Monday, July 7, 2014

New Acquisitions: Franklin and Kelsey

by Nancy DeWitt
© Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum

We recently added two interesting automobiles to our Brass Era collection: a 1905 Franklin (right) and a ca. 1911 Kelsey. We now have 88 vehicles in the collection, not counting our antique bicycles.
The Franklin is outfitted with a rear-entry tonneau and is known as a cross-engine Franklin (as compared to our 1907 barrel hood Franklin and the later Renault hood, shovel-nose hood, horse-collar hood, and other styles of Franklin). It carries a 12 HP, 4-cylinder engine that is air-cooled. This Franklin has been parked in storage in Washington state since 1990 and will need some work to get it running again. It will arrive in Fairbanks this week.

This Kelsey Motorette is the first three-wheeled car in our collection. It was sold to us as a 1908 model, but  Kelseys weren't introduced until late 1910 so we'll have to do some research to determine its production year. Only about 200 Kelsey Motorettes were produced, but it's more than just a rare and unusual car. The story of Cadwallader Washburn Kelsey and his automobiles is a colorful one (culminating with the "Skycar" helicopter in the '60s), and I look forward to researching it and condensing it onto a sign for the museum.

This Kelsey was powered by a 2-stroke, 2-cylinder water-cooled engine (the first models were air cooled). The engine drove the single rear wheel, with steering controlled by a tiller. Despite their tendency to tip over on corners, we look forward to getting the Kelsey running again. It needs a lot of mechanical work and freshening, so we have sent it to Murray Motor Car in Monroe, Washington to be evaluated.

Coming to Fairbanks to see the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum and other area attractions? Support the museum by staying right here at Wedgewood Resort. All guests receive half-price admission to the museum!

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