Louis Kissel and his sons, George and William formed the Kissel Motor Company of Hartford, Wisconsin in 1906. Their vehicles were custom-designed, hand-built of varying kinds that included fire trucks, hearses, taxicabs, automobiles, and utility vehicles. The company produced vehicles for many years before going into receivership in 1930 after building about 35,000 automobiles. Only about 150 Kissel automobiles are known to exist today.
The Speedster was their most popular and best-known Kissel model and was given the nickname 'Gold Bug.' They were built from 1918 to 1931. Early Speedsters featured outboard seats that pulled out from the body in front of the rear fenders. Later models replaced the seats with fittings to strap golf bags in that position. Beginning in 1925 a ruble seat could be ordered as well as six- and eight-cylinder engines.
The Kissel Speedsters were popular with Hollywood celebrities including Fatty Arbuckle, Douglas Fairbanks, Greta Garbo, Mary Pickford and Ruby Vallee.
In 1925, Amelia Earhart drove her Kissel Speedster from Boston to San Francisco with her mother.
This particular example was restored by the owner from a car that had sustained fire damage in the 1970s. The restoration was completed in 2009.