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About Franklin

The H. H. Franklin Manufacturing Company was a maker of automobiles in the United States between 1902 and 1934 in Syracuse, New York. Herbert H. Franklin, the founder, started out in the metal die-casting business (in fact, he invented the term) before entering the automobile business with the engineer John Wilkinson.

All Franklin cars were air-cooled, which the company considered simpler and more reliable than water cooling, and the company considered light weight to be critical in making a well-performing car given the limited power of the engines then available. Most Franklins were wood-framed, though the very first used an angle iron frame (1902) and, beginning in 1928, the heavier cars adopted a conventional pressed-steel frame. Lightweight aluminum was used in quantity, to the extent that Franklin was reckoned to be the largest user of aluminum in the world in the early years of the company.

Offerings for 1904 included a touring car model with a detachable rear tonneau and which seated 4 passengers. List price was US$1300. The transverse-mounted, vertical straight-four engine, producing 10 hp (7.5 kW), was mounted at the front of the car. A 2-speed planetary transmission was fitted. The car weighed 1100 lb (499 kg).

Franklin cars were technological leaders, first with six cylinders (by 1905) and automatic spark advance, in 1907. They were the undisputed leaders in air-cooled cars at a time when virtually every other manufacturer had adopted water cooling, being cheaper and easier to manufacture. Before the invention of antifreeze, the air-cooled car had a huge advantage in cold weather, and Franklins were popular among people such as doctors, who needed an all-weather machine. The limitation of air-cooling was the size of the cylinder bore and the available area for the valves, which limited the power output of the earlier Franklins. By 1921, a change in cooling—moving the fan from sucking hot air to blowing cool air—led the way to the gradual increase in power.


S6 12v 3.3L         

Franklin 11-A (1926)

4-door 5-seater touring car (tourer), petrol (gasoline) 6-cylinder 12-valve straight (inline) engine, 3322 cm3 / 202.7 cu in / 202.7 cu in, rear wheel drive

S6 12v 3.9L OHV M-3

Franklin Airman (1928)

4-door 5-seater sedan (saloon), petrol (gasoline) 6-cylinder 12-valve straight (inline) engine, OHV (overhead valve, I-head), 3874 cm3 / 236.4 cu in / 236.4 cu in, manual 3-speed transmission, rear wheel drive, 97 km/h / 60 mph / 60 mph top speed

S2   1.8L      M-2
7.5 kW / 10.1 hp / 10.1 hp        

Franklin Model A (1904)

2-seater, 2-cylinder straight (inline) engine, 1760 cm3 / 107.4 cu in / 107.4 cu in, 7.5 kW / 10.1 hp / 10.1 hp, manual 2-speed transmission, rear wheel drive, 64 km/h / 40 mph / 40 mph top speed

V12 24v 6.8L      M-3
111.9 kW / 150.1 hp / 150.1 hp        

Franklin Series 17 (1932)

2-door 5-seater fixed-head coupé, petrol (gasoline) 12-cylinder 24-valve V engine, 6810 cm3 / 415.6 cu in / 415.6 cu in, 111.9 kW / 150.1 hp / 150.1 hp, manual 3-speed transmission, rear wheel drive, 153 km/h / 95 mph / 95 mph top speed


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