Franklin Airman

1932 Franklin Airman Sedan

Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Auburn, Indiana | September 3-5, 2020

Photo Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Franklin, whose air-cooled cars first hit the market in 1903, decided to move slightly upmarket in the early 1930s with the introduction of a V12 model. This was bad timing, as the economy had crashed, and engineering an entirely new engine was a big financial outlay, one that would not be recouped. Franklin was gone after 1934.

Another thing that happened in the early 1930s was that Franklin switched from “Model 123” nomenclature to actually giving their models names. The Airman was introduced in 1932 and was joined by the Olympic in 1933. The Airman was their only product in 1932, and it was offered in a variety of body styles. Power came from a 4.5-liter air-cooled inline-six making 100 horsepower.

Franklin was America’s most successful manufacturer of air-cooled cars, and this later model is a rarity. This car appears largely original and carries an estimate of $25,000-$30,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $18,150.

1920 Franklin Sedan

1920 Franklin 9-B Sedan

Offered by Mecum | Anaheim, California | November 12-14, 2015

Photo - Mecum

Photo – Mecum

The great air-cooled Franklin was one of those early automobile companies that lasted quite a number of years and built quite a number of automobiles – but did so on their own terms, like Stanley or Detroit Electric, to name a few. Air-cooled engines were simpler – less parts. And that’s what Franklin bet their company on. And it worked: they were in business for over 30 years.

The 1920 range consisted of two models: the 9 and 9-B. They both uses a six-cylinder engine making about 25 horsepower. The 9-B was slightly more upscale and expensive. This car is a rare “V-windshield” model, which is a pretty unusual feature. The body is also made out of aluminium.

Only six 9-Bs are known to have the V-windshield (the 9-B was built for three years: 1920-1922). Only 10,552 Franklins were built in 1920. This is a very nice example that was in a recent collection for 35 years. You can be next. Click here for more info and here for more from Mecum.

Update: Sold $13,500.

1906 Franklin

1906 Franklin Model E Roadster

Offered by Auctions America | Santa Monica, California | July 17, 2015

Photo -  Auctions America

Photo – Auctions America

Herbert H. Franklin founded his car company in 1901 when inventor John Wilkinson convinced him he had a solid design for an air-cooled automobile. Franklins remained air-cooled throughout their lifetime and as time went on, their cars went more and more upscale, which ultimately cost the company its existence when the Depression started.

The Franklin Model E was built between 1904 and 1906. It was Franklin’s light car for 1906 and is powered by a 12 horsepower straight-four. It was only offered as a two-passenger Runabout. This car was re-bodied at some point to resemble one of Franklin’s Speed trials cars.

It is being offered out of a “barn find collection” and therefore is likely not a running, driving example but would be a great little project car. The detail on it is great, right down to the light pinstriping on the suspension. It should sell for between $25,000-$45,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $19,800.