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1923 Kissel Gold Bug Barn Find


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I was very fortunate to have seen in person one of Ron's beautifully restored cars at the Willistead Classic Car Show here in Windsor, Ontario back in 2008.

Stunning, just Stunning!

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His stable of these fine cars is the true definition of a COLLECTOR!

 

Thanks Ron for your preservation efforts.

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Is there some type of advertising on the tire cover? I've always thought that was a neat 1920's feature. Is there more than one shade of yellow through the years? I think I saw one with a darker shade at Pebble Beach. Bob 

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137hd45 -

    There are old hand painted canvas tire covers on the spare tires. Painted with a vague landscape (?) scene. Weird.

    As to color, yes the colors on several extant Gold Bugs does vary. Mine was restored by William Ruger, who used a pale yellow as shown above. Lynn Missel restored his Hold Bug with a brighter more robust yellow after a lot of research into underlying paint coatings. His belief was that the deeper yellow is more authentic. No “original” yellow bugs have survived to define this question.

    In my opinion, pale yellow as on my car looks better with the tan top, while bold yellow looks better with black tops.

    Here are two examples of mine and Val Quants Kissel book yellow.

    Thanks, Ron 

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Bob - in my understanding, and per some of the old reference manuals, Kissel used several standard colors or you could order your Kissel direct in ANY color. Some of the old manuals describe Kissel colors as “optional”. So I’ve followed the practice that any color goes as long as it is period correct.

    Some of their more standard colors were Holland Blue, red, green, and of course yellow. Most but not all fenders were black.

     ron 

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Ron H, As an aside, you may want to correct a couple typos where you mention Lynn Kissel and his "brighter more robust yellow"?

I had the good fortune a few years ago to follow Lynn Kissel and his Goldbug for the better part of a day on a Horseless Carriage club tour. He had "cheated" and drove his "modern" Kissel because basically the day before the tour was to start, his 1914 Kissel broke the water pump (if I recall correctly) and it would require a few weeks to make the repair. I really don't think anybody really minded the substitution, even though the regional group was generally strictly pre-16. I know that I didn't mind trading lead and follow several times over more than fifty miles! He did have the earlier Kissel back on the road soon after. It was a fun tour. And Lynn is good people.

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I do not believe Kissel ever actually referred to their speedsters as "Gold Bugs". This was a name suggested, I believe by an owner of one that happened to be yellow.  We restored and showed a '27 Brougham as well as the Carini Gold Bug,  which he modified from original so  "it would be easier to sell".  Apparently Amelia Earhart referred to her Gold Bug as "The yellow peril".

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All -
   i agree with all of the statements above in Restorer32’s post. The term “Gold  Bug” was a Milwaukee Journal newspaper name from the time that stuck!

    When they were introduced in 1919, the non-custom Kissel speedsters were factory painted all yellow - frames, axles, fenders, insides of framing, etc. after awhile many folks found that maintaining a yellow undercarriage was hard, they switched to black chassis, but all yellow Speedsters are correct.

     There is a 1922 Kissel Model 6-45 Gold Bug Speedster undergoing a painstakingly beautiful restoration in New Hampshire right now which has this all yellow color scheme. His car is utilizing the bold yellow shade. Stay tuned.

     Ron Hausmann P.E.

 

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The one we did was all yellow until Carini decided to paint the fenders black and eliminate the portholes from the top. We finished the restoration in 1996. It sat in the Kissel museum in Wisconsin until 2010 or so when it was sold. We retrieved it and got it running again and shipped it to its new owner in France. The new owner drove it across France in a 600 mile reliability tour. He declared it "reliable but not very comfortable to drive". He then sold it to Hyman Classic cars who traded it to Carini for another car. I have no idea where it is now.

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It sold I believe at Bonhams around 2015.  Looks to have been driven a bit as you explain Restorer.  I have sime nice close ups of that one but not on this phone.

 

Curious if anyone has details on light green example, it was a show stopper.  I wonder if that was a standard color?

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This is one of the better threads on the Forum thank you to everyone who has contributed, fun reading the history and ownership of the cars. The only Kissel I ever worked on was a 1913 Touring, think it is still with the same family. Bob 

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We also did a complete restoration of a '27 Kissel Brougham.  Showed it at Hershey maybe 12 years ago. Was nominated for a National Award.  It too was sold at auction and I have no idea where it is now. Thanks to Ron's collecting and restoring,  Kissels have come out of obscurity and into the light. Quality built cars and just enough "different" to be interesting.

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1937hd45 -

     His name was Andrew Kissel. He was an overall rascal. White collar crook. His brother was murdered by his wife in Hong Kong. He was Murdered by his Valet. To my knowledge he owned one Kissel - my 1923 Kissel Gold Bug Soeedster.

    Some backstory - Andrew Kissel bought the Ruger Gold Bug, my car, at auction when Ruger Sr. Passed. When the law was closing in on Andrew Kissel, the feds seized his assets including the Kissel car. That car sat in a warehouse for two years until the feds sold it at auction without any fanfare. It had deteriorated and didn’t run. Andrew Kissel never cared for it. I believe I was the only guy at that auction who knew that cars provenance and I was lucky enough to get it.

       I keep the Andrew Kissel registration n the car to brag.

       Ron Hausmann P.E.

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Am I correct in assuming the Ruger in question was the owner of Ruger Firearms here in Connecticut? Saw his reproduction/clone Bentleys at the New Your auto show, still have a sales flyer. Thought is was a good looking car. Bob 

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Thanks alsancle, 

   The pictured car is misidentified as a 1924 Kissel - it’s actually a 1922 or 1923 Model 6-45 Kissel. The top hood vent identifies it as such. I believe this actual car survives and is being restored in New Hampshire right now!

ron hausmann  

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