1929 Franklin Model 137 Series 13 Sport Touring  Chassis no. 37189744LI

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Lot 751
1929 Franklin Model 137 Series 13 Sport Touring
Chassis no. 37189744LI

US$ 115,000 - 135,000
£ 85,000 - 99,000
1929 Franklin Model 137 Series 13 Sport Touring
Coachwork by Walker Body Co.

Chassis no. 37189744LI
Every so often there’s an engineer or an innovator who refuses to follow the status quo or the accepted truth. John Wilkinson was one of those men. Although the money for the company came from H.H. Franklin, until November 1924, the design and execution of every Franklin automobile was the work of the singular Wilkinson. Wooden frames and air-cooled engines were among the concepts he championed. Everything he approved was for a distinct purpose. Although brilliant, he was unbending in principle. And when, despite falling sales and dealer requests, he refused to fit a conventional-looking false radiator to his air-cooled Franklins, he was over-ruled and departed directly.

For 23 years, Wilkinson had conceived all Franklin automobiles. But upon his departure, the company continued on, albeit with a more conventional appearance which the company’s previously alarmed dealers welcomed openly. The cars were still air-cooled, but at last they looked like other automobiles.

The 1929 model line consisted of the 46 horsepower Model 130, which rode on a 120-inch wheelbase, the 60 horsepower Model 135, which spanned 125 inches between the wheels and shared an engine with the 132-inch Model 137. Although multiple factory bodies were available on all three chassis, custom coachwork was also available.

Franklin’s biggest car, the Model 137, was offered with seven cataloged bodies and ranged in price from $2,770, to $2,970, at a time when the same money would buy four or five Model A Fords. To be sure, the Franklin was a carefully designed and crafted automobile that still adhered to the air-cooled philosophy of John Wilkinson.

The chassis was fairly conventional, featuring elliptical leaf springs at all corners supporting a pair of solid axles. A big car, the Model 137 weighed almost 4,000 pounds. It was propelled by a six-cylinder, Franklin “Airman” air-cooled engine that displaced 274 cubic-inches and sent 60 horsepower aft by way of a three-speed manual transmission.

Cataloged body styles on the six-cylinder Model 137 included a five-passenger Sport Touring car, a four-passenger Sport Roadster and four seven-passenger models, including Touring, Sedan, Oxford Sedan and Limousine. The car on offer is a four-passenger “Sport Touring” car, which is the Franklin designation for what is essentially a dual-cowl phaeton. Designed by famed stylist Raymond Dietrich, the coachwork was crafted by the Walker Body Company of Amesbury, Massachusetts and was built in very limited quantities.

Finished in red with a tan leather interior and top, with light blue wire wheels, the car has been the subject of a complete restoration by Chris Charleton. Considered a full Classic by the Classic Car Club of America, this fine Franklin can be used for touring or show and offers an elegant and unusual alternative to Packard and Cadillac automobiles of the era.
1929 Franklin Model 137 Series 13 Sport Touring  Chassis no. 37189744LI
1929 Franklin Model 137 Series 13 Sport Touring  Chassis no. 37189744LI
1929 Franklin Model 137 Series 13 Sport Touring  Chassis no. 37189744LI
1929 Franklin Model 137 Series 13 Sport Touring  Chassis no. 37189744LI
1929 Franklin Model 137 Series 13 Sport Touring  Chassis no. 37189744LI
1929 Franklin Model 137 Series 13 Sport Touring  Chassis no. 37189744LI
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