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1911 KISSEL KAR MODEL D-11 50HP TOY TONNEAU Engine no. 6197

Sold for US$170,500 inc. premium
Lot 67
A rare survivor


Engine no. 6197

380ci L-Head Inline 4-Cylinder Engine
Single Stromberg Carburetor, 50bhp
4-Speed Manual Transmission with Overdrive
4-Wheel Leaf Spring Suspension
Rear Drum Brakes

*A rare survivor from a well-respected manufacturer
*Very attractive color scheme
*Beautiful restoration
*Former HCCA Gazette Cover Car
*Able to keep up with today's traffic


One of several businesses created in the early 1900s under the ownership of the entrepreneurial Kissel family of Hartford, Wisconsin was the Kissel Motor Car Company. The first Kissel Kar ("Kar" would be dropped after World War 1 because of its Germanic tone) was manufactured in 1905, a four-cylinder runabout with shaft drive. The Standard Catalog of American Cars notes that volume production began in 1906, with those models being offered for sale the following year. The earliest cars were bodied by a sleigh manufacturer, and were powered by Beaver engines, but soon the Kissels were making everything themselves.

By 1909, there were Kissel Kars available in several sizes and models priced from $1350 to $3000, and a six-cylinder model was soon introduced. For 1911, Kissel introduced an even more sporting touring car, with a double dropped chassis, and a variety of body types, now including a 'Semi-Racer' alongside other sporting touring cars, such as the 5 Passenger Touring, and the compact 'Toy Tonneau' as offered here.

Various sources differ on the wheelbases offered by Kissel; they reportedly range from 112 to as long as 132 inches, depending on the model. The D-11 is understood to have been built on a 124-inch wheelbase frame, and had a huge, 380 cubic inch engine, its cylinders cast in two pairs. Although Kissel built high-quality automobiles, it struggled through the late 1920s and filed for bankruptcy in 1930, its last efforts being large 6- and 8-cylinder vehicles for the 1931 model year.


This exceptionally well presented 'drop chassis' model D-11 comes to the market fresh from long term ownership during which it was comprehensively restored in the late 1990s. This work was carried out without regard for its cost and the ultimate finish of the car is very fine.

Resplendent in its vivid Red paint scheme, a popular guise for these cars, the sporting lines and form of its toy tonneau coachwork are heightened by darker red on the fender moldings and intricate gold striping across the body, chassis and springs. The Kissel Kar is well appointed with bold Rushmore brass headlamps, elegant sidelights and a bulb horn, a Prest-O-Lite acetylene generator sits on its running board. To provide some, but limited protection from the elements a full length top is fitted, which was also replaced during its restoration. Its upholstery has been beautiful refurbished in shining tufted leather.

Following completion of its restoration, the Kissel Kar has seen modest use and occasional showing, which caused it to be photographed for the cover of the Horseless Carriage Club Gazette in their January/February 2003 issue. Eligible for the events of that and other clubs specializing in Brass Era cars, this really is a great example of its breed.

Saleroom notices

Please note that this vehicle is titled under its engine number.

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