1905 Franklin Type A Rear-Entry Tonneau
June 26, 2017
The Franklin was the world's most famous air-cooled car until the Volkswagen was introduced in 1937. Several early automakers developed air-cooled cars, but non were as successful as the Franklin. Introduced in 1902, the Type A was the first four-cylinder production automobile in the United States, carrying an overhead valve engine that was quite advanced for the time. Cross-engine Franklins like this one had engines mounted transversely under the hood, so all four cylinders were exposed equally to incoming air during forward movement. There was no fans; instead, each cylinder was encircled by fins to dissipate heat.
The Franklin was also technically innovative for its shock-absorbing wooden frame and full-elliptic leaf springs. Its suspension and lightweight construction resulted in an exceptionally smooth, comfortable ride and greatly reduced tire wear.
In 1904, L.L. Whitman and C.S. Carris drove a Franklin Type A runabout from San Francisco to New York City, much of it over road-less desert and prairies. The travel time of just under 33 days shattered the old record by nearly a month. In 1906 Whitman made the same drive in a little over 15 days in a 6-cylinder Franklin. Both runs proved the value of air cooling and helped establish Franklin as an industry leader.
This car cost $1,550 in 1905 which is equivalent to $42,784 in 2016 dollars.
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1905 FranklinType AAntique CarAirCooled CarPeriod DressNikonCOPYRIGHTAll Rights ReservedLgood Photography