This 1932 five passenger Franklin “Airman” Sedan houses a 100 Hp, 4.49 liter, 274 cubic inch engine and has a 3.25 bore and 4.75 stroke. The 4-door Sedan sits on a 132 in. wheelbase with full elliptical springs and had a factory price of $2,345. 1,905 examples of 1932 Series 16-A, Model 163 Airman, were built in 1932. Franklins ceased production in 1934.
In 1902, the first production Franklin was sold. Now in the Smithsonian, it had a 4-cylinder overhead valve engine mounted crosswise in the front, along with the first float carburetor and the first throttle control. It depended on forward motion to provide airflow for cooling, just as airplanes do today.
A new 1928 line, labeled the “Airman”, was introduced at the beginning of Oct. 1927, well in advance of the National Auto Show scheduled for January 1928. In May of the same year, Charles A. Lindbergh flew the first successful solo trans-Atlantic flight from New York to Paris in the plane known as the “Spirit of St. Louis”. Capitalizing on this, Franklin’s “Airman” was quickly associated with Charles A. Lindbergh as the company offered one as a gift.
In 1898, John Wilkinson built a prototype 4-cylinder engine – a design first, and the start of a long line of fine air-cooled engines. During 1901 Franklin and Wilkinson collaborated to develop Wilkinson's automobile.
The Franklin motor car was invented by the engineer John Wilkinson and manufactured by the industrialist H. H. Franklin and marked under his name. In 1893 H.H. Franklin Manufacturing Co. formed in Syracuse, New York by Herbert H. Franklin and Herbert G. Underwood (inventor) to produce die-castings. Mr. Franklin coined the term “die casting”.