William Dougherty

Identify the car in this photo?

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Can anyone identify the car in this photo?

 

The pilot on the left is Alberto Honore Santa Maria, the airplane is a ca. 1920 U.S. Army Air Corps Douglas O2-H. Santa Maria flew Sopwith Camels for the RCAF in WW I. He owned a Cord dealership in Ardmore, PA, that went bankrupt in the depression.

 

I intend to post the photo on the website of the Massey Air Museum (Eastern Shore of Maryland).

 

Santa Maria father GROUND crop.jpg

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The car is an air cooled Franklin . I think it's a 1931 but I'll leave that to the experts.

Jim

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The car is a 1931 Franklin series 153 with a 132 inch wheelbase. Body by Dietrich Inc. their speedster body type - normal speedster was enclosed and the top would not go down, the special order custom was a conv sedan and that is what is shown here. You can tell the series 153 apart from the other series 15 Franklins ( the series 151 and 152) by the style of the fenders as well as the cowl lights which were the parking lights and unique to the series 153. 

Charles Lindbergh in the photo my friend  Bob has shared is standing next to a series 11 or 12 sport sedan with the accessory series 11 wire wheels. So it dates from 1928 likely, after his return from Paris. The Franklin company gave Lindbergh a brand new 1928 series 12 sport sedan as an outright gift, no strings attached - that car is now in the Henry Ford Museum ( was restored by them and Austin Clark donated the  hubcaps that are on the car). Lindbergh also got a new Franklin each year afterwards on loan to use and had a 1930 series 147 Dietrich bodied speedster similar to the car shown in the other photo, he had serviced at the Franklin dealer that was located on the west edge  Columbus Circle in NY City.  The dealership was owned by William Pase and he also had dealerships in Brooklyn and Huntington, NY ( on long island).

So there is way more information then you need about Franklin cars. Bob thanks again for sharing the photo. Pilots liked Franklins Bob, even decades later - Ed Granville of New England area and his brother built the Gee Bee stubby racing airplanes in the 1930s ( Gee Bee standing for Granville Brothers) and Ed Granville back in the late 1960s - early 1970s owned a 1926-7 series 11 Franklin and used to attend the Franklin Club annual meet they call a trek. Ed had some amazing stories to tell!

Walt G

Edited by Walt G
spelling error (see edit history)
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Thank you Walt G, never too much info - fascinating! I would love to know the story behind why Santa Maria chose this model. I was searching on-line and found the attached ad images but couldn’t really tell the difference - enough to determine which model was in my picture. Are any of the three the same as in the picture? How much would this car have cost? I saw some prices around $2800.00, is that close?

Franklin Speedster 1931 .jpg

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Anyone have a photo of a Franklin Pirate Phaeton lke the one in the private Ehinger museum in Kansas City?

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The only difference I see in the three Franklin drawings is that one has no exterior visor and one visor looks like it may be a little smaller than the other.

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The top image is a convertible speedster the other two are enclosed speedsters ( very much like a club sedan) the convertible models as you note did not have a sun visor., enclosed models do. I will check my Franklin factory dealers bulletins and post how much a regular enclosed speedster and how much a convertible speedster were so far as price when new . Have to finish up two major lengthy stories I am working on and get images/photos and captions done first.

Just an aside, I have spent some time behind the wheel of a convertible speedster - not a lot of leg room and if you are 6 feet tall and have long legs it can feel a bit cramped after some time behind the wheel. A good friend owned a convertible speedster and had the engine restored by Kenneth "Dutch" Kern of Coopersberg, Pa. about 30 years ago. I drove the car home when it was finished to long island ( several hour trip) and by the time we got back despite the 55 mph  speed we stayed at, it took a while to work the cramps out of my legs . The 1932 Franklin Dietrich speedsters had an adjustable front seat so were much more comfortable to drive as they could be adjusted for more room. But they only came in the enclosed version.

Franklin Pirate touring and phaetons were also fixed front seats and if you are tall can be uncomfortable on long drives.

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PRICES - ok, according to the December 1930 Franklin Company Dealers' Bulletin ( listing prices for the new 1931 series 15 Franklin Airman cars) the 4 door 'speedster' ( that is under discussion here) cost $3,345.00 fob Syracuse, NY the convertible speedster was $3,495.

the cheapest Franklin was on a shorter 125 inch wheelbase in a 5 passenger sedan ( wood wheels and rear mounted single spare tire) a series 151; at $2,295.00

they did have delivery charges then as well. This was in an era when most people were making about $1,300 per year and a full course meal was about 75 cents.

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16 hours ago, Marty Roth said:

Anyone have a photo of a Franklin Pirate Phaeton lke the one in the private Ehinger museum in Kansas City?

 

Marty, was it a Phaeton, or Touring you saw ?

 

Franklin offered two models of the Pirate.  A five passenger referred to as the "Touring" model, and a 7 passenger referred to as the "Phaeton" model. Both on the 132 inch WB.  There are seven 5 passenger models known to exist in the Club register, but only five 7 passenger models known.

 

The Touring has the rear of the body sloping up and forward to shorten it. The Phaeton body slopes up and to the rear to lengthen it for addition of folding jump seats. Pictured below is a 1930 Pirate Phaeton I restored for a customer in Virginia. Is this like you saw ?

 

Paul

P1010017.JPG

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Here's a picture of the 31 Convertible Speedster that Walt mentioned, that we both worked on the restoration of. Picture was taken shortly after it was finished in 1991.

 

Paul

 

 

Gazza's 153 Conv.Speester 005.jpg

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Back to the first picture.

 

At first I thought that Convertible Speedster may have been Capt. Harry Hawks, another early aviation pioneer. He and his 31 Convertible Speedster were used in Franklin ads.  Then I noticed that the wire wheel hubs are a lighter color. The Hawks pictures show dark wheels.

 

Paul

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On ‎3‎/‎7‎/‎2019 at 12:13 PM, 1937hd45 said:

Did Franklin like pilots or did pilots like Franklins? 

When Franklin referred to the body design from 1928 being an "Airman", I think odds are in favor of Franklin admiring pilots.

 

Craig

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WOW Paul, the 1931 conv speedster was finished in 1991! Time flys and I wonder every morning when I get up and look in the mirror who the old gray haired guy is that is staring back at me!

Franklin in 1931 called the new styling of the four fenders on their series 15 model 153 as "air wing fenders" according to their Dealers Bulletin in January of that year.

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2 hours ago, 8E45E said:

When Franklin referred to the body design from 1928 being an "Airman", I think odds are in favor of Franklin admiring pilots.

 

Craig

Later on they must have had a thing for pirates. 

 

Bob 

7165168885_e31517c3dc_b.jpg

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5 hours ago, PFitz said:

Back to the first picture.

 

At first I thought that Convertible Speedster may have been Capt. Harry Hawks, another early aviation pioneer. He and his 31 Convertible Speedster were used in Franklin ads.  Then I noticed that the wire wheel hubs are a lighter color. The Hawks pictures show dark wheels.

 

Paul

Paul, and or others which may know Aviation History.

>> you mentioned Harry Hawks as another early aviation pioneer >>> few would know that ! 

Does anyone one know an early aviation pioneer by the name of'

Dallas Spear. In the teens maybe ?

I hope that I have it spelled correctly.

Thanks in advance,

John

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22 hours ago, Marty Roth said:

Anyone have a photo of a Franklin Pirate Phaeton lke the one in the private Ehinger museum in Kansas City?

 

Ok, I found Ehinger's  Franklin Pirate in the Club roster and it is one of the five  known 7 passenger Phaetons.

 

Paul

Edited by PFitz (see edit history)

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39 minutes ago, harris speedster said:

Paul, and or others which may know Aviation History.

>> you mentioned Harry Hawks as another early aviation pioneer >>> few would know that ! 

Does anyone one know an early aviation pioneer by the name of'

Dallas Spear. In the teens maybe ?

I hope that I have it spelled correctly.

Thanks in advance,

John

 

John,  Sorry, but I've never heard the name  Dallas Spear in connection with early aviation. The ones I'm most familiar with are those who owned Franklins, such as Charles Lindbergh, Emilia Earhart, and Harry Hawks.  

 

Paul

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Quote

 

When I was a  small boy I had a neighbor who was credited with starting the U.S. Navy flight program in World War I.  Later on I went to work for his wife.  He was Rear Admiral P. N. L Bellinger.  Whenever I was up there working, I'd see him going out to feed his birds.  He raised some kind of exotic quail and they would have them butchered and sell them to the Greenbrier Hotel.  Never had much conversation with the Admiral except one time he took me down to see his birds.  Apparently he was very proud of his birds.  When I first became aware of them Mrs. Bellinger drove a postwar DeSoto sedan.  It was maroon and quite attractive.  I went to work for them in 1958.  I don't recall what she was driving then but she soon got a new '59 Mercury and the farm help drove a 3/4-ton  '50ish Chevrolet pickup.  The Chevrolet was traded in on a '59 Ford pickup and the '59 Mercury was traded in on a '62-63 Mercury Meteor.  At that time the Ford pickup was the newest thing I had ever driven and I was quite impressed.  I think I first drove it maybe the day they got it.  I did not tell her but I did not have a driver's license.   We were in the hay field working one day and she drove the pickup out to the gate and hollered, "John, come over here."  He started mumbling and started toward the gate but she hollered, "Not you, I want John Dameron."  Turned out she was bringing her daughter and new grand daughter home from the hospital and wanted to show the baby to me.   I was very surprised.

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I believe the aviator who had and enjoyed Franklins was named Frank Hawks.

that "Pirate" sedan in the somewhat bold colors ( I am being kind) was for decades in Brooklyn, NY where I believe it was sold new. There are photos of it sitting in an open lot back in the early/mid 1950s in the Franklin club publication "Air Cooled News". I think the car came to  be owned by a fellow in Est Norwich on long Island and the eventually wound up in the Harrah collection where it was restored and today is in a collection in Pa. I remember driving it at a Franklin club meet held in central NY state decades ago when Bill Harrah had it trailered out with several other cars . Really odd sensation to look out through a v windshield and then look in the rear view mirror see a v split back rear window.

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12 hours ago, john2dameron said:

When I was a  small boy I had a neighbor who was credited with starting the U.S. Navy flight program in World War I.  Later on I went to work for his wife.  He was Rear Admiral P. N. L Bellinger.  Whenever I was up there working, I'd see him going out to feed his birds.  He raised some kind of exotic quail and they would have them butchered and sell them to the Greenbrier Hotel.  Never had much conversation with the Admiral except one time he took me down to see his birds.  Apparently he was very proud of his birds.  When I first became aware of them Mrs. Bellinger drove a postwar DeSoto sedan.  It was maroon and quite attractive.  I went to work for them in 1958.  I don't recall what she was driving then but she soon got a new '59 Mercury and the farm help drove a 3/4-ton  '50ish Chevrolet pickup.  The Chevrolet was traded in on a '59 Ford pickup and the '59 Mercury was traded in on a '62-63 Mercury Meteor.  At that time the Ford pickup was the newest thing I had ever driven and I was quite impressed.  I think I first drove it maybe the day they got it.  I did not tell her but I did not have a driver's license.   We were in the hay field working one day and she drove the pickup out to the gate and hollered, "John, come over here."  He started mumbling and started toward the gate but she hollered, "Not you, I want John Dameron."  Turned out she was bringing her daughter and new grand daughter home from the hospital and wanted to show the baby to me.   I was very surprised.

 

John2Dameron

What a cool & fascinating story you told !!

You bridged it back to the beginnings and then on to a rear Admiral that founded the Navy flight program..

I myself, find that very interesting, let alone you knew him and his wife.

respectfully,

John

 

 

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On 3/7/2019 at 12:57 PM, William Dougherty said:

Can anyone identify the car in this photo?

 

The pilot on the left is Alberto Honore Santa Maria, the airplane is a ca. 1920 U.S. Army Air Corps Douglas O2-H. Santa Maria flew Sopwith Camels for the RCAF in WW I. He owned a Cord dealership in Ardmore, PA, that went bankrupt in the depression.

 

I intend to post the photo on the website of the Massey Air Museum (Eastern Shore of Maryland).

 

Santa Maria father GROUND crop.jpg

Great Photo of a 1931 Franklin Series 153 "Dietrich" Convertible Speedster (a 4 door convertible sedan)

 

And, of course Franklin had a thing for pilots or visa versa - the car basically has an aircraft engine in it via its technology.  

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The "Pirate" thing started a little earlier in time in 1929.  I assume it was called a "pirate" as it broke the norm in automotive styling via door design over runningboards. 

 

I found this recently on the Franklin Automobile Enthusiasts page of Facebook

 

“El Pirata” from Dietrich. Extract from the ACN article July 77#70 p.4 by William H. Schemel who interviewed Mr. Dietrich then in his 80’s
About the El Pirata project...”The entire project was accomplished by Mr. Dietrich just to sell his styling designs to Mr. Franklin. After this had been accomplished, the automobile was displayed at several automobile shows until it was finally sold in 1929. A personal friend of Mr. Franklin, W.L. Augustine of Canada, purchased the car after he saw it in the New York Auto Show. He immediately had the car painted jet black, removed the rear fender skirts and fitted the car with regular 1929 wire wheels. Even with this comparatively drab appearance, the automobile continued to cause a great sensation In Canada.
In a matter of a few weeks of arrival in Montreal, the car was stolen from it from in front of a theatre where Mr. Augustine was enjoying the show, while the vandals were enjoying his car. The following day the car was found wrecked and completely burnt out. The identity of the joy riders as well as their real intentions remains a mystery. Truly and unfitting end for the original ”El Pirata”.

In Montréal the translated newspaper ad reads: “ A $1000 Reward will be paid for any information related to the destruction by fire of this car in St-Jérôme (north of Montreal, Québec, Ca). On December 2nd, 1929.
This Franklin Car with a special body was stolen out of Montreal on the same day.
All communications will be kept in strict confidence.
(A. Audette transl. 2019)

The same ACN article reads:
« In the fall of 1927 Ray Dietrich purchased a chassis from the Franklin Motor Car Co. and had it shipped to Detroit. He had for several years considered running boards as ugly dirt catchers which made it difficult to keep the interior of the car clean. He also knew Mr. Franklin‘s background quite well and theorize that Mr. Franklin would be receptive to a rather radical design which would not even be considered by some of the more conservative big names corporations that he was designing for, like Lincoln and Packard.
Over the next 4 to 6 months, spanning the end of 1927 and the start of 1928 he designed and built a sedan that had large doors that flared out at the bottom and concealed both the frame and the running boards. The front fenders had a crown that was brought up to a little crest at the tip. They were wider than the body and brought in just ahead of the front doors in the bobbed fashion. The back of the car was straight across but had a gentle curve over the rear wheels that provided space for a small enclosed luggage compartment. The wheels had large disk covers and the rear wheels were almost completely concealed by full fender skirts decorated with stylized spears resembling the louvres on the hood. The grill had a rather narrow shell that surrounded automatically regulated shutter bars which controlled the air intake into engine compartment. The long, narrow hood had horizontally placed louvers that were spaced so as to conform with the contour of the fenders, giving a hint of the forward rush so typical of Franklin’s ability on the road. The louvers, designed for a strictly mechanical function, also served an artistic decorative purpose. The slender trimness of the hood was capped by the piercing rifle-sight mounting of the coxcomb crest at its tip and was flanked by twin spare tired mounted in front fender wells. The headlights were large Ryan lights and the tail light was flared out from the rear deck, having three lenses for break, tail and back-up lights.
There was also a streamlined triangular courtesy light that shone forward from the rear quarter when the door was open. The entire body was finished in highly polished aluminum paint, satin aluminum fittings and trimmed in doll gold. »

 

Update:  

 

André Audette Just found that W. Augustine owned the agency MARMON MONTREAL MOTORS LIMITED.
Marmon & Roosevelt Motor Cars On 3437-3445 Park Avenue

 

 

 

Neil Sugermeyer Andre - ... I wonder if the chassis was updated at some point as if it was a ''27 as the story indicates it was at first, it would have had the transmission brake, not four wheel hydraulics which first came out in 1928. Still a bit of history to find out about.

 

53513138_2767426739934027_3310843748497227776_n.thumb.jpg.0632161edcbfd518929f739682318964.jpg53267015_10218300132751887_4960685431583670272_n.thumb.jpg.ae1bd60802f20c34f7e6c70af886fa48.jpg

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