NEW YORK, New York — Tucked away in a corner of the Javits Center and away from the spotlight hogged by the 2017 New York auto show’s myriad of new debuts sits a handful of classic cars from the Saratoga Automobile Museum. The exhibit celebrates New York state’s automotive (it once had a thriving industry) and motorsports history and as such, all of the cars on display were either built in the Empire State or raced on one of its many circuits.
1923 Franklin Series 10B Sedan
The H.H. Franklin Manufacturing Company was formed in Syracuse, New York in 1893. Built using a wood frame and made with extensive use of aluminum, the Series 10B was powered by a 25-hp 3.3-liter six-cylinder engine and weighs only 2,740 lbs. This car is one of only 61 examples known to still be in existence.
1947 Playboy Prototype
Designed to be the “ideal second car,” this prototype was built in 1947 in Buffalo, New York and features a rear-drive configuration. A folding steel top was fitted during pilot production runs in 1948, but the unconventional design was not well received and the company filed for bankruptcy in 1949.
1957 Continental Mark II
One of the last hand-crafted American cars, the Continental Mark II was powered by a 6.0-liter V-8 mated to a three-speed automatic and cost as much as a contemporary Rolls-Royce. Despite the price, Ford lost money on each car and the model was discontinued after a production run of just under 3,000 vehicles. This particular car will be sold at auction in September at the Saratoga Auto Auction.
A one-off creation by New Yorker Nicola Soprano, the Sensuale is powered by a 1960s 4.4-liter Ferrari V-12 mated to a five-speed transaxle. The body and interior are both fabricated out of hand-formed aluminum and the car features a removable roof panel. It rolls on 17-inch aluminum wire wheels and is said to boast 50/50 weight distribution.
1909 Alco-6 Racer “Black Beast”
Alco, aka the American Locomotive Company, was a steam locomotive manufacturer that decided to enter the then-nascent automotive business in 1906. The Alco-6 Black Beast was one of the entries into the inaugural Indy 500. It competed in a total of 16 races, winning six of them, including consecutive Vanderbilt Cup victories in 1909 and 1910.
Powering the 3,306-pound Beast is an 11.2-liter six-cylinder engine that was modified to make 100 hp versus the stock 60. In part to fit the massive engine, the car rides on a 134-inch wheelbase.
It is said to be one of 13 extant Alcos in the world and the only remaining Alco racer out of the four that were made.
Hespell Offy Midget Racer
The history provided for this car was not entirely complete, but what we do know is that it was purchased in 1954 by one Harry Hespell, the car won several ARDC Midget Racing Championships. Hespell sold it back to its previous owner, Ken Hickey, in 1962, who would sell it again after entering it in only one race to Mike Sheehan. Sheehan campaigned the car, which never finished worse than 5th, through the mid-70s.
1950 Allard J2
Built by Briton Sydney Allard, the J2 features weight-saving cycle fenders and weighs just 2,006 pounds. Owned and driven by Alfred Goldschmidt, an OSS veteran, the car finished second in the 1950 Seneca Cup at Watkins Glen and third in the 1951 Watkins Glen Grand Prix.
2009 Miller Lite Dodge #2
It may not be a classic, but when Roger Penske decides to donate you a race car, you’re probably going to accept it. That was the case with this car, which Penske donated to the Saratoga museum. Driven in the NASCAR Cup series by Kurt Busch, the Miller Lite Dodge was converted into a cutaway for the museum by Brian Ross of Ballston Spa.