‘American Pickers’ Stars Once Drove Home in Style in a 1930s Convertible

by Clayton Edwards

Over the years, the American Pickers team found some great antique cars. This one, though, comes with a touching story. It all started the year before they filmed season 14 of the show. Back then, Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz were still traveling the country looking for rusty gold together. At one point, they were in South Dakota and found a 1935 Auburn Phaeton convertible. They purchased the car from an older married couple by the names of Jan and Sandy.

The American Pickers team ended up paying $26,050 for the antique car. Additionally, Mike added a promise. He told Jan that they would get the car in working order and bring it back so he could drive it one more time. It was a special deal for a very special car. Mike informed the viewers, “An Auburn wasn’t a car for the common man. It was a car for movie stars and the rich and famous.”

Luckily, Mike Wolfe made some solid connections through American Pickers. For instance, he picked and built a rapport with Doug Pray, the man whose father bought out the old Auburn factory. However, Doug didn’t just inherit all the parts. He was also the foremost expert on restoring Auburns to their former glory. So, Mike left the convertible at his shop in Oklahoma for a year. When he and Dani made the trip back, it looked great and, more importantly, ran perfectly.

Unfortunately, Jan passed away before the American Pickers team could get back with the car. However, Mike Wolfe still planned to keep his promise. So, he and Dani drove the old convertible from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma to Valley Springs, South Dakota.

Why the ‘American Pickers’ Team Took the Trip

Mike Wolfe explained why he and his American Pickers costar had to take the journey in the Auburn. “I made a commitment to the guy I bought it from. And, unfortunately, he’s passed away since then,” he told Doug. Then, in a cutaway, Mike goes into more detail for the audience. “The first thing I thought of when I heard that Jan passed away was Sandy. The second thing I thought of was I’m not going to be able to keep my word to this man now. Both of those things weighed heavy on my mind.”

The American Pickers team blew Sandy’s mind when they drove the Auburn up to her house. After looking over the car, she asked if they would take her for a ride. Mike and Dani couldn’t agree fast enough. However, Sandy had to go inside and get a photo of her late husband to take along for the ride. About the ride, Sandy said, “I knew he was looking down and saying hooray.” So, in a way, Mike Wolfe was able to keep his word.