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Franklin speedster series


Walt G
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The four door sport sedan with a canvas roof designed by Raymond Dietrich was a landmark body style that was available from the Franklin company from 1929 to 1932. It did not make its appearance until mid year in 1929 as the announcement here was placed in the August 1929 issue of Autobody magazine . Autobody magazine was a coach builders industry publication and was not available for general public purchase on a news stand. the announcement was made by C.T. Doman of the Franklin Company. Carl Doman was one of the the Chief Engineers for Franklin along with Edward Marks and John Burns. Franklin issued a special sales folder on the speedster 4 door to give to perspective customers , and the Dietrich bodies were made by Dietrich then shipped to be mounted on the Franklin chassis at their factory in Syracuse, NY. Another piece of the Franklin/Dietrich story. A whole article just on the speedster body types could be written . I knew Carl Doman briefly and he was just so interesting to listen to in person. He used to calculate the tip he would give a waitress when paying for a meal on a slide rule.  He kept a small slide rule in his pants pocket to determine mathematical calculations . Oh the stories I have to tell....................

AUTObodyFranklinSpeedsterAug1929.jpg

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A.J. I will get to this within a day or so. Yes, great looking body and proportions. Only year available with an adjustable front seat was 1932 series 16. the rest had fixed front seats and if you have long legs it is hard to comfortably drive one. Especially the 1929 cars - parking brake is at you left side so between trying to work you legs around that you got the steering wheel in the way. Ask me how I know !  I spent a week at the Franklin club annual meet 35-40 years ago driving the Harrah collection restored 1929 speedster around. Felt like Quasimodo after one long day.  Yes I still love the cars! they made a 4 door conv. version too on special order in 1930-31. Charles Lindbergh had a 4 door conv speedster he got on loan from the factory for a year in 1930, he used to get it serviced at the Pase Franklin dealership located on the west side of Columbus Circle in NY City. To much information , to many stories.

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To A.J. and all looking at this, thanks for your patience, took more then a few days to get to looking in my archives/library to locate then scan, crop, etc what I can now share. Takes a lot of time, not complaining, just an observation. Some of the items are to large for my scanner. So what you will see here is  - with more information then you will ever need to know - (have patience I am a wordy historian sometimes) (1) sales folder cover printed in French by Franklin in 1929 for their sales agent the Chicago Garage in Paris. (2) text from the rear cover of a specific sales folder on the 1929 speedster at its debut - note the three colors that the car was available in - Franklin period factory notice says that Ray Dietrich chose the colors his design would be available in , it was not up to the customer! (3) rear cover of a sales folder on the Speedster and the sedan-limousine ( both introduced late in the sale year - in the Spring about 3 months after the 1929 cars made their debut to the public) 4) 1930 salesman data book ( that is 150 pages ) pages on the speedster that shows the body dimensions. Note the 1930 had horizontal louvers on the hood sides and the 1931 3 doors on the hood sides.

I have period photos of the Speedster in a Franklin showroom in Brooklyn,NY on Bedford Avenue and some others as well but don't have the time to look for them now.

For those of you who may be thinking - so Walt collects/has sales literature on American made vehicles specifically printed for sales of USA cars pre WWII in Europe? Answer is yes, Buick, Lincoln, Franklin, Chrysler, DeSoto, Plymouth ( wasn't sold as Plymouth in England had Chrysler designation and badges) to mention a few.

Sorry to take up so much space on the forums with all this obscure information on obscure cars.

FranklinspeedsterFRENCHfldr1929.jpg

FRANKLINspeedstercolor1929fldr.jpg

FRANKlinSPeedster147.jpg

FRANKLINspeedsterspecs1929.jpg

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Thanks for the compliment, I try, just need two of me to keep up with the contributions here and the never ending on going research for other commitments. None of what I have does much good if I am the only one that sees it. The historian and teacher in me keeps telling me - others have to see this!

I appreciate all older cars and trucks, focus ( as is obvious) on the styling/design/coach building. Franklin has long been a favorite although I no longer own one. Lots of material here on the 1925-34 era Franklins , I have runs of company Dealer's Bulletins that have amazing photographs. On occasion I used to be able to find them, haven't for 25+ years now.  I am happy the forums have the room to accommodate the period material and stories, the majority of the club magazines now devote most of the space to reports on who attended club events, where they live, and the social aspect. All most important! a very great aspect about the car collecting interest , but as is obvious I am more interested in 'what happened then' to get the information out before those that knew the first hand story are gone taking the history with them. I have been interviewing people "who were there" for first person accounts since about 1970. combine all of their memories and you get a very unique picture of the reality of what it was like "then". I do this for local history as well thus my obsession to then try to put it all together in a story , oh the stories that have yet to be told via words and photographs/images !!!!!!

End of lecture # 876 🙄

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