<b>1899 Knox Model A 5HP Single-Cylinder Three-Wheel Runabout</b><br />Engine no. 16

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Lot 424
1899 Knox Model A 5HP Single-Cylinder Three-Wheel Runabout

Sold for US$ 201,600 inc. premium
1899 Knox Model A 5HP Single-Cylinder Three-Wheel Runabout
Engine no. 16

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

*Beautifully preserved, iconic early motor car
*Innovative air-cooled "porcupine" engine
*Recently serviced and run
*Now in its third century!
*Formerly part of Harrah's Collection


THE PORCUPINE KNOX

Harry Knox was encouraged by his neighbor J Frank Duryea to enter the automobile business. Both residents of Springfield Massachusetts a city known for its sophisticated manufacturing capabilities. Knox had experience with motorcars while working at the Overman Wheel Company where they produced several experimental autos. Contemporary accounts report Knox producing 16 three wheeled motor cars in 1899 before ramping up production to approximately 100 in 1900.

The elegant three wheelers are marvels of elegant engineering. Beautifully conceived and elegantly styled nothing about these motorcars appears primitive or experimental. The 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

Mr. Spain acquired the 1899 Knox offered here at auction in the 1990s. No doubt finding its novel design as well as its amazing originality captivating. Our research has found no existing Knox with a lower serial number, likely placing the car in the first batch of three-wheelers produced.

Close examination of the Knox reveals a mouth wateringly original, correct and intact machine. It sports its original Knox spray jet Carburetor/mixer, muffler, and most of its original paint. The Knox has seen some mechanical work in the past- most evident a rebuilt set of wheels. These rebuilt wheels wear a rare set of reproduction "Single-Tube" tires all in fine order.

A recent recommissioning by a Bonhams specialist brought the Knox to life with little trouble. Nothing more than a fresh battery, fuel, oil and a bit of tinkering was needed to get the machine going. Once running, it was driven for nearly half an hour and its performance and ease of use were fantastic. Most note-worthy is how smooth and quiet the engine is and how well the planetary drive system operates. The feather light and direct tiller steering make for a lovely package.

A stunning machine from the earliest days of American motoring, this is a joy to look at and drive. No doubt a wonderful car to consider for the London to Brighton Run but also an important and beautifully preserved addition to a Museum collection.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note, this vehicle is titled under the correct engine no. 14.
Contacts
<b>1899 Knox Model A 5HP Single-Cylinder Three-Wheel Runabout</b><br />Engine no. 16
<b>1899 Knox Model A 5HP Single-Cylinder Three-Wheel Runabout</b><br />Engine no. 16
<b>1899 Knox Model A 5HP Single-Cylinder Three-Wheel Runabout</b><br />Engine no. 16
<b>1899 Knox Model A 5HP Single-Cylinder Three-Wheel Runabout</b><br />Engine no. 16
<b>1899 Knox Model A 5HP Single-Cylinder Three-Wheel Runabout</b><br />Engine no. 16
<b>1899 Knox Model A 5HP Single-Cylinder Three-Wheel Runabout</b><br />Engine no. 16
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