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Acquisition
Oct. 16, 2008

Annie, 1914 Kissel
Annie, our 1914 KisselKar 40 "Four" Touring.

Lynn and Jeanne acquired this car through a dealer from the estate of Ann Klein. The car is largely unrestored and original, an exceptional vehicle in many ways. There are only two 1914 KisselKar 40 "Four" Touring cars known to survive by the Kissel Kar Klub.

Lynn has been looking for a "brass era" (pre-1916) car for some time. He was interested in getting a car that could seat more than two people as Bugsby, Penny and Moleka are all two passenger vehicles. Of course, Lynn is particularly interested in anything "Kissel," so obtaining Annie tickles Lynn's fancy in many ways.

Arrangements are being made to transport the car to Hartford, Wisconsin, for display in the Wisconsin Automotive Museum. Annie was manufactured by the Kissel Motor Car Company in Hartford in 1914, so this is a homecoming after 94 years for Annie.

Elizabeth Ann Fisher-Klein lived in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, and founded the Universal Vintage Tire Company to manufacture new replacement tires for antique vehicles. Ann had a collection of many, fine cars including several Bentleys. Some of these cars (including Annie) were offered at auction on Aug. 19, 2007, by Gooding and Company at Pebble Beach, California. The big news that night was the auction of Ann Klein's unrestored 1931 "blower" Bentley (only one remaining of three original boattail blower Bentleys) for $4.51 million, the top price of any car at the Pebble Beach auction weekend.

Ann's father purchased the car in the fall of 1949 for $500 from a young engineer working for the Wisconsin Engine Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The young engineer was John Edward Julian, newly graduated with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Marquette University's College of Engineering.

Lynn is still investigating ownership of the car prior to 1949. If you have any information, please contact Lynn at email address shown at the bottom of this page.

The following are some photos of Annie supplied by the dealer.

         
Annie, 1914 KisselKar Annie, 1914 KisselKar Annie, 1914 KisselKar Annie, 1914 KisselKar
Annie, 1914 KisselKar Annie, 1914 KisselKar Annie, 1914 KisselKar Annie, 1914 KisselKar
Annie, 1914 KisselKar Annie, 1914 KisselKar Annie, 1914 KisselKar Annie, 1914 KisselKar
Annie, 1914 KisselKar Annie, 1914 KisselKar Annie, 1914 KisselKar Annie, 1914 KisselKar
Annie, 1914 KisselKar Annie, 1914 KisselKar Annie, 1914 KisselKar Annie, 1914 KisselKar
Sales photos of Annie.
         

The following descriptive text was provided for this car at the Vintage Motor Cars of Hershey auction, held on Oct. 10, 2009.

32hp, four-cylinder engine, three-speed selective sliding manual transmission with reverse, solid front and rear axles with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 121"

Two brothers, George and Will, founded the Kissel Motor Car Company in Hartford, Wisconsin in 1906, as an offshoot of the family business, L. Kissel & Sons. Their first automobile was a roadster, powered by a four-cylinder engine with shaft drive. While early Kissel automobiles utilized engines built by Beaver and the bodies were secured from Zimmerman Brothers, a local sleigh-manufacturing firm, Kissel quickly gained the ability to build its cars entirely in-house.

W.A. McDuffee, a Chicago distributor, placed an order for 100 cars when the Kissels were just getting off the ground, providing the budding car company with enough money to survive. Kissel Kars, as they were originally known, featured advanced engineering that included a six-cylinder model in 1909, electric starting in 1913, and even a short-lived Double Six V12 in 1917. While it never aspired to mass-production like the giants, the Kissel Motor Car Company did increase its output to over 1,000 cars per year by 1915. These distinctive, well-engineered cars were highly regarded; strong and powerful machines with an excellent reputation. In fact, by the 1920s, Kissel Kars were the automotive choice of celebrities including Fatty Arbuckle, Al Jolson, and Amelia Earhart. Sadly, Kissel faded into oblivion in 1931, due to the effects of the Great Depression and the failure of an attempted merger with Ruxton.

The example offered here is the only 1914 Kissel Model 40 that is known to exist. In addition, it is one of only 22 pre-1916 Kissel Kars registered by the Horseless Carriage Club to remain in existence. Before being acquired by its current owner, the car was part of the respected Anne Klein collection, and before that, it boasted two-generation single family ownership from new. Today, the odometer registers approximately 6,900 miles, which are believed to be accurate. This Model 40 Touring is powered by a four-cylinder engine rated at 32 horsepower, and with the exception of a single older repaint, remains completely original, right down to the seat coverings.

Sympathetically maintained and preserved, the Kissel will be a popular and welcome participant on many tours and shows. In fact, its history and condition will make it a strong contender in the Preservation class at various events.

Addendum

Please note the serial number for this car is 15471.

It has come to our attention that there are in fact two examples of the 1914 Kissel Model 40 Touring known to exist, the other of which is on record at the Hartford Heritage Auto Museum. Please also note that this car actually has a four-speed transmission with reverse. It also has rear drum brakes with interior and exterior bands.

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Copyright © 2015 Lynn Kissel
Last updated: May 24, 2009