1998 - 29th WESTREK in Tombstone, AZ
September 1, 1998
The following report was given to Tombstones "Tumbleweed" news paper.
Reported by: Carl Barker - April 23, 1998
Vintage Franklins Visit Cochise County
You've probably seen those beautiful old automobiles cruising around town. Over 25 (27 plus 18 in the Franklin Museum - total of 45 Franklins) antique Franklin cars are here in Tombstone for the 29th Westrek of The H. H. Franklin Club. The club was founded in 1951 and today has just under 1000 members worldwide. This week the Franklins and 130 (157) people are participating in activities centered in Tombstone, AZ., with daily tours to such places as Bisbee, Benson and Tucson.
The Franklin automobile was built in Syracuse, New York, from 1902 to 1934. It was an expensive, quality car which was always powered by a unique air-cooled engine. Total production of the company was only 156,000 vehicles, thus making it a relatively rare collectible automobile today.
The oldest Franklin in the group this week is a 1910 model G touring car brought here from California. The newest Franklin is a 1934 club sedan owned by the H. H. Franklin Foundation of Tucson, Arizona.
The Foundation Museum, located at 3420 N. Vine St. in Tucson, has 16 Franklins on display. The museum is open to the public from September 15 to Memorial Day. Interested parties should call (520) 326.8038 for seasonal hours.
In the group of Franklins here this week are representative models from 13 different production years. The greatest number are from the late 1920's and early 1930's. There are 12 different body styles, including some convertible coupes with rumble seats and some unique four door convertible sedans.
While most of the participants are from the western and central states, there are people in attendance from a total of 20 states. The east coast is well represented by members from eight states. In fact, Mr. Anthony (Tony) Adams, Editor of the Air Cooled News, drove his Franklin from Connecticut 3,255 miles to Tombstone for this event.
The Westrek lasts until Friday. You can see these wonderful cars on the streets or parked at the various motels and B&Bs around town. While the cars will be "on the road" during the daytime hours, they will be returning to Tombstone each evening. Feel free to talk with the owners about their vehicles. You will find that most antique car owners are very proud of their automobiles and love to share information about the hobby. There is one rule that is universal - "Look and enjoy, but don't touch!"
Our ACN Editor, Tony Adams drove his 1931 Franklin from CT to Tombstone, AZ
below are some of the e-mails he sent to the WebMaster on his return trip
April 28, 1998
So-Here I am in Iowa City, visiting my friend as planned, but on the way:
1. The starter's Bendix drive broke in New Mexico, requiring two hand-cranked morning starts to get this far.
2. The right rear wheel's Lock Ring cracked making a mounting of a spare necessary, but at least it could be done in the motel parking lot at Emporia, instead of on some Interstate in the rain.
3. A mile after gassing up in Iowa City, the speedometer cable broke, after hundreds of miles of horrendous screeching, leaving me with no way except dead reckoning to figure out subsequent gas stops.
Replacements are on the way, so forward progress should resume by Thursday or Friday Got any Lock rings available?
There's a chance that more details might appear in the next ACN. Stay tuned.
P.S. Engine is wonderful have suspicion, subject to real analysis of figures that extravagance of using Mobil 1 in crankcase has resulted in some what lower oil consumption.
May 3, 1998
Now it's all over and I'm home again, Jiggety-jig.
The rest of the story, in case you didn't :
1. Stopped in Tularosa, NM in a food market's parking lot-on restarting the Bendix spring broke. A guy volunteered to try the hand crank and It started, Thank Goodness. So Paul sent me a complete starter to Iowa City where I was visiting a friend and except for the speedometer cable breaking in Iowa City and a wheel lock ring cracking somewhere before Emporia, Kansas the rest of the trip was uneventful. Except at Paul's where he dumped the collected oil out of the distributor cap, regapped the points, which had been new at the trips start, and believe it or not, that engine is running better now than it did at the beginning of the trip. To add to your list when you get home: Do you have a wheel lock ring for me? Speedometer Cable?
Here is a little of what the Trekkers saw in Tombstone.
Welcome to Tombstone:
The Town Too Tough To Die!
Come experience life in the 1880's! The town of Tombstone is a thriving little community in southern Arizona that has a unique and infamous history. This mining boom town is rich in history and still retains the mystique of the Old West. If you love the stories and legends of cowboys, gunslingers, gamblers, "shady ladies", miners, and lawmen, then the following pages are for you!
The first picture is of the Club's President and Vice President in 1880, we all knew they were OLD but the picture above found in a Tombstone shop shows them in Tombstone many years ago, we think 1898. The picture really is (left to right) Susan Roberts (VP HHFC) Dan Rollyson (President HHFC)
Eric Hasslen on the white sands with Mr. Overdeck's 1932 163 Club Sedan. The picture was taken at White Sands National Monument, White Sands, New Mexico on the way to Tombstone, AZ for the 29th Westrek
"Now take a swing around the bar and visit a few of our patrons."
Frank and Garnet Hantak - We think they are part of the OLD west...
The week was filled with tours to the Town of Bisbee, Franklin Foundation and Gammon's Gulch ghost town. Tuesday found the Westrekkers looking over the Huachucas mountains peaks (10,000 feet), still covered with snow. Over Mule pass and down into the town of Bisbee. Bisbee is one of the old world Arizona mining towns about 100 mile southwest of Tucson. In the 1900's the population was just over 20,000 with one of the worlds richest minerals sites, producing nearly three million ounces of gold. Plus eight billion pounds of copper, not to mention the silver, lead and zinc.
The Franklins parked downtown in a reserved lot allowing all Franklins to be seen from the street. The Franklin crew toured The Queen Mine and just walked the old streets in downtown Bisbee. The return to Tombstone found cowboys and cowgirls cooking up the steaks and chicken for the nights cookout. After everyone received a cowboy hat, bandanna and ate dinner, the show began at Helldorado Stage. The cowboys and girls that served us now became the actors showing all the Franklin members what life was like in Tombstone in the 1880's.
This was the longest tour day with 97.5 miles one way to Tucson and the H. H. Franklin Foundation Museum. At the Museum we looked over Tom Hubbard's wonderful Franklin's that the Foundation has so careful maintained for the passed 5 years. Some Westekkers also had the opportunity to view Tom's home, a classic southwest adobe building.
After lunch at the Mountainveiw Restaurant, (another great meal) some members toured the antiques shops in Tucson and stopped at Elegant Junque Shop. We were all back in Tombstone for the swap meet which held parts many Franklin owners were looking for. Also for sales was both club and foundation items, a long with parts books and paintings of Franklins and "Vanished Roadside America" paintings. Light refreshments were served, about 7 P.M. the group headed for the O.K. Cafe for a nice dinner of buffalo, ostrich and emu burgers.
We found ourselves in the desert and ranch country about 38 miles from Tombstone on our way to a ghost town called Gammon's Gulch. The ghost town has been in many movies like. After lunch in Gammon's Gulch the tour was back to Benson for antiques shopping and a stop at Benson's town Museum.
Back to Tombstone for the first Franklin Club Board Meeting in Arizona. The Board meeting was held in the 1881 Courthouse where many of Tombstone's bad guys found their life had come to an end. The Banquet was held at Big Nose Kat's Saloon, which the club took over completely. After dinner the longest distanced awards were given. The one that stands out in everyones mind was Tony Adams, our ACN Editor, who drove his 1931 Franklin 3255 miles to the Westrek. Tony also said it only took 6 days to complete the 3255 trip. Bourke Runton passed the gavel to Ron Topley for the 30th Westrek.
This was an open day, but most Westrekkers found there way to the Titan Missile Museum, Pima Air and Space Museum, Franklin Museum or the Biosphere 2 Center. Some were even seen at Tucson Mall Friday afternoon.