<b>c.1899 Knox Model A 5HP Single-Cylinder Three-Wheel Runabout</b><br />Engine no. 28

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Lot 258
c.1899 Knox Model A 5HP Single-Cylinder Three-Wheel Runabout

Sold for US$ 106,400 inc. premium

Property from the Collection of Don C. Boulton

c.1899 Knox Model A 5HP Single-Cylinder Three-Wheel Runabout
Engine no. 28

95.4ci Single-Cylinder Engine
5bhp
2-Speed Planetary Transmission
Single Fully-Elliptical Front and Fully-Elliptical Rear Springs
Rear-Wheel Drum Brakes

*Offered from the Don C. Boulton Collection
*Part of the collection since the early 1970s
*Charming older restoration with jaunty surrey top
*Innovative air-cooled "porcupine" engine


THE PORCUPINE KNOX

In an era when the earliest American automobiles typically all looked like carriages that had lost their horses, the Springfield, Massachusetts-built Knox was something entirely different: a tiller-steered three-wheeler, with a light sulky-like body that brought to mind Ben Hur. Even its propulsion was of a unique design; the single-cylinder engine was air-cooled by means of steel pins, screwed into the sides of the cylinder walls. This expanded the cooling surface of the engine and allowed it to be cooled simply by the air flowing over it. Thus the Knox was one of the earliest air-cooled American cars. It became popularly known as the "Porcupine." The three-wheeled design lasted only through 1901, but air-cooling remained a Knox feature well into the decade.

The early Knox autos are considered a design achievement and produced in surprisingly large numbers for a gasoline powered car in this era. Benefitting from some excellent engineering the Knox was reliable and easy to operate. An ingenious tapered cam shaft adjusts the intake valve and thus serves as the vehicles throttle. A small Knox designed spray jet carburetor feeds the long intake manifold. A total loss, coil ignition was powered by a dry cell and made starting the Knox a simple affair. On the road the cars are praised for their smooth transmission and light, precise tiller steering. The large single cylinder motor provides healthy power for these light weight machines.

THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

Don C. Boulton acquired this 1899 Knox offered here from longtime collector and automobile enthusiast Wayne McKinley of O'Fallon, Illinois, who had exhibited it at his museum. The exact date of the acquisition is not documented but it is believed to have been acquired in the early 1970s.

This is a wonderful relic of the early days of automobile collecting, appearing to have last been restored in the 1950s in its red bodywork with cream trim, red striping, and cream chassis and suspension. Typical of the work that was being performed at the time, the car was finished only as-necessary and many of its components may be original, including the leather seat back and the step plates cast with KNOX.

The wooden bodywork is beautifully detailed, with delicate spindles visible on the outside and carved "wicker" panels on the flanks. An accessory surrey top, popular in the period, is supported by irons of an ornate and fascinating design. The road ahead is lit by a Dietz "cyclops" headlamp and Gray & Davis cowl lamps, while the Knox rides on very early-style canvas-wrap tires in the rear and a replacement pneumatic tire on the front wheel.

Offered with a reprinted copy of a Knox manual, this fabulous little machine deserves to be recommissioned, preserved, and used as-is – a fascinating, adorable mechanical curiosity, now in its third century of existence. Because of its simplicity, reliability and early date, with some preparation this Knox would make a wonderful car for the London to Brighton run.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note, contrary to our printed catalog, the estimate on this Knox is $100,000 - 120,000. Additionally note, this vehicle is titled under chassis no. 28KNOX
Contacts
<b>c.1899 Knox Model A 5HP Single-Cylinder Three-Wheel Runabout</b><br />Engine no. 28
<b>c.1899 Knox Model A 5HP Single-Cylinder Three-Wheel Runabout</b><br />Engine no. 28
<b>c.1899 Knox Model A 5HP Single-Cylinder Three-Wheel Runabout</b><br />Engine no. 28
<b>c.1899 Knox Model A 5HP Single-Cylinder Three-Wheel Runabout</b><br />Engine no. 28
<b>c.1899 Knox Model A 5HP Single-Cylinder Three-Wheel Runabout</b><br />Engine no. 28
<b>c.1899 Knox Model A 5HP Single-Cylinder Three-Wheel Runabout</b><br />Engine no. 28
<b>c.1899 Knox Model A 5HP Single-Cylinder Three-Wheel Runabout</b><br />Engine no. 28
<b>c.1899 Knox Model A 5HP Single-Cylinder Three-Wheel Runabout</b><br />Engine no. 28
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, number VI/1087220/1