Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Featured Marque

This year's Rollin' on the River car show featured the Corvette. A nice collection of Vettes lined the river and for the next couple of days I'm going to post some of the ones that were on display.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Rollin' On the River

Each year the banks of the Ohio River are filled with hundreds of classic cars as the Annual Rollin' On the River Car Show settles in. This year, unlike a couple of past years, the weather was beautiful and that brought out a massive number of amazing cars. For the next couple of weeks I'll be posting the pictures I didn't get a chance to earlier in the summer.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Innovation From Upstate New York

It was something most people had never heard of, had never considered could work. In the earliest days of the 20th century the vast majority of people knew that a gasoline powered engine had to be cooled with water. But Herbert H. Franklin and engineer John Wilkinson teamed up to develop an air-cooled engine in 1901. By the following year the H.H. Franklin Manufacturing Co. had produced their first Franklin automobile.

This new design, though highly efficient, was met with both skepticism and even a law suit alleging that the engine was originally designed while Franklin and Wilkinson worked for another company. But the pair persisted and even proceeded to make some very lengthy trips for that time to prove the reliability of their unique design. One of the first such "endurance runs" chalked up 134 miles in a single day; an unheard of distance to travel.

Not only did Franklin cars prove themselves in these distance runs, but both Franklin and Wilkinson quickly realized the importance and value that could come from racing their machines. Beginning in 1902, Franklins scored well in races throughout the country. In fact, in 1929 a Franklin beat New York Central's 20th Century passenger train on a run from New York City to Chicago.

What followed were a vast number of innovations that put the Franklin smack dab in the middle of many discussions on automobile advancements. With this growing reputation as a quality luxury car came growing sales. By 1921 the upstate New York company supported 3200 employees working in 18 buildings.

Following World War I, where Franklin worked with Packard to develop a V-12 aircraft engine, the firm teamed with Ford in an attempt to lower prices for consumers. While Franklin had always been a luxury brand, they now started lowering their prices and building smaller cars for more people. This caused manufacturing to be ramped up to meet demand.

By the time the 1925 Model 11A shown here was made, Franklin was at the top of their popularity. Soon, though, various factors began to erode the company's market share. Profits began falling as early as 1927. As the Great Depression hit, Franklin was operating in the red. By 1931 they were showing a $1 million loss.

Lower prices helped to increase sales but in order to maintain their high level of quality the Syracuse based firm saw its profit margin shrink to next to nothing. In addition, growing competition from the surviving luxury car companies all out for the attention of the discerning buyer helped drive Franklin deeper into the red. When Cadillac and then Packard rolled out V12 engines, Franklin felt they had to keep pace. The results were mechanically successful but financially disastrous.

When you consider that in 1929 the company rolled 14,000 cars off of their assembly lines but by 1933 only 1330 units were manufactured. It wasn't long before the banks moved in and took over the operations. In 1934 the company was shuttered, leaving behind a history of innovation.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Last From the Paddock

Here are the last of the pictures I took from the Keeneland Concourse d'Elegance "paddock" area. As I posted already, I had heard there were around 500 cars there and with so many I didn't snap pics of them all. Still, I think I've shown you all a pretty representation of the cars that were there.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Acres of Cars

Keeneland itself has over 140 acres of beautiful rolling hills covered in Kentucky bluegrass. The "paddock" area of the Keeneland Concourse d'Elegance seemed to take up about half of that. Not really but I heard someone saying that there were around 500 cars parked there. Here are a few more.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

More From the Paddock

The "paddock" area around the Keeneland Concourse d'Elegance was filled with hundreds of great classic and collectable cars. If I would have taken pictures of every one I might still be there snapping away. There were so many cars and so many different eras and marques represented that a person could have spent all their time wandering around the paddock and left pretty satisfied.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Another Week in the Paddock

By allowing clubs and individuals with classic and collectable cars to park in their "paddock" area, the Keeneland Concourse d'Elegance not only gives the crowds more to admire but they also raise more money for their charities. This week I'll be posting more of the cars that were parked in this tree lined area just outside the main Concourse displays.