sunnybaba

Questions 1931 Franklin or 1931 Graham Paige..?

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I am thinking of buying a '31 Graham Paige sedan, and would like to know if they have a 3 speed or 4 speed transmission..?  And is the transmission a syncromesh..?   ..... or do you need to double clutch as with a Model A ford ..?

What speed would you drive it at, for a 200 mile touring trip, that felt comfortable for a car (6 cylinder), that was in good mechanical condition, with good brakes and tires..???   I am considering a 1930 Franklin sedan or a 1931 Graham Paige.... both 6 cylinder, both hydraulic brakes... But I don,t know which one would be best engineered for long distance touring and daily driver..?  Considering they are both in the same mechanical condition.

Any thoughts based on experience or real knowledge of these two vehicles would be appreciated. 

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Go with the Franklin. Then join the HH Franklin Club (http://www.franklincar.org/index.php) to meet the nicest group of people. Friendly, nice to talk to,  and willing to help solve any of your Franklin problems. 

 

I'm not knocking the Graham Paige by any means, but Franklins are nice drivers. Just drive one. Compared to other cars of their time, they are light and very easy to drive. Passengers can't believe how nicely my '21 touring rides. 

 

If you get a chance, drive a Franklin. You'll be hooked. 

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I can't comment on the Graham Paige so far as ride and driving. I drove a 1931 Franklin for 40,000 + miles over a period of 20+ years. Each year a one week trip to and from the Franklin Club annual event ( they call a trek) put on a total of 1,100 miles for that one week . The Franklin had available a 4 speed transmission as an option, most in 1930 were made by Detroit and for 1931 most by Warner. the Warner 4 speed is better. Keep in mind the 1st gear in a 4 speed tranny of that era is a very low low "stump puller" gear. If properly sorted the Franklin "side draft" engine of the 1930-34 era will easily cruise along at 50-55 mph. Great ride with the tube front axle and full elliptic springs. BUT AGAIN you need to make sure everything is looked at and sorted, spring leaves lubricated etc. Cars that have not been maintained and then are used can cause complaints but only because they were neglected. Any car that is 90+ years old needs to be properly maintained, restored etc and it will then behave as it did when new.

to many people reading this or those that have old cars are used to modern cars that do the thinking for you, not so with a 80+ year old machine that has been used for all of those years. Respect what you buy, spend the time and $ to get it sorted and you will never have anything to moan and groan about. If the car "breaks" it is your fault, not the cars. ( compare it to buying a house made in 1930 - if you do , will you have the heating, plumbing, wiring  and roof shingles checked out or leave it to complain loudly about if it breaks down? )😯

Edited by Walt G
added a word to clarify (see edit history)
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Both Graham and Franklin have active supportive clubs and made some great cars.   Without more details about the specific cars it is hard to say,  but assuming 6 cylinder Graham,  I would side with my friends above and lean Franklin.

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The more expensive Graham Paige models were in the same price class as Franklin, but appealed to different buyers. Franklin was an engineer's car that appealed to the technical man. Graham Paige was more mainstream. The costlier models of Graham Paige I have seen, are attractive and impressive looking and generally look like an expensive car. There are a few Graham owners in this area and they seem to think highly of their cars.

As I have not owned or driven either make I should not comment farther, but have always heard that Franklins are a good handling smooth riding car, capable of covering more miles in a day than other makes with higher horsepower and top speed.

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Rusty, you have made a correct comment regarding Franklins and their time and miles on the road. In the late 1920s and early 1930s E.G. "Cannonball" Baker did publicity drives for the Franklin company all across the USA. Speed runs between cities, NY City to LA etc. All well publicized at the time. When the Franklin Club was started in the very early 1950s and they started to have annual reunions of the cars, former and current owners , and factory employees - Cannonball Baker attended at least one of these to tell; his tales of driving the cars. The California Franklin dealer Ralph Hamlin also did demonstration runs in the desert to prove that the cars could run under a lot of conditions water cooled cars could not - ie extreme heart.
When later as collectible antique cars the Franklins still run well in hot weather. For decades starting in the early 1970s  I drove my 1931 Franklin Airman from long island to Syracuse, NY in 80+ degree heat up Rt 17 in southern NY state ( which has some rather long grades (hills) of road) .  By the time I arrived after 6 hours on the road I was pretty tired from the heat, but the car was just tine. I believe the Franklins were running 100 degrees hotter then their water cooled counterpart anyway. Franklin's catch phrase in the 1930-31 era was "riding like gliding" that was not a false or boastful statement - true words.

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22 hours ago, sunnybaba said:

... But I don't know which one would be best engineered for long distance touring and daily driver?  

 

Really, a daily driver?  Do you mean you will be 

driving this car EVERY day for ordinary purposes,

as someone might have done in the 1930's?

That would be an interesting adventure.

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Another vote for the Franklins.

 

The Franklin club holds yearly meets on both coasts and in the Midwest. Lots of Franklins drive to those meets every year from as far away as the opposite coast and Canada.

 

As Walt said, the Trek here in CNY is a week long of daily tours. That week can add up to hundreds of miles over central NYS hills, in hot July/August weather,... even for the cars trailered in. Mechanical problems are very rare during that week. I know because for 37 years I'm the guy that follows all the tours with the tool truck to help out with any mechanical problems. Most days I feel like the Maytag repairman. :D

 

Paul

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YES John S... I live in southern New Mexico.... Near the small town of Silver City (pop 10,000)  I am a long term caretaker of a 1,500 acre Nature Preserve that borders the Gila wilderness area. It is High Desert, (5,600 ft elevation).  We have no neighbors within 18 miles. To get to town we have to drive 18 miles on a dirt road.... (maintained occasionally by the county)  But to get out of the canyon where we live, we have to climb out on a single lane, steep, narrow road that climbs 1,000 ft in a half mile...... this is where the low 'granny gear with high torque, at low RPM comes into play..... It takes one hour to traverse that 18 miles of dirt road, under the best of conditions... then once you get into town... there are only two lane paved roads throughout most of the county and the speed limit is 25-35 MPH around town and 55 mph out in the open flat areas of the sparsely populated county.  we are 100 miles from the nearest freeway....... There is a very slow pace of life here and the feeling of 'no hurries, no worries'..... is still alive here in this area.... Very open and wild and few people...

So, Yes.. it will be and is... like steeping back in time..... to where the journey was the main event, and not the destination...... I am 75 years.... young ....and what ever time I have left here on this Beautiful Earth, I want to spend Enjoying the simple things in Life.... Like a walk in the forest, skinny dipping in the creek, driving in my 90 year old car, into town to get an ice cream cone..... listening to the sound of the morning bird songs... or listening to the sound of my 90 year old engine as it climbs the hill in first gear... oh the simple joys of being alive...

I appreciate all of your guys thoughts about the most practical car to by... it has been very helpful... and I am leaning very strongly towards the 1930 Franklin.... But there is now a very close second... a 1934 Chrysler CA......big 6    The thing about the Franklin is, I have Zero experience with an air cooled engine...... that has those cooling areas around the pistons, etc... I am a fairly good 'back yard' mechanic.. and have owned, built and driven many different 1920's and early 30's cars and trucks... all gasoline, water cooled... But I will have a lot to learn with the air cooled Franklin...  Therefore there is hesitation in buying one... much more of a tendency to go with the familiar....    But then again, I am really Ready for my Next Adventure....

sunny wc.jpg

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If you are going to build a car in Syracuse, New York it has to be able to handle outside temperature ranges of about 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Makes for a durable design.

 

Half way through November, time to start planning Arctic training maneuvers at Fort Drum, just north of Syracuse. It's a good place for the training because it is more likely to have Arctic weather conditions than the Arctic.

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