1924 Franklin

Franklins are easily the most individualistic series-produced automobiles in American history. Best known for the marque's air cooled engines, Franklins had many other features that set them apart from their competitors including laminated ash wood frames, full-elliptical springs without locating rods, lightweight axles, overhead valve engines and an intense devotion to lightweight materials and construction techniques. The founder was Herbert H. Franklin, but the design and unique features was the product of John Wilkinson, whose innovative approach earned the financial and managerial support of Franklin, an entrepreneur who had succeeded in several businesses most notably being an early exponent of die casting. Wilkinson's flexible wood frame and lightweight, supple suspension was unusually capable of dealing with the rutted, potholed roads of the day earning Franklins a deserved reputation for exceptionally supple ride and responsive handling. Its air cooled engines were powerful and reliable. This 1924 Franklin Model 10-B Touring car (its chassis number indicates it was built late in 1923) is a charming older restoration and somewhat unusual for Franklin, which was an early exponent of closed sedan bodies. The 3 1/4" bore, 4" stroke 199 cubic inch inline six has overhead valves and produced around 32 brake horsepower (25.4hp using the ALAM formula.) Fitted with wood spoke wheels, a rear-mounted spare, opening windshield, wind wings, nickel-plated front and rear bumpers and nickel rim headlights, it also has a set of old side curtains, unusual survivors these days on touring cars. The age of its restoration is showing in some paint cracks, but also attests to the quality with which it was done in its overall presentable and usable condition. It runs well and on tour or around town will not fail to impress onlookers and fellow collectors. Importantly, 1924 was the last year for Franklin's characteristic "horse collar" grille, a design distinctly different from its water-cooled counterparts that immediately identified Franklins. The company's guiding spirit, John Wilkinson, resigned to protest the departure from his principles, and the Model 10 Franklins are the last of the company's original, important, line.

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