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1929 Franklin update - info needed


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I viewed this car today. The frame is all there, but rotted in the center. But the car has" Both bumpers, one fender, grille, complete motor, trans, driveshaft (in two pieces), and rearend, rearend is complete with wheels and hubcaps (wood spokes rotted). Gauges intact, steering all there, luggage rack in back, etc.

What confuses me is although when I posted the serial number someone told me this was a roadster, it clearly is not. There is an aluminum two-piece rear body tub and top section with nails where it was attached to long since rotted body wood. There are heavy aluminum frame quarter windows. There is one steel door with window frame, one piece (the other may have been under some things). There is a seat back with a chrome bar across it. There was a lot of other pieces I didn't try to identify. It appears the car was bodied as a club coupe, Victoria or possibly even a big sedan (the panel that goes below the rear window curves in like a sedan rear panel). But only two doors were found. The frame has a long luggage rack and flat deck ahead of that.

Could this be some kind of coachbuilt body?

I don't have a good book covering Franklins to sort this out.

Unfortunately, it appears this was flooded at some point. The intake and exhaust manifolds are broken and 4 of the six cylinder castings are cracked in two at the bases, as though water got in and froze inside them. Some have shifted position quite a bit, I can see rods and a couple of pistons. Being iron, those parts may not be savable. It's unfortunate as the cracks seem only to affect the tabs that bolt them to the aluminum motor block, the bores themselves are not cracked and depending on how long the stroke was the rings might not even go past where the breaks are. The only engine component that seems to be missing is the starter.

If nothing else, there is enough tin I think a guy could make a nice hot rod out of it, would probably be the only one on the block, and he can post a sign when he displays it telling how the one of the Franklin guys suggested it be buried and forgotten instead of saved.

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  • 2 weeks later...

One thing's for sure, I need to find a book and do my own research to determine the exact model on this one. Either no one knows much about it or they don't want to offer up the info, which probably explains why this sat in the junkyard for 50+ years falling apart.

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  • 2 months later...

Okay, at first I agreed that digging a hole might be a good idea. But your persistence has made me get up and do some research. The serial number you posted can not be correct. The prefix 37 indicates that this is a model 137, or the long-wheelbase Series 13 from 1929.

Franklin always used suffixes to indicate body style. The number 3719727FL2 is not a Franklin car number as it is. Most likely you missed the last digit, and the third from last should not be a letter. All of Franklin's suffixes end "L**" with the last one or two numeric digits indicating body style. (In case you're wondering the L stands for left-hand drive. Overseas you might find a suffix beginning with R.) For a model 137, the choices were: L23-Sedan; L24-Oxford Sedan; L27-Dietrich Speedster; L5-Limousine; L28-Sedan Limousine; L29-Town Car; L22-Touring; L1-Sport Touring; L2-Sport Runabout. So if it does indeed end in L2, you have a roadster, it's unlikely though. It's also interesting that you have one of the latest Series 13 known, with the end of the run being car# 197288.

Considering the condition of the remains, parting out is the best route to take. 1929 was Franklin's best selling year, so parts are always in demand. To restore this thing would cost many times what the car could ever be worth. Franklins generally do not bring the high prices that other classics do.

I dragged home a 1923 Series 10 sedan last year that is better than what you have. I sold alot of it, but alot of it went to the scrap yard. Yes a series 10 is much less desireable than a 13, but ratty sedans are still ratty sedans.

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Should be a pic of the tag in the other post on this car, but the tag was stolen somewhere in the few days between when my friend bought it and when he got the thing home. I used a marker to color over the stamp and wiped it off so the number was easily readable. At least I know what it was, so I can stamp up a new tag if I ever want to register it.

Based on what's left of the body parts, it appears to have been a 4-door sedan. I agree that this probably should be parted out, but my friend would rather sell it whole in one shot and let someone else do that. The problem is what he thinks it should sell for is probably about what all the parts are worth.

We did have one guy offer and ask about it, friend said no thanks, guy calls and says that was just a starting offer, so we made a counter offer ready to make a deal, and the guy says no thanks. Goofy I guess.

The car could have sat in the same spot since most likely just after WWII - from the looks of this yard that's about the last time it was cleaned out completely, there's lots of little pockets of cars with early 50's plates on them.

All in all it beats me, I'd just love to round up another door and build a roadster out of it, find something equally unusual for an engine (a Hudson 303 6?) and take it to some shows just to hear what people say about it... :-)

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