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Kissel Gold Bug Gathering !!


ron hausmann
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All,

This is a new thread to make sure that all of you old car enthusiasts are aware of the following once in history event which is happening September 11 and 12, 2010 at this year's Henry Ford Old Car Festival, which is held in Dearborn, Michigan. As many of you know, the Henry Ford Old Car Festival is one of the largest true antique car shows in the US, attracting 600 cars between the years of 1898 and 1932. It is a wonderful event!

At this year's Old Car Festival, a dozen of the world's surviving 38 Kissel Gold Bug Speedsters will be displayed right in the middle of this Festival. For a few years now, a few of us who have the priviledge of owning a Kissel Gold Bug have discussed getting a number of us from around the world together, and the idea has taken off!.

The Kissel Motor Company made high-end cars, trucks, and military vehicals in the rural Germanic city of Hartford, Wisconsin from 1908 to 1931. Never a big producer, they designed and built a very beautiful, sexy, rakish Speedster known as the Kissel "Gold Bug" from late 1919 to about 1928. These were primarily sold to rich and famous movie stars and producers in Hollywood, California in the Roaring '20's. Only 50 to 100 of these gorgeous, rougish vehicles were ever made each year, and only about 38 complete cars have survived from all years. Some of these Speedsters are now in Paris, Argentina, and 2 in Australia.

This year at the Henry Ford Old Car festival, we will have 11 or 12 of these beauties ! Nearly one from every year and model ! All in a row !

Don't miss this history. Never been done before, or at least not since the 1920's! Join us !

Ron Hausmann (313-510-8463)

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This is an FYI, several years ago, I found some original engineers manufacturing notes from the Kissel plant. These notes were in a buy of old car parts. I donated these to the Sloan Museum in Flint about 10-12 years ago. They may still be there.

Dan Marx

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  • 5 weeks later...

Dan, I will try to look those items up in Flint regarding the Kissel autos.

Anyone who appreciates these autos plan on attending the Old Car Festival September 11 and 12 in Dearborn, Michigan at the Greenfield Village. There are 10 of the Kissel Speedsters registered to attend! I will be bringing mine!

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Rusty,

While there is not alot of trustworthy data nor sales records that survive, it is believed and in many cases proven that Kissel Gold Bug Speedsters were sold out of the Los Angeles Kissel dealership to movie stars and other "important" people of that time. There are extant, many records of movie stars and other personalities (Amelia Erhart, Ralph DePalma, movie producer Hal Roach) having owned Gold Bugs. These were "status symbols in their world back then. Please enjoy the picture attached of "Charlie Chan" the movie star, in the suicide seat along with his movie producer Hal Roach in this period photo. A strong car to carry all these party folks!

Most of us Gold Bug owners enjoy that legacy, although those few of us who own these are certainly not movie stars.

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  • 2 weeks later...

All,

Well we did it in grand style !!! All ten Kissel GOLD BUG Speedsters showed up last weekend, September 11-12, at the Henry Ford Greenfield Village Old Car Festival in Dearborn Michigan, for this beautiful and historic event !! Thanks to the following proud owners who are now part of Kissel history;

1920 Kissel Model 6-45 Gold Bug Mark Hyman, St. Louis, Mo.

1921 Kissel Model 6-45 Gold Bug Peter Heller, Ohio

1923 Kissel Model 6-45 Gold Bug Ron Hausmann P.E., Bloomfield Hills, Mi.

1923 Kissel Model 6-55 Gold Bug Al Nippert, New York

1924 Kissel Model 6-55 Gold Bug Lynn Kissel, California

1925 Kissel Model 6-55 Gold Bug DeWayne Ashmead, Utah

1925 Kissel Model 8-75 Gold Bug Ted Stahl, St. Clair Shores, Mi.

1925 Kissel Model 8-75 Gold Bug John Quam, San Francisco, Ca.

1926 Kissel Model 8-75 Gold Bug Ken Mackinnon, Saginaw, Michigan

1927 Kissel Model 8-65 Gold Bug Mark Thomas, Birmingham, Michigan

These sleek, rakish Gold bugs were showcased right in the middle of this 620-antique-car event !! This was the largest gathering of Kissel Gold Bug speedsters since the 1920's, and was wonderful. See the pictures !!

Thanks, -- RON HAUSMANN P.E. --

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Until recently Tom Harrington of Paris, France owned 2 Gold Bugs, one of which we restored and showed, receiving a Hershey Senior Award in 1994 or so . One of the cars is the one now owned by Mark Hyman. Anyone know who now owns the second, Serial # 45-1964? This is the one on the cover of the "Kissel Museum" brochure. Would just like to keep track of it. We restored it for Alfred Koller of Bern, Switzerland. It then resided in the museum for about 10 years at which point Mr Harrington purchased it and transported it to France, toured a bit with it, then sold it. I think it is now back in the US. Interesting cars. Sure would like to see another shown at Hershey one of these days.

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Restorer 32;

Mr. Hyman still owns the other 1920 Kissel Gold Bug Speedster. He was talking with me a few months ago about shipping it from France to come to our Gathering of Gold Bugs but that didn't work out.

AAron65;

Kissel Speedsters were usually factory equipped with mechanical exhaust cuttouts. they operate from a lever in the floor which opens the pipe before it enters the muffler. You don't want to use them standing still since they "dump" right under the floor boards.

Thanks, -- RON --

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  • 2 months later...

This is a photograph at my local pub in Emu Park Queensland Australia & has caused plenty of debate until recently when I identified it as a Kissel, but any further details on this particular vechicle would add to my qudos.What was throwing us off for quite a while was the apparent size of the vehicle, but now we know the driver is not very tall. About the size of a golf bag I reccon.

Cheers

Doug Blair

Australia

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Edited by Blairy (see edit history)
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Doug Blair in Australia,

Looking close at the picture from your pub, reveals that the lights are "drum" not "pancake". So it is earlier than 1927 I believe. The crown on the fenders, the two-bar bumper, the tire sizes, and the golf club seat make me think it is a late 1923 Model 6-55 Gold Bug Speedster, up to a 1925. I think. The Radiator is also higher in the picture. Fenders, Tire sizes, and Radiator are more "modern" on 1926 and beyond. And I think the Model 8-75 Speedster would look a bit longer, as that had a longer wheelbase and normally had three-bar bumpers.

So there you have it!

Ron Hausmann

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Just a quick comment on the photo from the Pine Hotel in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Emu Park</st1:City>, <st1:State w:st="on">Queensland</st1:State> <st1:country-region w:st="on">Australia</st1:country-region></st1:place>. I took several photos of this photograph some years ago however it wasn’t very successful due to the reflection from the glass.

The 1924 Kissel in this picture is the speedster currently owned by Lynn Kissel and was present at the 2010 Kissel swarm in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Detroit</st1:place></st1:City>. Before being sold to a local Rockhampton businessman it was used to promote Kissels and Byrne Motors in and around Rockhampton. The person in the drivers seat is Col Kime (parts manager at Byrne Motors).

This car was the first Kissel sold by Byrne Motors in Rockhampton and is one of only a handful of factory built right hand drive cars. Byrne Motors sold eight Kissel vehicles including two speedsters. Four Kissels were also sold through a <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:City w:st="on">Sydney</st1:City></st1:place> agent including one speedster. The second of the speedsters sold by Byrne is a 1927 Model 6-55 Standard speedster and the Speedster sold in <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Sydney</st1:place></st1:City> is a 1928 Model 6-55 Deluxe Speedster. The <st1:City w:st="on"><st1:place w:st="on">Sydney</st1:place></st1:City> speedster is probably the last Gold Bug produced by Kissel.

Cheers

John Lewis

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I am not sure what I did to add all the extra bits. I will try again so it can be read.

Just a quick comment on the photo from the Pine Hotel in Emu Park, Queensland Australia. I took several photos of this photograph some years ago however it wasn’t very successful due to the reflection from the glass.

The 1924 Kissel in this picture is Car# 55-4323 currently owned by Lynn Kissel and was present at the 2010 Kissel swarm in Detroit. Before being sold to a local businessman it was used to promote Kissels and Byrne Motors in and around Rockhampton. The person in the drivers seat is Col Kime (parts manager at Byrne Motors).

This car was the first Kissel sold by Byrne Motors in Rockhampton and is one of only a handful of factory built right hand drive cars. Byrne Motors sold eight Kissel vehicles including two speedsters. Four Kissels were also sold through a Sydney agent including one speedster. The second of the speedsters sold by Byrne is a 1927 Model 6-55 Standard speedster and the Speedster sold in Sydney is a 1928 Model 6-55 Deluxe Speedster. The Sydney speedster is probably the last Gold Bug produced by Kissel. I am fortunate enough to own both these Cars as well as some other Kissels

Cheers

John Lewis

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Have fun! I've always admired the Gold Bug, since I first saw a photo of Amelia Earhart's unrestored one in an early Floyd Clymer book in the 1960's.

That very car is in the Forney Transportation museum in Denver. They have several Kissels there. Couldn't be nicer folks!!

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Edited by Amphicar BUYER (see edit history)
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Amelia drove her Gold Bug cross country with her Mother as a pasenger which arguably was a greater feat than many of the air records she set. You don't drive a Gold Bug, you WEAR it. Very comfortable once you are in the seat but almost impossible to get behind the wheel of an early Bug with the top up. They have only one door and it's on the WRONG side. Two trunk lids but only one door.

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