cobra replica. Time will tell how this venture goes.
Elegance Motors original Showroom / manufacturing
829 Broad Ripple Ave
Elegant Motors Second Showroom / manufacturing
"This was an original Stutz Bearcat Showroom"
Indy Exotics / manufacturing
1551 Churchman Ave,
note: these address are
20-30 years old / Last updated: 02-2010