Offered by RM Sotheby’s | Online | November 11-20, 2020
Kissel, who still badged their automobiles “Kissel Kars” in 1912 (and would do so through 1918), is most famous for their 1920s sports car, the Gold Bug Speedster. But for a decent amount of time before and after the Gold Bug, they produced a wide variety of other cars.
Kissel Kar’s “Thirty” was sold in 1912 and 1913. Power was from a 30-horsepower inline-four, though the engine’s rating would dip a bit for 1913. The Semi-Racer body style appears to be mostly marketing talk, as this looks like many other convertibles offered around the same time. It was one of four styles offered in 1912, and one of two that would make the jump to ’13.
The example presents fairly well, and the white tires are always a selling point. No pre-sale estimate is available, but you can read more about this car here. The rest of RM’s lineup is available here.
1910 Kissel Kar Model D-10 50HP 5-Passenger Touring
Offered by Bonhams | Carmel, California | August 15, 2014
Photo – Bonhams
Kissel is well known among automotive enthusiasts for their Roaring-20s Gold Bug Speedster sports car. But before that, they actually produced cars under the Kissel Kar marque (the “Kar” was dropped for 1919, the debut year for the Gold Bug).
Throughout its existence, Kissel was known for high-quality automobiles and this 1910 Model D-10 was no exception. Priced as the second-cheapest of four models offered that year, the D-10 features a 50 horsepower 8.7-liter straight-four.
This car uses the 5-Passenger Touring body and has been used regularly for years. So if you’re in the market for a rare, usable, and interesting old car, here you go. It is said that this car can cruise at highway speeds. Only a few hundred Kissels are known to exist, and this is likely one of the earlier models. It can be yours for between $60,000-$90,000. Click here for more info and here for more from Bonhams.
Offered by RM Auctions | Amelia Island, Florida | March 8, 2014
Photo – RM Auctions
Hartford, Wisconsin’s Kissel Motor Car Company built a variety of automobiles between 1906 and 1930, the most famous being the Gold Bug Speedster. In 1927, they introduced a four-seater version of the Gold Bug and called it the White Eagle.
Kissel’s were high quality, luxurious and sporty. I would liken them to Aston Martin today – not track-ready but quick, plush and stylish. The White Eagle was available with a few different engines and this one carries a 4.0-liter Lycoming straight-eight making 95 horsepower. The styling was updated for 1929 as Kissel tried to stay in business and fend off the Depression.
The Tourster body style is ultra sporty for a four-door convertible. Look at the long, pillar-less side – I bet this thing looks downright bitchin’ with the top down. This is the only known 1929 Tourster model known to exist and it was purchased new in Canada. The restoration is older than 1991 and has been freshened since. It’s a beautiful car and it should bring between $80,000-$120,000. Click here for more info and here for the rest of RM’s Amelia Island lineup.
Update: Sold (or stolen) $60,500.
Update: Sold, RM Sotheby’s Auburn Fall 2019, $49,500.
Tracing the evolution of sports cars is fairly easy until you get back to about 1945. Cars of the Post-War sports car craze are easy to distinguish from more mundane automobiles. Trying to trace it back before the war gets a little trickier. Sure, there were race cars and specials and cars you could drive to Le Mans, race, and drive home. But as far as the earlier cars go, you’re looking at Genesis (or one of a few that qualify for that title).
The Mercer Raceabout and the Stutz Bearcat are two of America’s first sports cars. The Kissel 6-45 Speedster, nicknamed “Gold Bug” (due to it’s signature color) is the third. The Kissel Motor Car Company was founded by Louis Kissel in Hartford, Wisconsin in 1906. They built high-quality cars, trucks, and emergency vehicles. After WWI ended, they saw a market niche they could fill for the exciting decade to come. So in 1919 they introduced the Gold Bug Speedster and it was far and away their most popular model.
The low-slung two seater – with two additional seats that extend out of the body over the running boards for the crazy and/or brave – is powered by a 61 horsepower six-cylinder engine. Performance is sporty – thus it being known as an early sports car. Kissel closed shop in 1930 after producing some 35,000 vehicles. Only about 150 are known to exist today. This one can be yours for $159,500. For more information and photos, click here.