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Kissel Gold Bug at Boca Raton Concours


ron hausmann
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All,

This past Month on February 24-26, the Boca Raton Concours de' Elegance was held in sunny Florida. We shipped our 1923 Kissel Model 6-45 Gold Bug Speedster down there from Michigan, as we also have one of our daughters who lived there. Our Kissel took Best In Class in the "Vintage" grouping. See the attached pictures. It was a nice Concours, but weather was overcast.

Thanks,

Ron & Esther Hausmann

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Great car. A real challenge to get into or out of with the top up, especially the earlier examples which have only 1 door which is on the passenger side. You need to be a gymnast to enter or exit one of those with the top up. The Gold Bug isn't a car you drive. It's a car you wear!

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 6 months later...

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Stephen, I owned that Gold Bug, shown in the pic at a hillclimb at Helensville just north of Auckland. I sold it at auction here in NZ with the proviso that the buyer would (a) join the VCC of NZ and (B) not export it it. I went overseas shortly after and learned on my return that it was gone by ship to the U.S. of A. The new owner(who apparently had commissioned a chap specifically to raid it) was the then Ford dealer in Hartford Wisconsin which made me feel slightly better. The car had a long history in this country, having been imported new by a wealthy Maori family from Porangahau who had at least two more Kissels. There was an active Kissel agent in Gisborne. It then spent many years in Nelson and finally back in Gisborne from where I bought it from my good mate Mick Robinson (now deceased). She had major overheating and overoiling problems which I cured by taking down the radiator to find it had lots of solder blocking passages, apparently from new because the radiator repairer, the legendary George Mihaljevic, said the header tank had never been off before. The oiling up was cured by drilling drain holes in the tappet chamber which my spare engine had but not the one in the car. Then I fluked an almost new Warner gearbox out of a very low mileage Davis tourer which the owner had replaced with a 4 speed Humber Super Snipe box(!)

She was tuned to perfection and went like Hell, although I recall being passed by the right rear rim and BE tyre going downhill one time through excessive throttle application.

Edited by HaroldKidd (see edit history)
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Ron, I'm not precisely sure but I would guess April 1974. I thought it was a 1922 model but time has blurred that memory. The buyer was a most pleasant man who was then the Ford dealer in Hartford and was obviously a good man to have it but I was a bit upset at the manner of his getting his hands on her. If you can tell me who owns her now I can provide a lot of her early history in this country. There were quite a few Kissels imported here, plus many Kissel Kar trucks and fire engine chassis. I sold her because I had too many cars at the time. I bought a new quarter-ton yacht with the proceeds, had her painted bright yellow and called her "Gold Bug".

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Harold,

Your old 1923 Kissel Speedster is now in Idaho. I have the remains of one of the three 1923 Kissel 6-55 Phaetons which came into NZ at the same time as your speedster. It is a deluxe model with the Aluminium running boards. I imported it from Napier into Australia a couple of years ago. I have a few Kissels including two Gold Bug Speedsters. As far as I can work out there were 12 Kissel vehicles imported into Australia during the 1920's. Eight through Byrne Motors, Rockhampton and four through Sydney. Of the 12 vehicles imported 3 were Gold Bug Speedsters. The first speedster was a 1924 6-55, now in California and the other two, a 1927 6-55 Standard speedster (Wooden Wheels and spare at the rear) and a 1928 6-55 deluxe speedster (six wheel equipment) which are still here in Australia. The 1928 speedster is the youngest known 6-55 car and the only surviving 1928 6-55. The three Australian Kissels that I have are all factory right hand drive while the NZ car is left hand drive. If you send me a private message I can organize a copy of a small book I wrote for the "100 years of Kissel celebration" a few years ago to be sent to you. There are two photos of your old car in the book and a brief story.

Cheers

John L

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  • 2 years later...

Hi there, this is Lee Robinson. My dad Mick owned the 1923 Kissel mentioned in the post by Harold Kidd above. I'm very keen to know what has happened to the car that was once my Dad's pride and joy. Any info would be gratefully received. I have some original photos including the one in the above forum and also some old movie footage and other items of the car's history. Cheers Lee

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Lee,

There seems to be some question about the year of that specific car. Are you quite sure that it was a 1923 and not a 1924? We Kissel Owners have a proprietary list of all known Kissels and locations. There is a 1924 Kissel Gold Bug, identical to the racing picture posted above with full running boards, in Idaho. I know the car. There are other 1923's and 1924's around the US and Australia, but not many. Can you post some pictures. Knowing if the pictures show step plates or running boards, hood shape, etc, would help pin down the year and car.

Thanks, RON HAUSMANN P.E.

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Hi Ron,

Thanks for the prompt reply. It was always my understanding that it was a 1923 model but maybe it was a 1924 model. i have a engine plate which I believe is from the car but I will check when I get home. I'm sure the car had full running boards. I will try and upload some more photos and get back to you soon.

Best regards

Lee Robinson

Lee,

There seems to be some question about the year of that specific car. Are you quite sure that it was a 1923 and not a 1924? We Kissel Owners have a proprietary list of all known Kissels and locations. There is a 1924 Kissel Gold Bug, identical to the racing picture posted above with full running boards, in Idaho. I know the car. There are other 1923's and 1924's around the US and Australia, but not many. Can you post some pictures. Knowing if the pictures show step plates or running boards, hood shape, etc, would help pin down the year and car.

Thanks, RON HAUSMANN P.E.

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Harold . Sorry I did not acknowledge your reply to my inquiry at the time but I have only just seen it .I recall seeing you motoring the Kissel in Vintage car club events as well as your 1927 Nash Roadster .Your information is consistant with my recollections .One of my brothers has a photo he took of it somewhere.

Lee . I recall often seeing the Kissel parked at your parents place in Great North Rd Avondale when I was in my teens and lived nearby .Would be nice if you can upload some photos .

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All,

I put the current owner of the racing Kissel in the picture above, in touch with Mr. Kidd and Robinson who are on the thread. That Aukland car is now in Idaho. they apparently have a long history with that car, which will certainly be of interest to the current owner. This forum really helps to establish the legacy of older cars.

Ron Hausmann P.E.

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