Wednesday, September 22

1920 Kissel Motorcar

HISTORY: The Kissel Motor Car Company of Hartford, Wisconsin was founded in 1905 and by 1920 had established a reputation for making very high quality cars. To quote Kissel’s advertising from 1920: “The Kissel designing and construction policy interprets custom built as a fact – not a theory; a practice – not a phrase. In every detail of equipment – under-the-surface, as well as on-the-surface – the most care is taken, not only to make each car complete, but of the custom-built quality and exclusiveness demanded by, and expected of, Kissel Tradition.” The most famous Kissel model was the “Gold Bug Speedster”, a very sporty two seater in the tradition of the Stutz Bearcat and Mercer Raceabout. Gold Bugs were famously owned by such personalities as Clara Bow, Fatty Arbuckle, and Amelia Earheart. This Center Door Tourster is built on the same Model 45 chassis as the Gold Bug Speedster, but is much rarer today, with only a small handful of survivors known. The unique body style is similar to a cloverleaf or “chummy” roadster, but is characterized by extremely long doors that allow access to front or back seats with the front bucket seats sliding fore and aft on metal rails. Adding to the uniqueness is the fact that the passenger side door is hinged at the front, and the drivers’ side at the rear! The elegant close coupled body design is one favored by astute collectors as it retains the sporty flair of the two seat speedsters but allows comfortable touring for four.
THIS CAR: This particular car was for many years part of the famous S. Ray Miller collection in Elkhart, Indiana, with records indicating Mr. Miller acquired it from one Ronald Knepper. After the Miller collection was sold in 2004 this Kissel received an extensive high quality restoration including new paint, plating, top, carpet, and beautiful leather upholstery, and is now ready for shows or touring as the new owner may wish.
CONDITION: The car is in extremely fine condition with stunning yellow paint, gleaming bightwork, excellent black canvas top, and rich leather upholstery. Mechanically the car is excellent - the powerful 61hp 284 cubic inch six cylinder engine always starts right up and the car runs and drives beautifully. All lights (check out the unusual bullet headlights, a Kissel trademark) and gauges are in excellent working condition. Overall the car is breathtaking to look at and a pleasure to drive.

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