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Ex-Harrah Auto Collection 1922 Kissel Model 6-45 Gold Bug Two-Passenger Speedster Chassis no. 1964 Engine no. 451964

Sold for US$165,000 inc. premium
Lot 345
Ex-Harrah Auto Collection
1922 Kissel Model 6-45 Gold Bug Two-Passenger Speedster
Chassis no. 1964
Engine no. 451964

Ex-Harrah Auto Collection
1922 Kissel Model 6-45 Gold Bug Two-Passenger Speedster
Chassis no. 1964
Engine no. 451964

338ci L-Head Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Single Updraft Carburetor
3-Speed Manual Transmission
Front and Rear Leaf Spring Suspension
2-Wheel mechanical brakes

*Formerly part of the famous Harrah Auto Collection
*Favored model among celebrities of the day
*The epitome of the "Roaring Twenties" motoring style
*One of the most celebrated designs of the 1920s
*Nice older restoration that has aged well

The Kissel Motorcar Company

Few cars from the 1920s are more memorable and enduring than the Kissel "Gold Bug". They embodied the spirit of the carefree "Roaring Twenties" better than just about any car. Their dynamic sporty looks and novel features, such as their dual golf bag mounts, made them an icon of the day. They were the favored transport of many celebrities of the era, including Amelia Earhart, Indy 500 winner Ralph DePalma and Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle.

The Kissel Motorcar Company was started by the German immigrant brothers George and Will Kissel in 1906. Based in Hartford, Wisconsin, the company initially called its motorcars "Kissel Kars". The anti-German sentiment around World War 1 saw the 'Kar' dropped from the name. The firm produced good quality, mid-priced cars exhibiting sound engineering, and they soon garnered a reputation for reliability and good performance. Their initial effort was quite an undertaking - a 4-cylinder 30hp car in 1907; shortly thereafter, in 1909, a 6-cylinder model was introduced, and the ambitious company even produced a V12 powered car in 1917. But it would be their L-head long-stroke six, introduced in 1915, that would prove to be their most venerable product, staying in production till 1928.

Kissel's most famous and enduring product, the "Gold Bug" Speedster, was actually the mastermind of one of the company's dealers. New York distributor Conover T. Silver commissioned the Speedster to his own design. The sporty Silver-designed Kissels even carried his name for a time. The "Gold Bug" designation came from a naming contest for the sports car organized by Kissel and was chosen from over 500 submissions.

The Kissel Speedster's sleek two-seat body with its sporty cycle fenders wrapped the proven Kissel drivetrain and chassis. The stout Kissel-built long-stroke six powered the machine. This reliable engine made over 60hp and offered strong torque, the result being snappy performance thanks to its lightweight two-place body. The engine runs through a three-speed transmission and is mated to a rear axle with sufficiently tall gearing for the daring high-speed motorist.

The Motorcar Offered

Formerly part of the Harrah's Auto Collection, this is a fine example of the definitive Kissel "Gold Bug". Wearing an older but high quality restoration that shows well today, it was sold in the mid-1980s at the Harrah collection dispersal auctions. It is finished in the characteristic yellow and black appropriate for a car that was not meant to blend in with the crowd. The engine compartment is quite tidy and good attention has been put into the authenticity of the restoration.
Recently demonstrated by a Bonhams specialist, the car was found to be easy to start and it ran smoothly. It cruised along the back roads at a comfortable turn of speed. The car displayed the precise handling and good road manners these models are known for.

Few early American cars attract more attention and turn more heads than a Kissel Gold Bug Speedster. With stunning looks, good road manners and the potential for many laurels on the show circuit, they represent great value as one of America's first true sports cars.

Saleroom notices

Please note that this vehicle is titled under its engine number and as a 1920

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