1906 - 1910

American Simplex 

Information about American Simplex 

From 1906 to 1915, an American marvel on wheels, known as the American Simplex, graced the roads. Manufactured in Mishawaka, Indiana by the Simplex Motor Car Company, this automobile was described as “a motor-car symphony.” In 1910, the name was altered to Amplex to eschew confusion with another New York-based Simplex car, manufactured by the Simplex Automobile Company. This renaming also marked a period of reorganization for the company.

Initially, the vehicle came equipped with a two-stroke, four-cylinder 50hp engine. Later modifications saw an upsizing of this engine to 6.8 liters, but interestingly, the horsepower remained the same at 50 hp. In 1910, the range of models expanded to include three open-roof and two enclosed options. Price tags for these luxurious machines reached as high as $5,400, with the 30/50 hp Toy Tonneau, a long, four-door touring car, retailing at $4,300.

The uniqueness of the Amplex lay in its valveless motor, an engineering marvel claimed to offer continuous pulling power and enhanced reliability. It’s worth mentioning that 1910 models also introduced self-starting, a feature not found in major competitors like Cadillac for another year or two.

While these were undoubtedly luxurious vehicles, sporting grand designs and ample space, they were also expensive. One could purchase a limousine model for a staggering $5,600. Despite their opulence, the cars had a significant drawback: they continued to use the two-stroke engine even after the technology had become outdated. Although a four-stroke engine was introduced in 1913, it was not met with commercial success.

The end of the line for Amplex production came in 1916 when the manufacturing facilities were acquired by Gillette Motor Co. Even then, conventional engine-valving was avoided, as the new owners decided to persist with a rotary sleeve valve engine.

In summary, the American Simplex, later rebranded as Amplex, stood as a testament to American automotive ingenuity and luxury in the early 20th century. Boasting advanced features like valveless motors and self-starting capabilities before such features became industry standard, these cars were the epitome of luxury. Yet, they were held back by an attachment to outdated technology, such as the two-stroke engine. A fascinating journey of technological prowess mixed with a reluctance to adapt, the story of the American Simplex offers a rich tapestry that captures the essence of American automotive history.

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