1908 Franklin Model G Tourer
From the The Automobile Magazine 'Oily Rag' Reserve
Collection; believed off the road since 1910; astonishingly well-preserved time
capsule; unique opportunity!
Operating out of a factory in Syracuse, New York, from
1901 HH Franklin specialised in the manufacture of high-quality air-cooled cars
and while they did experiment with water cooling, they remained faithful to the
air-cooled principle right up until they ceased trading in 1934.
Preoccupied with weight, Franklin made extensive use of
aluminium in his engines and also used the lightest suspension components
possible, like tubular axles and flexible, full-elliptic springs. Aluminium-clad
bodies and laminated ash chassis frames completed the weight-saving formula.
Initially using transversely-mounted 1.7-litre
four-cylinder engines, from 1906 these were replaced by conventionally-located
front engines. These had auxiliary exhaust valves, shaft drive, three-speed
sliding type gearboxes and distinctive barrel-shaped bonnets modelled on the
Delaunay-Belleville. In 1907 an automatic advance-and-retard was fitted and in
1908 a gear-driven cooling fan.
Much like VW and Porsche in later times, Franklins
inspired intense marque-loyalty among customers: famed for the ruggedness and
simplicity of their design, they were highly prized by motorists who had to
traverse the toughest terrain and the harshest climates of the American
Offered from 1906 to 1913, the Model G was built in a
variety of body styles on an 88" wheelbase that eventually grew to 100" over its
production run, powered by a range of air-cooled four-cylinder engines.
As a dating certificate from The Society of Automotive
Historians confirms, this Franklin Model G Tourer was built in 1908. Other
correspondence from the Veteran Car Services Ltd Dating Panel suggests that it
has a later 18hp engine fitted with Bosch magneto ignition which dates from 1910
and is of the correct type for the model. The report also contains much other
technical information about the car and confirms that the body is clearly
original, that the wheels are 30in and the wheelbase is 91¾in.
Other correspondence suggests that the car was taken off
the road in 1910, and spent most of the following years in the reserve
collection of a museum in New York state before finding its way to Viklit Graae
Jorgensen of Denmark, a dealer who specialised in unrestored American cars and
from whom it was acquired to join the Oily Rag Collection in 1998. There is also
a copy of a 1997 American Certificate of Title when the car was resident in
With only a tiny handful of early Franklins remaining
worldwide, this example presents a unique opportunity to acquire perhaps the
only one which remains in unrestored, original condition. The astonishingly
well-preserved upholstery attests to the low miles this car must have covered
and, frankly, it would be a crime to subject this car to anything other than the
most gentle, sensitive recommissioning. The engine turms easily on the crank
handle and the compressions feel healthy enough.
The history file also contains a wealth of information
about HH Franklin and the cars they produced between 1901 and 1917, including
much material provided by the Antique Automobile Club of America Library and
For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or