A GREAT ALTERNATIVE FOR THE PERIOD! CLEAN, LOOKS BEAUTIFUL & RUNS GREAT! NICE!
A favorite of aviators like Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart, the air-cooled Franklins were state-of-the-art tech in the early days of motoring. This 1928 Franklin Airman sedan, for example, combines that air-cooled six-cylinder engine with 4-wheel hydraulic brakes and a wooden chassis with a lot of aluminum to create a car that drives like nothing else. It's better in almost every way, but you need to drive it to truly understand.
Accepted as a Full Classic by the Classic Car Club of America (CCCA), this Franklin is an affordable way to get into all the big events. The handsome sedan was professionally restored some years ago, but the quality of the work shines through everywhere you look. The burgundy and black color combination is exactly right for the late 1920s, neither flashy nor anonymous, and the beautiful shine on the finish proves that the work was expertly done. All four doors close with a solid sound and feel, which is thanks to the body's wooden framework and aluminum skin (much like an airplane) and the tall windows make it feel bright and airy inside. Dual sidemounts give it an air of dignity and there's a big trunk out back for touring. You'll note that there's a radiator shell up front, but that's only for show as the engine is air cooled, but Franklin was losing ground in the sales race, so they made their cars look more conventional to help compete. The bumpers are chrome plated, but the grille and headlights are nickel, which is how they would have been originally and the soft shine is just lovely.
The red mohair interior is beautifully done. It's a little flashy, but with a Franklin, you could have it upholstered any way you wanted, so it's not incorrect. The front seat is comfortable and shows very little evidence of use, while the expansive rear seat area is trimmed in high luxury, including a center armrest. The big wooden steering wheel makes it easy to guide the car even without power steering and it includes a full array of gauges and controls clustered in the center of the dash. It starts easily using the foot pedal and control efforts are light, although the 3-speed manual gearbox will require a quick double-clutch between gears. Like any old car of the era, you'll have to spend some time getting used to it, but once you do, you'll probably find that the Franklin just works better than most.
Most of that is due to the over-achieving 236 cubic inch inline-6, which had power and performance equal to many eight-cylinder cars of the day. Most of the engine is hidden under the massive air shroud, which force-feeds air over the cylinders and is fed by a massive fan on the front of the crankshaft. Other advanced features include a downdraft carburetor (now fed by an electric fuel pump instead of a vacuum tank) and hydraulic brakes, which now use a modern dual-reservoir master cylinder for safety. It starts easily and has a wonderful wooshing sound that's totally unique, and that box on the passenger's side is for heat, which, obviously, can't be generated by hot water in the radiator. The chassis is also remarkable, as 1928 was the last year that Franklin built their frames from wood, not steel, and the crankcase, transmission, and differential housing are all made of aluminum to keep curb weight down. Handsome wooden artillery wheels are a graceful touch and carry vintage-looking Firestone wide whitewall tires that are the right choice.
A joy for the vintage technophile and wonderful to drive, this Franklin is a wonderful car waiting for a new generation to discover is. Call today!
- Numbers Matching
- Cloth Interior
- Exterior Color
- Interior Color
- Front Brakes
- Mechanical Drum
- Rear Brakes
- Mechanical Drum
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