ron hausmann

1923 Kissel Gold Bug Barn Find

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Hey John,

Good to hear from you in Australia. When are you going to be stateside again?

If you know, what is the difference besides name, in Buffalo #5 wheels and Houk #5 wheels. Also, never heard of a B5 Buffalo. Educate us whenever you have a chance please. Also, this car is missing the steering column, with the triangular mounting bracket used on them. I have a spare column and steering gear, but not the control tubes within the shaft, nor the mounting bracket pieces, which would be nickel. Do you know where one might find one? Do you know what other cars may have used this settup?

Take Care, RON HAUSMANN P.E.

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On 11/3/2014 at 7:42 AM, ron hausmann said:

All,

Thought that I would post a few pictures of a 1923 Kissel Model 6-45 Gold Bug Speedster which I have "found" and will purchase and restore. I say "found" loosely, because this car has been known about by the 150 or so of us Kissel owners, but it has been sitting in a shed since, no kidding, 1954 when it was purchased by the then current owner. After years of discussion, he is selling it to me with the promise that I will restore this car to its former glory. I will. It is one of now 4 complete 1923 Kissel Model 6-45 Gold Bug Speedsters. It's the real-deal, with suicide seats, big Kissel 6-45 engine, Buffalo Number 5 wheels, and beautiful undented body parts. I already own the Ruger 6-45 Gold Bug, pictured, and there is one at the Fourney Museum in Denver (Amelia Erhart's) and one in Virginia (?) that won National AACA award last year.

This new find has the correct "porthole" top. I have a spare 6-45 engine and any other parts necessary, as I purchased a 6-45 Speedster parts car which had burnt several years ago. Thos parts will now come in ver handy.

I need to finish my 1918 Kissel Model 6-38 Sedanette restoration to get on with this beauty!

Thanks,

Ron Hausmann P.E.

 

 

Ron,

 

Any updates on this?  Has it been pushed to the back while you work on finishing your other projects?

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Al - this Gold Bug restoration was pushed back. However, I was VERY fortunate a couple weeks ago to locate a previously unlisted Kissel 6-45 parts car in California. I bought it and now I have a complete correct Kissel 6-45 engine AND complete, un-cut chassis for the unrestored Gold Bug . Kissel 6-45 frames are longer and 6-45 engines are bigger, and the 6-45’s have the rare suicide seats. In my opinion, these are the best of the Kissel made sixes.
     Below are pictures of the Gold Bug with its incorrect front axle and cut frame, and also the just acquired Kissel 6-45 parts car. Between the two, I now have 100.000% of the parts to do a perfect restoration of this Kissel Model 6-45 Gold Bug Speedster. I’ll do that after I finish my current restoration, the 1918 Kissel Model 6-38 Army Truck. It’s discussed under the Restorations forum. 
thanks, Ron Hausmann P.E.

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Great thread, first time I have noticed it, always enjoy topics on very specialized cars most of us will never see, let alone own. Too bad it typically takes 10-20 years to complete one!

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Hi Ron, I am curious on how the frame on the unrestored Gold Bug was cut ?  Perhaps not good enough for a concours restoration like you specialise in but still salvageable ?  I know it's not your point of view but roughish "preserved"  cars are of significant interest to many. Just look at the case of the " Chasing Classic Cars " Stutz Bearcat.

I think many people can relate more to a cleaned up ; made drivable,  example of very desirable vintage cars than 98 point restorations.  The condition you found the Gold bug in is also part of its history. You have almost enough parts for two cars, someone should have that in mind rather than one really nice car plus an even bigger stack of

Kissel parts on your already overflowing shelving.  Have you noticed the pre war parts supply thread. In the long run many loose parts collection end up getting scrapped. 

 

Greg in Canada

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Thanks Greg,

     At some point before the Gold Bug was parked in its shed in 1956, (where I found it a few years ago) some idiot had split the front frame crossmember and welded a different front bar onto the frame, and widened the front of the frame, in order to put a V8 in it. And they disassembled the body. They put a bigger Cadillac front axle on with buffalo #6 front wheels on it. You can see this in the pictures. They never finished their Frankenstein.
    Although they saved the correct front axle and hubs, the frame was butchered. You could not use it to make a drive around car. 
      As to the touring parts car, it has no wood. I do have an earlier Kissel 6-45 frame which is not suitable for a Gold Bug, and spare 6-45 engine block and parts so it could be restored with a hell of a lot of work. But it actually is a “Standard Touring” body style, which was Kissels cheapest one.

      I may just leave the rest of the Kissel Touring parts for a future decision. But using the frame and engine to complete a 100% complete iconic Kissel Gold Bug is for certain.

      Thanks, Ron 

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Too bad they were so ham fisted with the engine conversion. I agree that getting that sorted out has to be number 1.

 

Greg

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I would certainly agree that this is not a preservation quality car. While it may be a "part of the car's history"? For so many cars, so is the crusher. There simply is not enough of this car still in decent original shape to judge the car as a true survivor.  While I have always been in favor of preserving nice originals, and have long been disappointed by people restoring cars that SHOULD have been preserved and NOT restored, I have also always believed that once some faint line has been crossed, a car should be restored. It would require so much work to make this car appear to be a survivor that it in reality would not be one.

Something I rarely actually say, because I really do not want to offend certain people? (Hopefully they won't see this here?) But I have never really been impressed by fake put-together "original" or "survivor" cars.

(There is one exception. A friend that has restored several wonderful cars over the years, as he is getting older, found that he really enjoys taking the piles of parts he has and taking pieces that are bad enough that nobody would consider using them for a good restoration to put together a driver car that looks rusty. He truly enjoys doing it, and he is very open and honest about what the finished rust bucket is and is not! And enjoying it is what it is all about, a good thing.)

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I would have to see Ron's car in person before I reached any definite conclusion. It's quite possibly the only Gold Bug left that is not either a pile of parts , semi complete , basket case or a fully restored car.  Are you familiar with the chasing classic cars Stutz ? If it was any better than Ron's car I have a feeling it wasn't by much.

Not all survivors need to be 40,000 original mile , original paint, near mint, garage kept since day 1 cars.

I know there is many different  ways to live this hobby.  But nothing in Ron's pictures jumps out at me as too far gone to preserve.

If a person want's a restored Gold Bug there is probably a restored example for sale every 10 years or so. Ron's car might be the only one left that could conceivably be a preservation car.  Once it is restored it is { no disrespect Ron, I am in awe of your restoration of the 1918 Sedanette.  A car that absolutely needed restoration if it was to survive at all } " just " another restored Gold Bug. At select events it  will could  be in a line up with 4 , 5 or even 6 other restored Gold Bug's.

 

Just my opinion; Canadian, so  that is not even 2 cent's worth these days.

 

Greg

 

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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Ron, really interesting find. I love your work, and am looking forward to the restoration on you new Kissel .

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Ron, is there a list of survivors by year.......cars, trucks, ect?

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Ed - the Kissel Klub has a Kissel registry of every known Kissel car. This listing is not public but is accessible to all Kissel owners and their associates. It’s pretty complete but every so often another Kissel that’s unknown will show up. The two Kissels in this post string, for example, were previously not known to the registry.

Ron

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Ron do you own the Gold Bug that was owned and restored by Leonard Jarvis was reportedly owned by Fatty Arbuckle? It was a super nice looking car.

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Mike - no, the fatty arbuckle car isn’t mine. I believe it’s now east coast owned. Mine was the one owned by William Ruger of Ruger firearms and was prior an exhibit in Les Zimmermans Autorama in Harrisburg.

ron

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I have seen only 2 Gold Bugs in the flesh, both at the Greenwich concours.  One was at the auction, I believe it was a Carini car, yellow, nice enough but this one below was in #1 shape.  Very sporty and powerful looking cars.

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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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If there are no original yellow Gold Bugs, and the factory delivered one in Green was it still a Gold Big? 

 

Bob 

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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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Green would look nice, the former A.K. Miller Stutz  now restored and in the Jay Leno Garage. Bob 

OIP.jpg

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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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