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Hershey | Lot 219

1929 Kissel Model 8-95 White Eagle Speedster

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$90,000 - $110,000 USD | Not Sold

United States | Hershey, Pennsylvania

11 October 2013


Engine No.
95-1258
  • Offered from 35 years of private ownership
  • One of the greatest American cars of the Jazz Age
  • The only 8-95 White Eagle Speedster in existence
  • CCCA Full Classic

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, while only about 150 survive today.

In many ways, 1929 represents Kissel’s golden year. Sales had begun to slag, and the Great Depression would soon finish off the company’s auto-making 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. Leading the lineup was the speedster, the updated variant of the “Gold Bug” design that had been Kissel’s most famous offering. Seating two adults snugly in a torpedo-shaped body, complete with “semi-boattail” rear, the car was so sporty that it came with tie-downs for its owner’s golf bags on the fenders.

Of the 681 Kissels built in 1929, the car shown here is the only 8-95 White Eagle Speedster that survives today. It remains an irreplaceable artifact of its time and place. As the sole surviving White Eagle, it is offered from 35 years of caring private ownership, during which it has been displayed at the owner’s climate-controlled museum and occasionally driven and enjoyed. Showing the modest road wear earned in that enjoyment, it is offered with its original top bows and is presented in a classic cream and green typical of this model, with green leather upholstery.

Importantly, this model has been afforded Classic Car Club of America Full Classic status, and as the lone remaining example of its type, this particular car is virtually guaranteed to be the only one just like it at any Grand Classic or CARavan. It is sporty, powerful, luxurious, and brawnily all-American—everything that the Kissel name stood for, to those “in the know,” in the 1920s.

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