10-11 October 2013

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Lot 155

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

  • Chassis no. 166515-I
  • Engine no. 114622

Sold for $49,500

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.

  • One of the best-known 1920s Franklins in existence
  • Formerly owned by Bill Harrah
  • Restored by Thomas Hubbard
  • An excellent example in all regards

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.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver


+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat


+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht


+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig


+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose


+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould


+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff


+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach


+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry


+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut


+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire


+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn


+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin


+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill


+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher


+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers


+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden


+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more