Hershey | Lot 155

1927 Franklin Series 11-B Sport Touring by American Body Company



$49,500 USD | Sold

United States | Hershey, Pennsylvania

10 October 2013

Chassis No.
Engine No.
  • One of the best-known 1920s Franklins in existence
  • Formerly owned by Bill Harrah
  • Restored by Thomas Hubbard
  • An excellent example in all regards

32 bhp, 199.1 cu. in. air-cooled inline six-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, solid front and live rear axles with full-elliptic leaf springs in the front and rear, and rear-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 119 in.

Bill Harrah was arguably the most prominent Franklin enthusiast of the modern era. From the 1950s, until his passing in 1978, Harrah assembled a collection of automobiles from far and wide, eventually reaching 1,500 cars. Of that number, 64 were the air-cooled automobiles built in Syracuse. Harrah hosted the Franklin Trek, the H.H. Franklin Club’s annual meet and tour, in Reno several times, with the gems of his collection participating in the tour on a regular basis. Perhaps most tellingly of all, his personal parking space at Harrah’s Club was “Reserved for H.H. Franklin.”

Many of Harrah’s Franklins were “Gold Star” restorations, as they were restored to the highest possible standards of condition, roadworthiness, and authenticity, with extensive attention paid to detail from the tires up. The Franklins were usually sent to the Arizona home of Thomas Hubbard, who was the world’s foremost authority in these cars for decades. Hubbard’s restorations were equal to Harrah’s in-house work in their outstanding quality, with his personal collection today being owned and held as a museum by the H.H. Franklin Foundation.

The Sport Touring offered here is one of the Hubbard-restored Harrah Franklins, and it was pictured in the 1975 Harrah’s Automobile Collection roster, as well as in Harrah’s Automobile Collection by Dean Batchelor. As a new body style for 1927, which was intended to take advantage of the rebounding popularity of open body styles, the car manages to combine both sportiness and elegance in a single package. Harrah wrote that “with a light tan top bound in leather to match the old blue tone hand-crushed colonial grain leather upholstery, nickel trimmed polished walnut bows, individual front seat cushions, and rich Wilton carpet, it was an outstanding addition to Franklin’s sport model line.” The sleek bodywork was credited to the American Body Company, of Buffalo, New York.

The Sport Touring participated in the Franklin Trek in Cazenovia, New York, in 1976. It was sold by Harrah’s Automobile Collection 10 years later and has been part of its current owner’s collection for several years. This Sport Touring has been carefully kept and well-maintained, resulting in its overall condition being very good, and it is reported to run and drive well, with only about 3,000 miles since its restoration. Continuing in Harrah’s tradition, it was driven trouble-free from Los Angeles to Fallbrook, California, for the 2006 Franklin Westrek.

This Sport Touring, which is one of the most beautiful Franklin automobiles that has been owned and restored by two of the best-known enthusiasts of the marque, is still ready to participate in Franklin Treks or in any other meet or concours that its owner wishes to attend.

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