1910 ATLAS MODEL H 60HP TOURER
Chassis No. 1084H
Engine No. 11-39
Bordeaux with black buttoned leather interior
Engine: two cycle four cylinder, 60hp at 1,300rpm, 392.7ci.; Gearbox: three speed selective manual; Suspension: semi elliptic front with three quarter elliptic rear springs; Brakes: rear wheel handbrake with shaft drive mounted contracting foot brake. Right hand drive.
Harry A. Knox was a true pioneer in the automobile industry. In 1897 he established the Knox Automobile Company and by 1905, unsatisfied with the direction of the company, he sold out his interests to his associates. Knox then proceeded to found the Knox Motor Truck Company, who released their first behemoth, aptly named the Atlas, by the end of 1905. Shortly following the release of this new truck, Knox's former partners legally forbade him from ever using his name on a car again, as it was still under license by them, and as a result the name Atlas was adopted as the company name. By 1907 Harry Knox had cleverly managed to utilize the two cycle engine created by the Sunset Automobile Company of San Francisco, marketing them in his cars as the Perfected Two Cycle Engine. In 1909 an Atlas motor car, driven by Knox, was entered in the Vanderbilt Cup. It was the first entry of a two cycle car in such a race. The Atlas finished a respectable fifth and enjoyed a brief period of success until 1913 when the company was forced to shut its doors, as they were unable to find a new, more technologically advanced engine that would keep them competitive in the growing automobile industry.
During their heyday, Atlas advertising boasted that their engine was the simplest, most indestructible engine built. It was completely valveless and contained only five moving parts throughout. The idea was to remove all of the numerous items that were troublesome on most conventional cars, making the Atlas engine devoid of poppet valves, valve seals, cam shafts, adjustable bearings, springs and rocker arms. It was primarily because of the absence of these parts and the use of an offset crankshaft that Atlas felt their engine was indestructible. The Atlas car was, indeed, impressive and innovative for its time. However, with the almost daily regularity of new and exciting automobile innovations, the Atlas quickly became outdated and subsequently became more of a novelty.
The 1910 Model H Atlas was the most lavish car the company produced. It was fitted with the largest body available in either a five or seven person touring version. This Model H Atlas is believed to be the only one in existence today and was discovered by the specialists of the Harrah Auto Collection in 1964, while hidden away in the hands of Colorado collector, Mr. Ray Doherty. Amazingly, the unrestored car had remained in complete and undisturbed condition, retaining nearly every original component it was initially equipped with. After a final price was negotiated, the Atlas was sold into the Harrah Collection and treated to the most comprehensive level of restoration possible. It received the trademark 'Gold Star', meaning the car was restored both mechanically and cosmetically so it would perform and look as it had when it was new. In 1987, shortly after the car was sold out of the Harrah collection, William Lassiter added this historic automobile to his collection. If the reader is lucky enough to possess the Harrah's Automobile Collection Special Edition book printed in 1975, he could open to the page where the car is pictured fresh out of restoration. Today this restoration seems almost as indestructible as the Atlas' two cycle engine.
This Atlas is equipped with nickeled brass Gray and Davis headlamps, sidelamps and taillamp, as well as a Stewart speedometer that currently shows 150.3 miles. The black buttoned leather interior appears to be in good condition. The engine compartment and motor appear exceptionally clean and well maintained for a car that was restored over 25 years ago. The paint and nickeled brass are also in impressive condition. Overall, the Atlas has remained very presentable, undoubtedly as a result of its meticulous restoration and its thoughtful former owners. Mr. Lassiter's Atlas is the only one of its kind and would most certainly be an interesting and attractive showpiece within any collection. The 60hp Atlas would surely be welcome on the show circuit or as an entry into the many Horseless Carriage or Veteran Motor Car Club touring events.