Car Collector's Corner:1910 Franklin - A Hundred Years Old And Still On The Road

J Sutherland
by J Sutherland

If you want to see a 1910 Franklin up-close and personal, you would usually have to look in a museum. Dave Cruickshank doesn’t believe that 102-year-old cars belong in museums. They belong on the street because as Dave says, “If you own them you should drive them.”

So Dave’s 1910 Franklin is still a street machine. He spends as much time behind the wheel of his centenarian as time will allow him.

Typically a mild summer night becomes an open invitation for Dave to crank up his air-cooled Franklin, hit the Thursday night show and shine in his hometown.

Dave’s hometown has been a multi-generational location for his family. His grandfather owned and operated a livery stable in town before the 1910 Franklin was even built. Maybe one of the early Franklins replaced horses in that livery stable.

But Dave would rather drive history than discuss it, and the Franklin is a perfect vehicle for that experience.

There are very few 102-year-old Franklins left in the world, even fewer on the street. Dave is a fairly young owner of the car, roughly half the age of his ride. He has plenty of time to run up more miles every summer when the weather is good and the top comes down on the old codger.

The Franklin is called a brass car, for obvious reasons, and the brass era ended in 1912 for the Franklins.

The car draws an enormous amount of attention at car shows, so Dave often finds himself in the middle of a crowd of curious onlookers. Dave is a quiet-spoken guy, but he will answer any and all questions about his unique 102-year-old four-wheeled companion.

The Franklin car was produced from 1902 to 1934. Dave’s car needs a hand-crank to start it. It runs like a Swiss watch when he fires it up. All of this begs one question: How did a company that produced a car that runs this well at 102 years old ever go out of business?

Dave was too busy looking for another reason to hit the road in his 102-year-old ride to answer that question, because summer is a short season in his region and this Franklin is topless.

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J Sutherland
J Sutherland

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2 of 14 comments
  • Ranwhenparked Ranwhenparked on Apr 22, 2012

    Great cars, back in the day, Franklins were some of the best engineers, best-built American cars, and were, of course, fairly expensive. The answer as to how they're not still in business is that the Great Depression killed them like it killed so many other higher end/smaller volume automakers in their prime. The shell of the Franklin company is still around though. The Polish government acquired the rights to the name and their line of air cooled aircraft engines in the late 1940s, and its still around.

  • Verbal Verbal on Apr 24, 2012

    There is a very good Franklin museum in Tucson.

  • Daniel J I love my mazda 6. It's getting harder and harder to drive it around where I live as municipalities fail to repair roads. SUVs are just easier to drive with all of the potholes.
  • 1995 SC On the plus side, I found a sedan I want to buy
  • Teddyc73 As I asked earlier under another article, when did "segment" or "class" become "space"? Does using that term make one feel more sophisticated? If GM's products in other segments...I mean "space" is more profitable then sedans then why shouldn't they discontinue it.
  • Robert Absolutely!!! I hate SUV's , I like the better gas milage and better ride and better handling!! Can't take a SUV 55mph into a highway exit ramp! I can in my Malibu and there's more than enough room for 5 and trunk is plenty big enough for me!
  • Teddyc73 Since when did automakers or car companies become "OEM". Probably about the same time "segment" or "class" became "space". I wish there were more sedans. I would like an American sedan. However, as others have stated, if they don't sell in large enough quantities to be profitable the automakers...I mean, "OEMs" aren't going to build them. It's simple business.