HomePick of the DayAir-cooled antique 1922 Franklin

Air-cooled antique 1922 Franklin


Based in Syracuse, New York, Franklin built luxury automobiles with an important distinction:  The engines were cooled by ambient air rather than liquid, from the time the first Franklin rolled out in 1902 until the company closed its doors in 1934, another victim of the Great Depression.

The Pick of the Day is a classic 1922 Franklin 9-B 5-passenger touring car powered by an air-cooled, overhead-valve inline-6 engine. Made from aluminum rather than the typical cast iron used by other automakers at that time, the engine displaces 199 cubic inches and generates 25 horsepower, coupled with a selective 3-speed sliding-gear transmission.

The engine also features such innovations as full-pressure lubrication, an automatic spark advance and electric choke.

The touring car sports five whitewall tires on wire-spoke wheels

Franklin automobiles “were considered the finest air-cooled automobiles of the era (and decades before VW and Porsche!),” according to the Lake Oswego, Oregon, dealer advertising the antique on ClassicCars.com.

“They were lightweight, pioneering the use of aluminum and tubular-steel construction, with overhead-valve engines and detachable cylinders that were finned for heat dissipation,” the seller notes.  “They did not require a radiator or water jacket, thus eliminating the unpredictable cooling of traditional internal combustion engines of the day.”

The air-cooled engine is made of aluminum

This Franklin was fully restored by a “noted Northwest collector,” according to the ad. “It presents beautifully today. Finished in maroon and black. Excellent top and black leather upholstery. Wood body framing is also excellent throughout. Clean undercarriage. No rust or damage.”

The touring car also is outfitted with some extra features, the seller adds, “nicely optioned with wire wheels, wind wings, spotlight, Sparton horn, Waltham dash clock, rear-mounted spare tire, running-board step plates and exhaust whistle.

“This car has been driven on tours and to shows where it always garners lots of attention.”

The interior has fresh wood and leather trim

The Franklin looks beautifully finished and authentic in the photos with the ad, including its refurbished leather-and wood interior.

The asking price of $37,500 seems reasonable for this unusual piece of automotive history.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.


  1. A Franklin was the car used in one of the 3 Stooges episodes where they needed to get Moe some quiet time out amongst nature.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Recent Posts