1931 Franklin 5.7- Liter Sedan


  • Year of manufacture 
  • Chassis number 
  • Lot number 
  • Drive 
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Property of a deceased's estate
1931 Franklin 5.7-Litre Sedan
Registration no. 708 YUU
Chassis no. ASN52791DEL

America's longest-lived and most successful air-cooled automobile, the Franklin was the work of engineer John Wilkinson, whose innovative design, produced in prototype form for the New York Automobile Company, was taken up by Syracuse-based die-casting manufacturer Herbert H Franklin. Franklin's company sold its first car in June 1902 and a dozen more before the year's end. In an age when the customary power unit for such a vehicle was a water-cooled single, Wilkinson's 1.7-litre, air-cooled 'four' was highly unusual. The Franklin's other advanced features included overhead valves (inlets mechanically operated from 1905), throttle speed control, float-type carburettor, two-speed planetary transmission, and full-elliptic springing. The engine was mounted transversely in the wooden chassis at first before moving to the conventional up-front position in 1905, fan cooling being introduced at the same time on most models.

Powered by a 5.7-litre air-cooled 'six', the Franklin offered here dates from 1931, by which time there was a steel chassis and hydraulic brakes, and has the dummy radiator grille first adopted in 1925 in response to pressure from the dealer network, which demanded a more conventional-looking product.

It is understood that the Franklin was imported from Delaware, USA in March 2006. Treated to a 'body off' restoration circa 2016, it was last on the road in 2017 and will require re-commissioning before further use. Accompanying documentation consists of restoration bills and photographs, a current MoT certificate, and a V5C registration document.