Do you remember the TV series Mash?
Did you know those helicopters that flew in wounded soldiers were Bell 47s units….and the engines they used were Franklin engines?
The Franklin O-335 air-cooled aircraft engines were six-cylinder, horizontally-opposed displacing 335 cu in with a power output of around 225HP.
When the Franklin auto company went bankrupt in 1933, two of Franklin’s employees purchased the rights to the engine and continued to use the name Franklin. The engines were used in trucks and as stationary units, until WWll began and then went into production for use in over 15 U.S aircraft and helicopters.
Republic Aviation Inc. purchased the Franklin engine rights in 1945 and produced the Franklin engines for light amphibious aircraft. This company was short-lived with the war ending that year.
In 1947, the Tucker Car Corporation purchased the engine rights, where the 50 cars that Tucker produced, were powered by Franklin engines. The home of the Tucker Car Club is now at the AACA Museum in Hershey, PA. Tucker reworked the engine from air-cooled to water-cooled and many examples can be seen on the museum floor today.
In 1961, the Tucker family sold the engine rights to a company called Aero Industries and from there to the “Government of Poland” in 1975. The Polish engine manufacturer is today called “Franklin Aircraft Engines” and are manufactured in Grudziądz city in Poland.