The Kissel Company was located in Hartford, Wisconsin and built high priced, luxury automobiles from 1907 until 1931. The company was started by a German immigrant family who made their fortunes in farming, and later by manufacturing farm supplies and building hardware. The most famous models built were the Goldbug Speedsters built during the 1920s and popular with celebrities. The Kissel Company introduced the eight-cylinder speedster in 1925 to compete with other models. Four passenger seating became available with the rear storage converted into a rumble seat.
1925 Kissel Speedster “Gold Bug”
The Model A Duesenberg is the result of nearly two decades of racecar building by the Duesenberg brothers Fred and Augie. After having built some of the most successful racecars from 1906 until 1920, the brothers decided to build a production vehicle in Indianapolis, Indiana, with the same high standards. The first of the Model A Duesenberg models was introduced in 1922 and discontinued in 1927. The Model A Duesenberg featured an eight cylinder engine with overhead camshaft and 260 cubic inch displacement. Engine output was rated at 88 horsepower and was capable of maintaining a speed of 85 miles per hour. The Duesenberg Model A was the first American production vehicle to feature four wheel hydraulic brakes as standard equipment.
Jewett was a sub-brand of the Paige-Detroit Motor Car Company, Harry M Jewett was the president of Paige-Detroit and this brand bore his name.
Sales of Jewett cars were brisk in the early 1920s, after its introduction for the 1922 model year they sold 9,498 units, in 1923 25,900 were produced. Sales peaked out in 1925 at 28,621 cars, after which sales tapered down to 4,000-5,000 by 1927.
The Mercer Company, financed by the famed Roebling family, is often attributed to be the first company in America to build a sports car. The company introduced the Raceabout in 1910 which could be used as a road car or a race car without any additional modifications. The car was coveted for its quality construction and exceptional handling.
Oakland automobiles were built in Pontiac, Michigan from 1907 until 1931. The company was founded by Edward M. Murphy who built horse drawn buggies and Alanson P. Brush who was formally involved with Cadillac. W.C. “Billy” Durant negotiated the purchase of the new company in 1909 and made it part of the General Motors empire. The 1914 Oakland is one of the first, lower priced, American production vehicles to have electric lighting as well as an electric starter, eliminating the need to use the difficult and sometimes dangerous hand crank.
In the catalog of great early American automobiles, the memorable Stutz “Bearcat” conjures up an image of speed, glamour and endurance. The Bearcat is very much a sports car and arguably the first American road car to earn the name. Harry C. Stutz designed a number of cars and in 1911 he founded The Ideal Motor Company in Indianapolis, Indiana. A true sports car can be defined as having the bare essentials for practicality.
Highwheeler vehicles of the early 1900s were designed to meet a very specific condition: Mud. Paved roads in 1912 were rare; most roads were existing dirt roads that were mud roads for much of the spring and fall months.
International Harvester Company’s light truck weighed only 2,155 lbs. and its 40-inch front wheels and 44-inch rear wheels meant there was a foot-and-a –half of ground clearance. It never was high-centered, even when it was churning through the mud.
The General Motors Company was founded in 1908 when William C. Durant combined the existing Buick, Cadillac and Oldsmobile companies. The Buick line was the most successful of the three and by 1910 was producing a variety of two and four cylinder vehicles with the famous “Valve In-Head” engines that were first developed in late 1904. This 1910 Model F Touring car has a two-cylinder, overhead valve engine that is mounted underneath the vehicle’s body-not under the hood as one would normally expect, coupled to a planetary transmission and a chain driven rear end.
The Carter Car Company was started by Byron Carter in 1905. Byron Carter was the most successful developer and builder of the friction drive transmission which differed from other vehicles of the period which used either a two-speed, planetary transmission or three-speed sliding gear transmission. The friction drive transmission used a large drive wheel which, when positioned perpendicular to the clutch, created a variety of speeds – not just the two or three seen in conventional transmissions. His company was purchased by Billy Durant in 1908 and became part of General Motors until the Carter brand was discontinued in 1915.
The Curved Dash Oldsmobile is credited as the first high-volume mass-produced automobile. The runabout could seat 2 passengers, and sold for $650.00, the lowest price point on the market. The flat-mounted water-cooled single-cylinder engine, situated at the center of the car, produced 4hp, relying on a brass gravity-feed carburetor. The transmission was a semi-automatic design with two forward speeds and one reverse. The low speed forward and reverse gear system are a planetary type (epicyclic). The car weighed 850 lb. and used Concord springs.