Brooklyn Beer

Advice / input on buying a late 20's - early 30's car

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I might have a line on a 30 dodge for a very reasonable price. A friend had it and it didn’t need much. Interior was redone and perfect but not sure if absolutely show correct but it is period correct. Paint was decent other than the hood needed a repaint. Hadn’t run in a while and needed the typical things like brakes and vacuum fuel pump work to get it on the road .

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8 hours ago, Brooklyn Beer said:

So mechanically,  what would differ on a caddy from this era say from a dodge brothers?  Is it a more complicated car ? One off features , etc?

 

Massively different. They are fundamentally rugged cars, well engineered, well made, with no flaws. More complicated certainly. For a beginner it would be IMPERATIVE to purchase a well-sorted, turn key example. They will delight you along the learning curve, and frustrate you on the hot days. The carburetor and intake were designed for fuel much different from today. The complexities engineered for that fuel, require compensating surgery to drop the intake temperature as much as possible. The easiest Cadillacs to thusly modify are the Model 314, 1926 being the more rugged than the '27. The very toughest were the V63 models, 1924-'25. Also fairly easy to modify. I will show a picture of my '24. It is an open car, out of your price range. A closed V63 could be in your price range. BUT : They do not come up for sale every couple or five years. I got very lucky, in that my '24 came up after only 3 years of energetic hunting. 30 years ago an ad in Hemmings sent me across the country to check it out. I have never seen such a good deal on a V63 before or since. An important factor in making it such a good deal, was that the price was about 25-30% over what I had budgeted. Often the extra bucks really pay off. The old Cad was a well maintained, well running, rock solid car, suitable as a parade, or local cruising car. I put the purchase price again into it to make it trans-continental capable. My '27 sedan took 20+ years to find. Original, unrestored cars.

 

This is general info to help with your search. You may have a dream car, but finding it may take time. Murphy knows how to find it more quickly. He buys something else in the meantime. That is why the A, being easy in, easy out, let's you turn on that dime if need be. The right Chrysler product could work out well for you, with good forum support. Buick is another excellent choice. 

 

The hunt itself is great fun for most of us. I am past the point in life where I can be acquiring anything. It is fun for me to follow along on others hunts. Part of the decision process ideally involves a love-at-first-sight reaction. Get expert help when smitten, or you could end up with a broken heart, and a broken bank account.

 

I just checked, and see that you have joined us fairly recently. It is possible that you don't know my two old Cads. I will include a boring picture of my '27 along with the other I promised. Apologies to all who have seen these before.   -   CC  

 

 

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I was in this situation in 2016 - I had been thinking about getting a car - pre 1933 - for a year or two, and looked at Hemmings and Ebay and some other sites every day for many months to get an idea of what was around and what it might cost.

 

Following advice, I think from this board, or maybe one of the Facebook groups, I headed off to Hershey Fall Swap Meet in October 2016 with a budget and a determination to buy "not a Model A or a Model T" - there are just too many of them around and I wanted something a bit out of the ordinary.

 

The car that caught my eye as soon as I saw it, and survived me looking at other cars the rest of that day was a 1926 Franklin Sedan, so I bought that at the start of the 2nd day of Hershey 2016.

 

I joined the AACA there on the grounds, and joined the H H Franklin Club a few days after I got back home. The club has incredible people, and incredible resources - e.g. most of the factory drawings for cars and parts from 1902 through to 1934 are in the club's possession, and available on the club's website for members to use.

 

My only regret about buying at Hershey was the inability to take a test drive in the car.

 

IMG_8214.thumb.JPG.5f5b7696c12fa25a481d5cf6fc3b9d20.JPG

 

The picture is me with the car after I'd signed for it and made the money transfer.

 

Roger

 

 

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The Franklin is one beautiful car and I love the idea of being different. The reason i like showing up with 9 tons of chrome on the grill of my 49 Roadmaster. I used to be a regular at Fall Carlisle and Mopars at Carlisle for many , many years and then I rejoined the military (gulf 1) which put an end to it.  Wish I had the opportunity to make that trip again but TX is just a little to far away.  When comes time to buy I will have rely on an inspector or if possible a member who could live nearby.  As much as I would like to travel and check out the car myself, it won't be possible unless I can make the drive in a reasonable turn around 

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Love the Franklin and always wtd one of those air cooled cars. Will say parts arent that easy to get, but your car looks to be very complete and in nice shape.

also not much of a mkt for resale, if that matters. So many Franklins for sale and not enough caretakers. they are reasonably cheap to buy. Very well made cars.............. from Syracuse NY>

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4 hours ago, mercer09 said:

So many Franklins for sale and not enough caretakers. They are reasonably cheap to buy. Very well made cars...

 

Here is the link to Franklins for sale at the website

of the H. H. Franklin Club.  There are 3 good-looking ones

within Brooklyn's price range:

 

http://www.franklincar.org/forsale/#carsforsale

 

 

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I don't know if anything that I have to say will strike a chord, but decisions that I made many years ago have help define who I am, and what I own. I own a number of cars, from all eras, but when it comes to the years you are interested in, it is all Studebaker and Pierce Arrow. I was a Studebaker owner before I became interested in the "Classic Era" cars. That was more then fifty years ago, so it was easy to slide into the cars that I chose to own. 

 

I'm not trying to sell you on either of my choices, even though I think that they would be a good choice. It's the independent car companies that I would urge you to consider. From styling to engineering innovation, it was often the independents that led the way during this period. Ask yourself if owning a car that you can take to any cruise night, or car show, where you will find other similar cars and owners, with the same interests that you have, is what you want, or whether you willing to tell the story of what you have, over and over again. I made that choice so many years ago and never looked back. Showing, driving and sharing some of the knowledge that I have picked up, over the years, and the eyes that have been opened, has been an opportunity that I wouldn't have missed for the world. For me it's always been important to be willing to answer a question without coming off as a no-it-all. There has never been the need to search out an audience, because real car people really want to understand. It's not always easy, because telling the story can interfere with enjoying the car show, but it's an obligation that I don't take lightly. Good luck, I laud you in your choice of era, now just choose what suites you best.-Bill

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4 hours ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

 

Here is the link to Franklins for sale at the website

of the H. H. Franklin Club.  There are 3 good-looking ones

within Brooklyn's price range:

 

http://www.franklincar.org/forsale/#carsforsale

 

 

 

WoW!!!     The $15k (this 1929 is a bargain IMO) and $25k (1931 the dash is very similar to a Chrysler 77) Franklins are just wonderful.

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Franklins are air cooled cars which would have me question one where I live because in my part of TX summer comes in around May 1st and mid 90's stick around June through September.  Upper 90's - 100+ in August every day. So I would be curious to hear from anyone about how these cars handle heat. Even after dark our lows in July might be 85.

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8 minutes ago, Brooklyn Beer said:

Franklins are air cooled cars which would have me question one where I live because in my part of TX summer comes in around May 1st and mid 90's stick around June through September.  Upper 90's - 100+ in August every day. So I would be curious to hear from anyone about how these cars handle heat. Even after dark our lows in July might be 85.

 

I can't speak directly about Franklins but air cooled VWs did quite well in the Arizona desert heat when I was growing up.

 

Come to think of it, Tom Hubbard was a Franklin collector in Tucson and at one point I think he may have had the largest single collection of Franklins around. I don't recall the desert heat being considered an issue. His house and garage have now been turned into a Franklin car museum. https://franklinmuseum.org

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1 hour ago, Brooklyn Beer said:

...where I live because in my part of TX summer comes in around May 1st and mid 90's stick around June through September.  Upper 90's - 100+ in August every day. So I would be curious to hear from anyone about how these cars handle heat. ...

 

Actually, Brooklyn, that's a good question to ask about

ANY make of antique car.  How well do they perform in

intense heat?  Early cars may be more prone to overheating

or vapor lock.

 

From what I've seen written by AACA regions in hot and sunny

Florida, the antique car activity slows or stops in the heat of

the summer.  People may even rent storage for the 6 hottest

months and enjoy their cars when the weather is pleasant--

just the opposite of Northern practices.  Whether it's for their

own comfort in non-air conditioned cars, or for the cars' benefit,

warm-weather collectors can tell.

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I don't have direct knowledge of this, but I believe one of the things that Franklin did to advertise their air cooling was to leave one running for days in Death Valley.

 

Roger

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I have heard that Franklin went to a lot of trouble to test their cars in hot weather in the desert including Death Valley. From my experience of air cooled VW cars and vans I would not hesitate to buy a Franklin in a hot climate provided certain precautions are followed.

 

Be sure the cooling system is exactly as it left the factory with no missing pieces, missing seals or gaps in the cooling shrouds. I have seen VWs killed by this. You wouldn't drive a water cooled car with water leaking out every which way and an air cooled engine can be just as sensitive to air leaks.

 

Try and keep the engine clean, a buildup of grease and dirt can block the cooling fins and reduce cooling.

 

Use good oil as recommended by the Franklin club. On a modern car I would say synthetic but I don't know if synthetics agree with the Franklin oiling system.

 

Keep the revs up so the cooling fan pushes lots of air. If the engine slows down too much on a hill on a hot day it is easier on the engine to shift down to second. The engine will do its work easier and get more air.

 

You may want to add an oil cooler, I would be guided by the Franklin club on this. I would definitely add a good heat gauge. On VWs there used to be an aftermarket heat gauge that worked off a special spark plug washer, this gave combustion chamber temp very accurately. If you had another gauge for oil temp you would be covered for any eventuality. If it gets too hot you can pull over and let it cool down, by letting it rev at a fast idle or shut it down for a half hour or hour.

 

Oh and one more thing. I have found mouse nests inside the shrouds, blocking the cooling of VWs that have been off the road for a long time. Worth checking for if you can.

Edited by Rusty_OToole (see edit history)
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I had a 1931 Franklin I drove over 40,000 miles - the annual Franklin Club meet is in August and was located nearly 300 miles from me here on long island. the annual meet is held in August and for decades I drove my car there and back in 80+ degree heat. Never any issue of over heating and there were some very long grades and hills on Rt. 17 along the southern edge of NY state to get there , all done with no effort what so ever. I did not have to keep the engine "revs up" for any reason (?!?) , the car was running hotter then any water cooled engine could ever realize anyway and the Franklin never had any sign of over heating - no Franklin owner ever ( this is from 35+ years of attending the Franklin club event and driving there) complained of one needing to rev the engine to keep it cool, even in traffic.  Not sure where that idea comes from as the Franklin Company took that into consideration when they designed the car! 

Yes, Death Valley Scotty did drive Franklins all over Arizona etc to prove that they would not fail in incredibly hot weather. On a Franklin test drive in that area of the USA a Franklin was locked into 1st gear and drive all over to prove that it would not over heat.

There are many Franklins discovered over the decades and none that I know of had a huge amount of dirt accumulated/stuck to the fan nor the cooling fins on the cylinders. Sure keep it all clean but dirt and muck is not really an issue. The steel shrouds that form the air passage boxes to cool the cylinders are all bolted in place , are not sealed by any gaskets, so once secure really don't need attention as everything is securely held in place with lock washers. Some Franklin owners do add oil temperature gauges but I never heard one mention it was ever really needed or "saved" the day due to unexpected issues. Oil coolers were fitted to the V12 Franklin of 1932-34 between the V in the cylinder bank, if it didn't need it when new then likely does not need one now. Extra plumbing and cost , and engineering for ?

I have pulled a number of Franklins out of long storage under less then ideal conditions over a period of 40+ years and yes, you can get some rodent nests in them but like any other car mostly found in the exhaust system ( muffler) , although I did find one in the headliner above the windshield wiper motor when I restored my 1931 Derham bodied victoria , petrified, and quite stiff. He never interrupted the performance of the car. The best advice posted on this topic is that if you are interested in a Franklin the talk to someone who owns and drives their cars. My comments above are all mostly personal experiences on the 1930-34 era "side draft" models ( side  draft is a term used by Franklin owners as to how the air flows across the cylinders. ) My former 1931 Franklin is now owned by a good friend in Pa., the engine was rebuilt in the 1970s and has seen almost no service since except for things like new spark plugs , grease, oil change etc. Once these cars ( like any old car) are sorted out completely and correctly the first time, then they just need maintenance .

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As I said my experience was with air cooled VWs. They had a problem especially with the vans, of overheating if the driver did not keep the revs up but then, they were designed different from American cars, they had a 4 speed trans and the driver was supposed to use the lower gears, unlike American cars that were designed to go everywhere in high gear. I knew a guy from Arizona who cured his overheating problem in a VW transporter by driving around in 3d in real hot weather. He also cured a vapor lock problem by squashing half a grapefruit on the fuel pump but that is another story.

 

Best to be guided by the experience of other Franklin owners, my point was that air cooled cars can be just as reliable as water cooled cars in any weather possibly more reliable provided they are maintained and operated correctly. By the way I have seen mouse nests inside VW engines cooling shrouds when I took out the spark plug wires, and also in the heating ducts. I always got them out with a vacuum cleaner and air hose without dismantling the engine.

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The hotter a Franklin gets the better they seem to run.

 

You can run a Franklin with very few modifications from new - when the car was built they obsessed with pre-heating fuel and that really just does not work today.  Original fuemers should be disconnected (a pre-heating device inside the carb that works on the starting circuit that is no longer a good idea as the gas is more combustible today) - most already are disconnected but ..., and as gas formulation changed we we relocated the  relocate the fuel line from exhaust heat sources,  wrapped/ insulated the fuel line, and wrapped the exhaust.  We also installed an electric fuel pump to prime and as just in case also is nice - but in 2005 we were still not running the electric pump for anything other than starting purposes.  You do need a good mechanical pump on a 1929-1934 and you need your vacuum tank in order for pre-1929.   As to other modifications, via our 1930, I think all we had a modern insert rod bearing and a modern seal on the fan to crankcase cover.   Our car from new had a larger diameter taillpipe (2") from new (car had original exhaust) - I assume this was done to reduce back-pressure and gave it a few more horsepower (as other club members noticed and tried it also they were very impressed with results of doing same to their 30/31's). 

 

1930 is the only year they put on an oil pressure gauge - the best advice we ever received was countless club members that said "ignore it" as it is not how much pressure you have it is that you do have pressure and as a result you have volume going to the needed places.   You can bump the oil pressure up a little by installing a reducer in the timing chain oil piping, but that is not even necessary.    Franklin did play with oil coolers toward the end (around 33-34), but they certainly not needed.  I thought the car was a little hard on oil, but we drove it plenty (think of it as an early airplane verses a car - change the oil via hours running time and conditions verses mileage.

 

No need for a heat gauge either - just drive and drive and have a great time.

 

There are plenty of Franklin Club members that have run up substantial miles on their car, some daily drivers, and ....

 

Also, full elliptical springs result in a dreamy ride !  The wood frame cars are equally as impressive. 

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Particularly since the Franklin engine is designed to run at higher temperatures, I would think the very best full synthetic oil would be a good idea.  -  Carl 

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The HCCA website shows a 1927 Franklin open touring car for sale in Missouri for $30,000.  I know nothing about the car or the seller, or whether the price is negotiable. From the pictures, it seems to be a nice looking car.

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The 1927 Franklin is a series 11, engine is not the same or as powerful as the 1930-34 cars. That doesn't not mean they do not run well or can't be driven, just means best speed is about 40-45 mph . I have not looked at the photo but if it is a nice solid complete car, runs well and you do not suffer from the all wood frame sagging at the cowl, sounds really good.

John has it correct re the oil seal at the fan in the front  on the 1930-34 cars and most when now restored see the connecting rods machined to accept insert bearing shells instead of poured bearings. Some decades ago it was discovered that Nash Ambassador rod bearing shells were a good replacement and easily located, well most of those are now gone and in rebuilt Franklin engines ( sorry Nash guys) .

Ignition parts are very easy to get ( ask for or order 1950-54 Chevy cap, condenser, rotor , points) new.

At the Franklin meet 30+ years ago they used to invite former employees that were still alive to lunch and have time to share their memories of working for the Franklin company. I was heavily involved with that and recall test drivers telling us that they were told to go to the bottom of Lord's Hill on a route near ( south I believe) of the factory and put the Franklin in high then accelerate and slip the clutch to go up a steep hill  to test it out , I remember very well that I was told with a great pride by Howard Carey one of the test drivers that by the time he got to the top of the hill he was doing 50mph.

I took it upon myself in the early 1970s to contact every former employee by mail that I could find - enclosed a questionaire, an SSAE and a personal note to please answer my questions about the days they worked for Franklin. I still have over 60 + answers to those plus the follow ups I did after that. Most I have never worked into a story as of yet. At the time, as  someone in their early 20's age wise it cost me quite a bit to have the questionaire photo copied ( this was in the days before personal computers folks) plus buy envelopes, stamps etc. I went without lunch several days a week to have the $ to do that. W. Chapin (Chape) Condit a former employee and Franklin Club stalwart helped me get as many addresses and names as possible. I felt it was something I had to do to honor those employees who were in their late 70s or 80s age wise at the time. Some of the storys as to how things were done are absolutely amazing.

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Question on the Franklin (I really do like the open touring listed) is if you are not moving, how does air circulate around the cylinder banks?  I did not know how long that designed lasted but if it lasted that many years there must have been a good reason.  

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Not mine - this is on HCCA website (looks like a super super solid car in presentable condition) https://hcca.org/classifieds.php?cars# 

1927 Franklin 11B Touring

1927 Franklin 11B Touring

Click photo for MORE Photos

This is an amazingly well-preserved original Franklin that has not been restored but rather carefully maintained and conserved

  1. Odometer reads 56,339, which is believed to be original
  2. Retains its original firewall mounted data plate
  3. Chassis # 170032-1
  4. Original side curtains, top, upholstery and paint with striping
  5. Even has a MASCO exhaust heater!

Perfect candidate for HCCA, AACA and CCCA tours-- Preservation Class entry at any Event and only $30,000

More pictures on request
Contact: Silverstone Group Ltd
   St. Louis, MO,
Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)
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7 minutes ago, Brooklyn Beer said:

Question on the Franklin (I really do like the open touring listed) is if you are not moving, how does air circulate around the cylinder banks?  I did not know how long that designed lasted but if it lasted that many years there must have been a good reason.  

The 20's cars are called "downdraft" cars (air by fan is blown down over a finned cylinder) and the 1930 -1934 cars are called "sidedraft" cars (air by fan is blown across the finned cylinder).   The cylinder design is different per each.  The Fan is bolted to the crankshaft - self sufficient and you can let a car sit and idle for hours (if wanted).

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)
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Re the Franklins with wooden frame rails - it is possible to replace broken or weak frame rails without taking the car completely apart. They are made of ash boards and the Franklin club has blueprints for making new ones. It's a big job but not the kiss of death.

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4 minutes ago, Rusty_OToole said:

Re the Franklins with wooden frame rails - it is possible to replace broken or weak frame rails without taking the car completely apart. They are made of ash boards and the Franklin club has blueprints for making new ones. It's a big job but not the kiss of death.

Not that I have ever seen (other than minor repair work) you have to pull the body off, engine out, suspension off, and then de-attach maybe 100 or so little parts - to then be at a place to remake the wood.  There are a huge number of cars running around with original wooden frames (they stopped the wooden frames some time in 1928).

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)

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