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Amelia Island | Lot 186

1929 Kissel Model 8-95 White Eagle Tourster

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$60,500 USD | Sold

United States | Amelia Island, Florida

8 March 2014


Chassis No.
1504
  • Long-term ownership by Kissel enthusiasts
  • The only known remaining 1929 Tourster
  • A four-passenger version of the famous “Gold Bug”
  • CCCA Full Classic
  • Regularly serviced and well maintained

95 bhp, 246.5 cu. in. Lycoming L-head inline eight-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission, semi-elliptic leaf-spring suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 125 in.

Of the 1,000 marques that came and went in American motoring during the 20th century, the vast majority have been forgotten by all but a few. It is both a shame and a surprise that the Kissel is among those ranks, as in its heyday in the early 1920s, it was the pride of Hartford, Wisconsin, and was more than just a good car. It was considered one of America’s finest, with its sporty speedster models achieving as much popularity with celebrities of the time as Ferraris and Porsches do today. Kissel built some 35,000 cars in its time, and now only about 150 survive.

In many ways, 1929 represents Kissel’s golden year. Sales had begun to lag, and the Great Depression would soon finish off the company’s automaking efforts. Nonetheless, the firm presented its largest, most powerful, and most impressive model series yet, the so-called White Eagle. The White Eagle was distinguished by a new flat radiator shell and more modern styling, as well as by a choice of Lycoming eight-cylinder engines.

One of the most desirable body styles was the four-passenger tourster. It was a longtime Kissel offering that is considered by many to be second only to the famous “Gold Bug” Speedster in its sporty flair. The car offered here is believed to be the only 1929 Tourster known to survive. It is believed to have been driven new in Canada. Afterwards, it was acquired from the original owner by Ed MacLaren, and then it passed to Ed Gibbs, a known Kissel enthusiast whose collection included multiple examples. While in Mr. Gibbs’s collection, the Tourster was fully restored to original condition.

The late Joe Koller acquired the Kissel in 1991, paying the astonishing sum (then and now) of $200,000 in order to acquire “the one and only.” Needless to say, Koller greatly loved and appreciated his unique Kissel. After his acquisition, it underwent a minor cosmetic freshening, which included the installation of the custom wood trunk and a full detailing. During his two decades of ownership, the car was fully serviced annually by the well-known facility of F40 Restorations, but it was seldom ever driven. Instead, it was treasured as a showpiece by Mr. Koller, and it is offered here from his estate.

This Tourster is accompanied by an original owner’s manual and White Eagle catalogue, as well as by receipts for its most recent servicing, and it is one of the finest Kissels to have been offered in recent years. To those who appreciate this wonderful Wisconsin machine, it marks an opportunity to acquire the rarest of the rare, for the first time since it was last sold over 20 years ago.

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