- Written by webmin
Here are a few tips for getting into a pre-war car on the cheap:
First, go for the mid- to late Twenties. Many collectors eschew these transitional years. Baroque Teens styling is long gone, and the Thirties fancy has yet to take flight. But the cars, not yet afflicted with Depression-era cost cutting, are often much finer than those that came later.
Second, seek out a less-popular marque. I like the ones that, while not a Chevy or Ford, still have a strong club scene. Since you won’t have much in the way of reproduction parts, vigorous support from other owners and experts is vital.
Last, buy a sedan. Open cars are cool, but with a few exceptions, always cost more than enclosed cars. The fun part about that is that the sedans were the high-priced cars then, and will often have more elaborate fittings and accessories than the touring cars. And while they’ll be less comfortable in midsummer, the driving season extends right up until snow falls.
Ticking all three boxes was a 1929 Franklin at Carlisle a couple of weeks ago. It was described as “unrestored and untouched,” although I’m always highly skeptical of that claim without personally examining the car. From the photos, while the paint looked old, it didn’t look 80 years old. As far as I can tell, this was a base Series 130 – there don’t appear to be any scallops for sidemounts on either side. What look like added fender lamps probably are not, as those are a distinctive Franklin touch. Driving lamps similar to the ones here were another feature I’ve seen on late Twenties Franklins – eight lamps up front is certainly impressive, although, again, I have no idea about their provenance.
The 46hp six, if this was indeed the Series 130, looked clean and fresh, and Carlisle described it as “great driving.” Covers (sheets?) over the seats said don’t bother looking there.
So the outcome of all this was a sale at $10,000 even. Ten grand. And here’s the cherry: It’s a Full Classic. The 10 grand range is where it starts to get hard to find interesting cars at all, let alone an aircooled Full Classic. So go off the beaten path – away from Scottsdale (although the new Motoexotica sale will yield some gems), and away from Confederates and Deuces. Travel the road less traveled, and you’ll find you can do it in style.