Franklin: Air Cooled Quality

If I told you to make a list of air cooled cars, I'm sure there would be Beetles, Porsches and Corvairs. I doubt you would have Franklin on the list. I had never heard of Franklin before going to the Gilmore Car Museum. So,  because this is an unusual brand, I'll give you some history.

The company began in 1893, as H.H. Franklin Manufacturing company, a collaboration between engineer John Wilknson (known for inventing the Wilkinson Engine), and industrialist Herbert H. Franklin, making Die-Cast bearings and bushings.

In 1901, Wilkinson and Franklin formed Franklin Automobile Company, based in Syracuse, New York, and set about designing a concept car.

In late July of 1902, Franklin put their first car on the market for $1,200. Later that year, they released the car above, the Light roadster. Weighing in at 1,000 lbs, the Light Roadster used a 7 horsepower Air-Cooled inline 4, mounted transversely. Power, all 7...went to the rear wheels via a chain drive. The 28 inch wheels sat a mere 66 inches apart at the centers, and were sprung on leaf springs much like a horse drawn buggy.

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1909 saw a major redesign, with the engine being rotated ninety degrees to sit longitudinal. This Model D Touring was a cutting edge luxury model, with price tags hitting as much as $4,000 in 1013.

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The engine size was upped to 207 cubic Inches, and makes a huge 28hp.

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The Model D, seen in the background, as well as above, is built on a wooden chassis, which is very similar to a modern truck chassis. This chassis is for a newer 1923 model, and has a 6 cylinder engine.

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Looking at the cowling here, you can see that the Crankshaft-driven intake fan, much like the fan on a modern HVAC blower motor, pulls air in from the center, and directs it up through the ducting, into the manifold up top, and down across the cooling fins on each of the 6 jugs.

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This Model D roadster is a shorter wheelbase, 2-seat version of the Touring.

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1916 saw another redesign, with more flowing body lines and a hard top option. This is a 1919 Series 9-B Brougham.

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The 1916 Sport Phaeton had a bit more power than previous models, with 32hp from a 6-cylinder engine.

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I'll wrap this post up with this 1931 Pirate Sedan, built at the tail end of the company. As with countless other companies, the Great Depression took its toll, and forced Franklin to close its doors.

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I really appreciate the read. Please, like and share this post via the share links, follow me here on blogger, and on my social network sites via the links at the top of the page.

For more information about the Franklin brand, check out these sites:
Wikipedia Page
ConceptCars.com page

also, be sure to search YouTube, as there are some great videos on the brand there.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to check back often for more content.

-Phil





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