CHASSIS NO: 99113
• A prominent, early American innovation
• Arguably the last of the “true Franklins”
• Air-cooled engine, 20 plus miles per gallon
199 cid air-cooled inline six-cylinder engine, 32 HP, three-speed manual transmission, solid front and live rear axles with full-elliptic leaf springs in the front and rear, and rear-wheel mechanical drum brakes; wheelbase: 115”
Produced from 1902 to 1934, Franklins were the most long-lived and successful air-cooled automobiles in America. In the first production year, Franklin produced 12 runabouts, all powered by four-cylinder overhead-valve transverse engines. They also included throttle control, a float-feed carburetor, a two-speed planetary transmission, and wooden frames. One of the guiding principles of Franklin was keeping the vehicles’ weight as low as possible, as was evident in its use of aluminum pistons and suction based cooling systems. In 1906, Franklin produced its first six-cylinder model, ultimately switching to all sixes by 1914. The unusual look of the Franklins gained likeability amongst consumers, but after nearly a decade of only slight design updates and lagging sales, dealership owners finally demanded change. It was decided that a false radiator, which would give the Franklin a more “normal” look, was the way of the future for the car. John Wilkinson, the Franklin’s original designer, was so disgusted that he resigned from the company, and not soon after, the Franklin Model 10-C was replaced by the vastly different Series II.
Offered from The Roaring Twenties Museum Collection, this 1925 Franklin Model 10-C Five-Passenger Touring is among the last of the true Franklins. Void of the faux-radiator, the 10-C was only produced until spring of 1925 when it would be replaced by the Series II 11-A. Looking under the hood will reveal the 199 cubic-inch air-cooled inline six-cylinder motor. Take note that this Franklin features a Scirocco fan geared directly to the crankshaft, a development that took place two years prior and led to a gradual increase in power. Demonstrating the Franklin principle of simplicity, this system operates by pushing cool air down on top of each cylinder. Interestingly, the Franklin’s frame is made of entirely of wood, a design implementation which was said to help to ease vibrations caused by the engine. A retractable top, black paint, artillery wheels with wide whitewall tires, and of course the signature backwards slanted grille make this 10-C a perfect example of John Wilkinson’s original design. Franklins truly were unique amongst the early American automotive market. Ahead of their time in many ways, these cars will only increase in value with time. Known ultimately for their low operational cost, this 10-C can get 20 plus miles to the gallon; how is that for economy?