The Kissel Motor Car Company was founded in 1906 by two ambitious young brothers, George and Will Kissel. After emigrating from Germany to Wisconsin, the Kissel family steadily expanded their farming operations to include groceries, hardware, lumber, and homebuilding. The family amassed considerable wealth, allowing Will and George to indulge in their ambitious plans to start an automobile company. Their 1905 prototype demonstrated their genuine commitment to the project.
The evocatively named Semi-Racer was one of Kissel’s first proper sports cars. It arrived on the scene in 1912. Dressed with appropriately skimpy bodywork to suit the name, the style was offered across the Kissel lineup—from the sprightly and nimble 30 horsepower Model 30 to the mighty, ground-pounding six-cylinder 60 horsepower Model 60. Defined by its two-seat body and speedster-style fuel tank, the Semi-Racer had just enough optional equipment to make it usable on the road, yet one could simply unbolt the mudguards and go racing. Offered for only from 1911 to 1913, the Semi-Racer sold in small numbers and is one of the most desirable of the early Kissel range.