1912 Franklin Model D

History

The H.H. Franklin Manufacturing Company built the most successful American direct air-cooled cars from 1902 to 1934. John Wilkinson was the engineer who built the first Franklin car and whose design principles combining high quality with light weight gave Franklin their distinct reputation for dependability and long life. All Franklins utilized air-cooled engines and double elliptical springs on all four wheels. Their legacy has been one of successful innovations and, of course, the unusual vehicles that survived.

The Franklin Manufacturing Company initiated a strong advertising campaign that promoted their high quality and lightweight vehicles. Their engineering was progressive and introduced many new features. Wilkinson used a wooden frame constructed of three-ply laminated ash. The benefits were two-fold; decreasing the weight of the vehicle and providing a better material to absorb shocks.

In 1924, Wilkinson left the company. The designs of the vehicle dramatically changed over the next few years, mainly in response to criticism from dealers. The most visual of these design changes was the radiators which became more conventional in design.

When Wilkinson left the company he was replaced by Frank DeCausse, a well known designer who had made a name for himself through work he had done at Rolls-Royce and Locomobilie. DeCausse refined the Franklins, ever increasing their appeal. Unfortunately, DeCausse died around 1928 leaving the Franklin Company without a lead designer.

In 1928 the Franklin Company hired Ray Dietrich as a replacement for DeCausse. In only a year, Dietrich had created some of the most exquisite designs the Franklin Company had ever produced. The designs attracted a new breed of buyers but it was the Great Depression that was responsible for the demise of the brand.


By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2011

1912 Vehicle Profiles

1912 Franklin Model D vehicle information

Torpedo Phaeton

Chassis Num: 14507D

In 1912 Ralph C. Hamlin, Los Angeles Franklin dealer, on his fifth try drove his Converted Torpedo Phaeton Race Car to Victory. Twelve cars started the race from Los Angeles to Phoenix, with Hamlin crossing the finish line in a record time of 18 hou....[continue reading]

Torpedo Phaeton
Chassis #: 14507D 


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Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

$495-$3,500
1912 Model D
$3,500-$9,000
1912 Franklin Model D Base Price : $3,500

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Franklin
1917Ford (622,351)Willys Knight (130,988)Buick (115,267)8,985
1916Ford (734,811)Willys Knight (140,111)Buick (124,834)3,817
1915Ford (501,492)Willys Knight (91,904)Dodge (45,000)3,217
1914Ford (308,162)Overland (48,461)Studebaker (35,374)1,984
1913Ford (168,220)Overland (37,422)Studebaker (31,994)1,782
1912Ford (78,440)Overland (28,572)Buick (19,812)1,508
1911Ford (69,762)Overland (18,745)Maxwell (16,000)1,654
1910Ford (32,053)Buick (30,525)Overland (15,598)2,357
1909Ford (17,771)Buick (14,606)Maxwell (9,460)2,142
1908Ford (10,202)Buick (8,820)Studebaker (8,132)1,895
1907Ford (14,887)Buick (4,641)Maxwell (3,785)1,509

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