1925 Kissel Speedster

The Kissel family of Hartford, Wisconsin built some of the best cars in America from 1906-1930. Engineered by Herman Palmer with bodies designed by J. Friedrich Werner, Kissel lent a bright yellow speedster to the Milwaukee Journal's auto editor in 1919 for a 4,978 mile tour of Wisconsin. He challenged readers to give it a name and "Gold Bug" won, also winning a place in America's automobile history. In 1925, the year this beautiful 8-75 Speedster was built, Kissel introduced a 287 cubic inch 8-cylinder model. It used a Lycoming block with aluminum cylinder head and oil pan cast in Kissel's own foundry. Kissel also incorporated four-wheel Lockheed hydraulic brakes, one of the first in America to adopt them in 1924. Built to high standards, handsome, sporty and with excellent performance, it sparked an encore in Kissel's success. This handsome 1925 Kissel 80-75 "Gold Bug" Speedster remarkably has a known history from new, documented in a 1983 letter to its most recent private owner by Kissel historian Gene Husting, author of the definitive Kissel history in Automobile Quarterly in 1971. It was in its first owner's hands until 1948. Other owners included Joe Murchio, a fight promoter who "owned a piece" of Jack Dempsey and Josiah K. Lilly III, scion of the pharmaceutical family who featured it in his Heritage Plantation collection in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Finished in yellow with black fenders, black leather upholstery with a black cloth top and top boot, it is exceptionally well equipped including a rumble seat, Ryanlite headlights, cowl lights attractively faired into the cowl, huge wooden steering wheel, varnished wood spoke wheels with trim rings and black wall tires and a set of cast aluminum brackets on the rear fender which carry a period golf bag with clubs. The rounded Kissel radiator shell is topped by a handsome winged radiator cap with Kissel Motometer. A rear-mounted spare and chrome front and rear bumpers complete the Gold Bug's ensemble. One of America's great sports cars, on a par with Mercer and Stutz, the 8-cylinder Kissel Speedster is extremely rare. It was restored some years ago by Josiah Lilly III and has been lovingly maintained subsequently, acquiring a handsome and pleasing patina. It comes with a copy of its owner's manual and is sure to be an important addition to any collection as well as an attractive, fast and good-handling car for tours and events.

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