GILMORE CAR MUSEUM TO BECOME AIR-COOLED
FRANKLIN CLUB TO BUILD AT HICKORY CORNERS
Hickory Corners, MI –
The H. H. Franklin Club Inc., founded in 1951 to preserve the legacy of America’s most successful air-cooled automobile, has announced plans to construct a new facility at The Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, MI. Ground breaking for the all-new, 6,000-square-foot exhibit building, which will be known as The Franklins, is slated to take place in spring of 2009.
The new structure will provide the club with its own permanent home for its collection of automobiles, display engines, and artifacts that span the four-decade history of the H.H. Franklin Company. The Syracuse, NY firm first produced its innovative air-cooled motorcar in 1902 and continued until 1934.
Eleven of the cars have been donated by Bob and Patricia Kern of Waukesha, WI. The Kern’s have been Franklin enthusiasts for 60 years. In 1948, Mr. Kern paid $100 for a 1923 Series 10B which is part of the collection, and used it for daily transportation. Mr. and Mrs. Kern will also provide major funding to cover construction and maintenance of a building to house the collection.
“ We’re extremely grateful to Bob and Patricia Kern for this generous gift,” said Mark Sullivan, president of the club. “It’s going to raise the profile of the Franklin car and help people appreciate what an innovator the company was,” he said.
In addition to the Kern cars, the collection has been given a fully restored 1932 FranklinV-12 , four-door sedan from Mrs. Beth Marshall of St Louis, MO, in memory of her husband, the late Alex Marshall, a long time Franklin enthusiast and collector. This rare car (of the 200 built only 20 have survived), together with all Franklins built after 1925 (except for the series 18 Olympic) are recognized as ‘classics’ by the Classic Car Club of America
Bob Amon, who will take the president’s gavel of the club in January 2009, said, “I believe that as more people see these great cars and appreciate their place in automotive history, we’ll attract new club members interested in restoring, preserving and driving them.”
When completed, the Franklin building at the Gilmore Car Museum will also house several display engines and a number of Franklin documents and artifacts donated by the Kerns. The Club anticipates that the collection will eventually include its archives and more than 20,000 engineering drawings.
Herbert H. Franklin, an innovative businessman, who pioneered the die-casting process late in the 19th century, founded the Franklin Automobile Company in Syracuse, NY. From 1902 to 1934 when the last Franklin rolled off the line, all Franklins were air-cooled. From the outset, the company invested a higher percent of sales in research and development than other makers and established a reputation for building cars of the highest quality and efficiency.
Air-cooling contributed to light weight which in turn made tires last longer and delivered better gasoline mileage. On a recent outing one club member reports he got 25.9 miles per gallon on his 1904, 4-cylinder Franklin. The car is 104 years old.
Franklin also pioneered the use of aluminum in many engine parts and body components to minimize weight. As a result, Franklins regularly beat heavier competitors such as Packard and Peerless in long-distance endurance tests.
Cutting weight to produce better fuel economy, a Franklin principle from the first, is being re-discovered as the automobile industry faces the energy crisis of the 21st century.
The Gilmore Car Museum, in many ways, is as unique as the Franklin car. Rather than a single building, the Gilmore has nearly one dozen historic structures situated on 90 landscaped acres, making it feel much more like a park than a museum. The Gilmore campus also serves as the home to the Classic Car Club of America Museum, the Pierce-Arrow Museum, and the Tucker Historical Collection and Library.
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H. H. Franklin Club Inc. - Cazenovia NY