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

J Sutherland
by J Sutherland
car collector s corner 1910 franklin a hundred years old and still on the road

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.

For more of J Sutherland’s work go to

Join the conversation
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.

  • Jdt65724922 How can a Chrysler E-Class ride better than a Chrysler Fifth Avenue?
  • Lorenzo This series is epic, but I now fear you'll never get to the gigantic Falcon/Dart/Nova comparison.
  • Chris P Bacon Ford and GM have decided that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Odds are Chrysler/Cerberus/FCA/Stellantis is next to join in. If any of the companies like Electrify America had been even close to Tesla in reliability, we wouldn't be here.
  • Inside Looking Out China will decide which EV charging protocol will become world wide standard.
  • Chris P Bacon I see no reference to Sweden or South Carolina. I hate to assume, but is this thing built in China? I can't help but wonder if EVs would be more affordable to the masses if they weren't all stuffed full of horsepower most drivers will never use. How much could the price be reduced if it had, say, 200hp. Combined with the instant torque of an EV, that really is plenty of power for the daily commuter, which is what this vehicle really is.