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1920 Kissel Model 45 Speedster

  • Chassis Number: 451964
  • Engine Number: 451964
On January 23rd of 1919, two Kissel custom-built body styles were exhibited at the Chicago Auto Show. Kissel called them 'Silver Specials,' named after Conover T. Silver, a New York distributor, and his team of stylists who created these masterpieces. The Tourster was presented in 'Silver Blue' and the Speedster in 'Chrome Yellow.' The speedster was affectionately named the 'Gold Bug.' With its high cowl and bending hood, the doors and rear of the body were lower, creating a streamlined look. The most notable feature was the way the top folded, with the main beam being made to jack-knife with the booted top nestled to the rounded body contour.

Making up 60-percent of Kissel's sales during its first year, the Silver Special were craved by all. The car attracted purchasers such as dignitaries in aviation, automobile racing and theatre. Among the purchasers were Amelia Earhart, Ralph DePalma and Al Jolson.
This 1920 Kissel Model 6-45 'Gold Bug' Speedster (a Model 6-45) was acquired in 1921 by Charles T. Bent of Rhode Island, who promptly used it to take his new wife on their honeymoon to Niagara Falls. The Speedster remained with the Bent family for 37 years - including being used by the couple's daughter, Beatrice, as her college automobile.

Antique dealer Ralph Murphy acquired the Kissel in 1958, then sold it to George Hall, who began a restoration completed by the next owner, Eugene E. Husting of Boston. Mr. Husting exhibited the car at several Veteran Motor Car Club of America gatherings, as well as in the club's museum at what is now the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, Massachusetts.

The Gold Bug then became part of the Harrah's Automobile Collection but was supplanted in 1964 by the earliest known example. Over the coming years, the car changed hands on several occasions, most prominently residing with Alfred Koller, in whose ownership received a body-off restoration by Penn-Dutch of York, Pennsylvania, and became an AACA Senior award-winner.

Since 2014, this Kissel has been part of the Academy of Art University Automobile Collection.

The car shows minor cracking in its paint at the rear of the body. The crushed leather seats are in fine condition. There are Halliday spring-loaded bumpers (a period accessory), and a folding 'trap seat' on the side of the body. This 1920 Kissel is titled as a Model Year 1922.

By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2023

2023 Broad Arrow : Monterey Jet Center

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $200,000-USD $300,000 
Sale Price :
USD $106,400

2014 Greenwich Concours D'Elegance Auction

Sale Price :
USD $165,000

2013 RM Auction - Hershey

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $160,000-USD $200,000 
High Bid (Lot was not sold)
USD $140,000

2012 Worldwide - The Auburn Auction

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $150,000-USD $175,000 
Lot was not sold

1920 Kissel Model 45 Auction Sales

Recent Sales of the Kissel Model 45

(Data based on Model Year 1920 sales)
1920 Kissel Model 6-45 'Gold Bug' Speedster
Chassis#: 1964
Sold for USD$106,400
  2023 Broad Arrow : Monterey Jet Center
1920 Kissel Model 45 image  1920 Kissel Model 45 image  
1922 Kissel Model 6-45 Gold Bug Two-Passenger Speedster
Chassis#: 1964
Sold for USD$165,000
  2014 Greenwich Concours D'Elegance Auction
1920 Kissel Model 45 image  1920 Kissel Model 45 image  
1920 Kissel Gold Bug Speedster
Sold for USD$162,000
  2011 Branson Collector Car Auction
 
1920 Kissel Model 45 Center-Door Tourister
Chassis#: 2399
Sold for USD$31,900
  2004 S. Ray Miller Collection
 
1920 Kissel Model 45 Speedster
Sold for USD$68,200
  2003 Vintage Motor Cars in Arizona
 

Kissel Model 45s That Failed To Sell At Auction

1920 Kissel Model 45's that have appeared at auction but did not sell.
VehicleChassisEventHigh BidEst. LowEst. High
1920 Kissel Model 6-45 Gold Bug Speedster4519642013 RM Auction Hershey$140,000$160,000$200,000
1920 Kissel Model 45 Gold Bug Speedster4519642012 Worldwide The Auburn Auction $150,000$175,000

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1920 Kissel Model 45

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1920 Kissel Model 45 Vehicle Profiles

1920 Kissel Model 45 vehicle information
Speedster
Chassis #: 451964
Engine #: 451964