Waiting 54 years: 1929 Franklin Brougham 135

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The Franklin Automobile Company had a long and interesting history building cars from 1902 until 1934. Their first car was also the first 4 cylinder car produced in America. Throughout their history Franklins were air cooled and featured many innovations. Franklins in the 1920s were less popular because they had sloping hoods and didn’t look like other cars. In 1924 a fake radiator grill was added. This Franklin is listed on eBay in Akron, Ohio with a BIN of $15,900. It’s been in a barn since since 1962 and is original and complete. The seller has not disturbed the dust and has only added air to the tires.

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The interior is all there, much like the day it was parked. It will need work, but at least it wasn’t a rodent habitat.

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The engine looks complete and unmolested from here. It’s an air cooled 274 CID 6 cylinder rated at 29 horsepower. These were known to be simple and reliable engines.

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It looks pretty complete from here as well. I wonder what’s under all that dirt. It may have been restored at some time. This is a fairly rare Franklin but it would be worth less than $30,000 restore so a full restoration would not be practical. If there are no major problems, do you think it should be worth doing the mechanical work and some cosmetic work? I hope somehow this old Franklin is saved.

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Comments

  1. A.J.

    Franklins are the coolest big “C” Classic you can buy. You are correct that the restored value may only be the 30k range so there is not a lot of room for spending money. This car may be a tad overpriced as these 2 are available for 12,500 and both are more interesting:

    http://forums.aaca.org/topic/285485-fs-franklins-several-models

  2. 70kingswood

    neat car. deserves a complete resto!

  3. Dovi65

    Scrub it up, get rid of the years of built up dirt & grime, get the mechanicals working right, and you’ve got a nice Sunday driver

  4. Puhnto

    That is a great looking car! Every bit as nice and grand as any Packard or Cadillac of the period.

  5. JCW Jr.

    I agree nice looking car. If cannot be restored for the right price it would be an awesome street rod.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi JCW Jr, well, I certainly hope this car doesn’t get that treatment, but you are probably not far off. With restoration costs the price of a house, and most people that had any connection with these are gone, that’s probably what will happen. I only hope, the person making it into a street rod, pauses for a moment to think, hmm, looks like a pretty neat piece of history, maybe this car should remain like it is.

      • JCW Jr.

        I agree it would be a shame. Unfortunatly this is what is happening now days. As the older folks pass on, the kids have no interest. Those that do have the interest do not have the funds to do a proper resteration and instead of just fixing it up let a rodder buy and desicrate it.

      • '63 Lark Daytona ragtop

        “Restoration costs the price of a house” highly depends on where you live! In Silicon Valley you could restore several rusty Bugattis for the price of a house, and still have money leftover for a Model S and a Model X!

      • Howard A Member

        Hi ’63, HA! That’s true. In N.Wis. people are leaving in droves( well, not really, but they are moving away) and a decent home in these small towns can be had for $30-$50g’s, move in condition. There’s over 200 for sale in a nearby town( and surrounding area) alone. I mean, how many homes could there be ? In contrast, my daughter lived in L.A. and some friends bought a house in Sherman Oaks, a for 3/4 of a mil, and they thought they got a good deal.

  6. Howard A Member

    Unless you’ve been next to one of these, you really can’t tell what a magnificent automobile this is. I went to a car show near Kingston, NY, and an older couple had a Franklin of this vintage, only a 4 door, I think, restored, and I just stared at it for a while before saying anything. Finally, I said, “THAT, is the nicest car here”. She had the little vases in the back with flowers in them, just a class act all the way. She also said, it’s a little tough driving it around, as everyone wants to check it out. She was very nice and let me look closely at it. I can only imagine the relatively low value of this might be because interest is waning, and prices for these “full classics” have come down, but sometimes, money can’t describe what an incredible automobile this is, and should be restored and put in a museum. Unheard of find, especially like this. Got to be the last one.

  7. Joe

    Want.

    That guy had a hellova find! He has for sale on ebay the Auburn sitting next to it as well!

  8. Bill McCoskey

    2 years ago at the Owls Head museum annual auction, They sold a Nice RESTORED ’29 Victoria Brougham [same as this one], ready to drive home, for $11,000. Sad to say, this is a $6,000 car at the most, if it’s running and driving.

    • OhioMark

      Correct on the $6000 value!

  9. Jake

    That guy that found those cars is unreal. He has been finding cars in barns for 30 years. His very first one was a 68′ Cobra 427 side-oiler in 1984. He spends years going after cars,his drive is amazing. His list and photographs would cause heart attacks to the average car nut. He’s low-key and flies under the radar. He let me have a rare glimpse into his collection,I had absolutely no idea he was a car guy. He never let on. That Franklin is very original,rare and extremely solid as well as the Auburn. Quite the find!

  10. G 1

    I thought I read a long time ago somewhere that Franklin used a wooden front axle ? (Ash or Hickory) not sure.

    • Keith arso

      No. It’s the frame that was wood. This ’29 has a steel frame as did all Franklins after 1928 I believe. I had the same ’29 Victoria Brougham back in the mid 70’s. Was a great car after I restored it. Also a barn find.

  11. Keruth

    Way over on $! What’s he smoking? (ok, I’m jealous on the finds, but,,,)
    Ya, I want some of That!!
    3yrs. ago a ’29 sold in “driver quality” (older restoration) for 11k.
    This is close to me, and I like it, but no more than 2k.
    JMHO, (& some searching) really.
    And that Auburn, well, that’s a pipe dream, too!

    • Keruth

      And that’s the picture from The Owls Head Auction that Bill mentioned, ah, first.

  12. nessy

    There is no way a car like this is only worth a few thousand. I am sure this car will be saved after all this time. Nobody is going to street rod a Franklin. This is also a very rare Victoria Coupe, it’s not just a sedan. As I said before, there are many young people like myself, 40ish, who do love the big old Pre War cars. I also love Franklins. Here is a photo of my 1919 Franklin Touring. Maybe someday, I will get around to it.

  13. nessy

    Let me try again with that photo.

  14. Mark S Member

    A driver quality restoration done by the right owner working on a budget, doing all of his own work could restore this for under $10K what is driving up restoration cost are people getting restoration shop to do the work and these shops in most cases over restore cars like this. Yes there perfect using the best of materials, but they’re also not what was produced back in the day. None if these cars had 10 coats of base/clear paint with wet sanding between each coat or high end fabrics that are used on today’s cars. The real problem is people I believe would still love to have these old beauties they just don’t have the skill or the tools to do a car like this so having this is just out of their reach plain and simple. I say do all that you can do by your self and then shop around for different individual shops that can do what you can’t. That’s what the resto guys do when they restore than they mark that work up on your end bill. Any way this is an absolutely gorgeous car and I hope the right DIY guy gets his hands on this car.

    • Howard A Member

      Hi Mark, that’s true. Problem I see, is not so much people don’t have the skills or tools, it’s just this isn’t your run of the mill restoration, like say a Chevy Nova ( or whatever) I’d bet, Franklin parts are few and far between, and some parts may have to fabricated. There”s your meter spinner, right there. Doesn’t matter. If you are willing to take on a project like this, either by yourself or farmed out, you could probably throw your budget out the window, because when it was done, well, I’d sure love to drive it.

      • Mark S Member

        Howard this particular car won’t be for the faint of heart. I guess I should have said that I was speaking in general terms. One thing that I’ve been forced to do is stretch my project over more time do to financial and health constraints in recent years which is some of us have to do from time to time. The best way to keep your head in the project is get out to your man cave and do something every week, even if its cleaning bolts. As you guys know there is a lot of very unglamorous work to do in a restoration and a lot of this work does not require spending bags of money.

    • nessy

      Well said Mark. I would like to see what this car would look like with a good wash and polishing. You see tell that blue chalky paint will come back to life.

  15. Rex Rice

    Go to Tucson & visit the low key Franklin museum there. These are truly magnificent cars.

  16. BMWTundraguy

    I’ve been to the Franklin Museum in Tucson. Truly as Rex said “low key” but very highly impressive. The gentleman whom is the curator is very knowledgeable and friendly. You would be advised to call ahead for directions! If you follow your GPS, you will swear that you are just in a neighborhood. (which you are, litteraly)
    The cars were so over engineered that given proper care, they could last for quite some time!

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