1927 Franklin 11B Sport Touring
Chassis no. 166515-I
Engine no. 114622
Air Cooled Franklin motor cars were produced in Syracuse by The H. H. Franklin Manufacturing Company from 1902 to 1934. Franklins used more aluminum in their vehicles than any other domestic maker. The engine block, transmission, and rear end were made from cast aluminum. Single cylinders were cast iron and bolted to the block. A three ply ash frame carried the drive train along with an aluminum body over an ash framework. Franklins from 1904 until 1927 utilized a service brake on the transmission which slowed the drive shaft when applied. There was also a hand brake that activated rear wheel brakes.
The Series 11 Franklin was the first Franklin model to be styled by an outside designer. Previously, Franklin motor cars were styled by factory engineers. Franklins were long known for their progressive engineering, scientific light weight, responsive handling, and dependability, but had not previously been known for their design.
In 1923, due to changing public tastes and slumping sales, as well as at the insistence of Los Angeles dealer Ralph Hamlin, the company retained the services of J. Frank de Causse. de Causse had long worked in automotive design, and for many years had styled for Locomobile. He was given carte blanche by H. H. Franklin to style a car that would sell.
The Series 11 cars were the first low profile sleek Franklins. The styling represented a radical change from previous designs. Gone was the tilting "Wilkinson Hood", replaced by a false radiator front and traditional center-hinged hood. Several new body styles emerged including the "tandem sport", and the "boat tail sport runabout". These sleek low profile cars were as distinctive as the earlier designs, yet well advanced and strikingly beautiful. Earlier designs had been based on Wilkinson's proven "Form Follows Function" axiom. With the "roaring twenties" in full bloom the public now demanded style and de Causse delivered.
The Series 11 Franklin was the first air cooled Franklin to utilize a false radiator shutter front. The cars had similar engines to earlier models however copper fins were used on the cylinders in place of steel, providing upgraded cooling, higher compression, and more power, up from 25 to 32 horsepower. These lightweight cars sat on a 119" wheelbase and used modern balloon tires. This Series is recognized as a Full Classic by the Classic Car Club of America.
This car was restored in the late 1960s by Thomas Hill Hubbard for its then owner, Bill Harrah. Hubbard expertly restored many unique classic era Franklins, most which now comprise the collection at the Franklin Museum in Tucson, Az., operated by the Thomas Hill Hubbard/ H. H. Franklin Foundation.
The car is pictured in postcards from the Reno Museum as well as in books of the collection that were available from the Museum. Harrah transported the car from Reno to Cazenovia, NY for the 1976 Franklin Trek, and it remained in his collection up to his death in 1978. When Harrah's collection was dispersed, this car was included in the famed auction.
The current owner purchased the car from the family of the deceased prior owner. It has fewer than 3,000 miles on it since its restoration, and the seller reports that it drives as a brand new Franklin would, if one were able to obtain one today. The car toured round trip trouble free from Los Angeles to the 2006 Franklin Westrek in Fallbrook, CA. The car is mechanically ready in all respects for smooth trouble free touring.
Please note that this car is titled by its engine number
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