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1917 Kissel Model 6-38 US Army Truck - Light Troop Carrier


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As of today, June 24, 2020 -

1. Rear fenders have been shaped, stretched, and mounted. Some minor repairs to be done, but they fit. This s rare because Kissel fenders were mandrel-made and then best matched at the factory. Then they were stretched on with. Inch effort. Also, I had two good right rear fenders so I had to turn a right into a left by removing the interior mud guard. You now can’t tell.

2. Almost all compartment doors and hardware have been made and mounted. 
3. Steering column mounts have been installed. The long column weight and torque will be distributed on the cowl and top floorboard.
4. Seat design and dimensions relative to the steering column and pedal locations, has been done. The “fit” for the driver will be tight but quite comfortable! I might shorten the steering column shafts by 3”-4” to ,Abe it perfect but this might not be worth the three or four days effort. 
5. All driver compartment Floorboards and instrument panel box have been finished. See pictures. Because we have a flat one board cowl, it needed a hollow behind the instrument panel to house the speedometer body, wiring, etc.

6. Now will load up engine block and parts and take to St. Claire Engine, my Kissels engine rebuilder. 
7. Now will work on fitment of Front fenders. Once that is done, I can reliably measure the floorboard sizes.

8. Also located a replica French 75 cannon In rural France. This World War One Truck could function as a tow vehicle for Light field artillery And I’m debating adding a heavy hitch to do just that. And figuring out how much to pay for a fake cannon in France.

9. Now will start first coat painting and sanding of body. I have to be careful not to do too good a job since these trucks were brush-painted by drafted soldiers in Europe in most cases. And using field mixed paints of varying quality.

Here are pictures of a few more contemporary vehicles like mine.

Ron Hausmann P.E.

 

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Ron, this is really coming along nicely.  My only concern is the  fenders.  They seem awfully high compared to the period photos you’ve posted.  The rear wheel also looks to be too far forward in relation to the fender.  Not nitpicking as I do not have the talent or fabrication skills to take on a project like this.  Do you expect the truck to settle down once the motor and drivetrain are installed?

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Very nice build, Sir. Those new springs will have to settle six inches to fill the wheel arches, though. Have you thrown a few bags of cement in her yet, to see how it sits? I don't wish to offend, but at the moment the gap between wheel and guard is a little too large, to my eye. I reckon it's in the springs, as the hangers look to be horizontal. As the weight goes on, the hangers may need a tweak with a lever to head them in the right direction. But looking at your other builds, I'm sure you're on top of this, anyway, so I'm probably teaching my Grandmother to suck eggs. Apologies.

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14 hours ago, Bush Mechanic said:

Very nice build, Sir. Those new springs will have to settle six inches to fill the wheel arches, though. Have you thrown a few bags of cement in her yet, to see how it sits? I don't wish to offend, but at the moment the gap between wheel and guard is a little too large, to my eye. I reckon it's in the springs, as the hangers look to be horizontal. As the weight goes on, the hangers may need a tweak with a lever to head them in the right direction. But looking at your other builds, I'm sure you're on top of this, anyway, so I'm probably teaching my Grandmother to suck eggs. Apologies.


bush - no offense .yes he rear fenders are too high. I will slice off the front 4-6” of both of them to bring the tops down. He rear ends of these fenders can’t be brought down because that would ruin proportions and interfere with grease fittings. They are correct fenders but the rear springs are higher, more sprung than a car. The tire in relation to the f3nder is correc5 for a 1918 fender. See 1918 Sedanlett3 picture.

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  • 2 weeks later...

All -

   As of July 6, much detail work has been accomplished and body is nearing completion.

1. Both rear fenders have been cut down In the fronts to make up for the taller truck spring height. This has eliminated much of the open area above the tires and now they look like they should, not so high. Still need to make pe4manent mounts on sides of truck.

2. New under-seat gas tank has been pe4manently mounted and prepped. This is correct location for this style WW1 truck. Gas piping has been fabricated but won’t be installed until engine is in.
3. Front drivers seating covers have been finished. See pictures. There will be a small walkway in between the separate front seat springs To allow acces# from front to cargo hold.

4. First Aid cabinet above the front passenger shoulder has been completed and hardware applied.

5. Faux rivets At the rear step gate have been fashioned to disguise The modern Phillips screw mounts.

 

    This week, fenders and misc. parts go to sandblaster and engine parts go to Engine rebuilder

    Sanding and painting body wil now start in earnest

    Ron Hausmann P.E.

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11 hours ago, Mike "Hubbie" Stearns said:

Ron, I know the Phillips head screws weren’t around in 1917. You made the rivet covers to hide them. The question I have is would they have used rivets or straight blade screws? Thanks Mike 


hey mike - they probably would have used straight screw bolts, but it’s easier to fill in Phillips crosses than to try to halffill them to look like old screws. I’m lazy.😎

thanks, Ron 

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I think they might have used carriage bolts. They were commonly used for purposes like that and I'm sure there are others here who have struggled getting them out when old and rusty.

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Had to post a picture of the truck that I took today with my beautiful wife Esther. She’s taking much more interest in this truck than any of my other cars, including the Kissel Gold Bug. Go figure!

Ron Hausmann 

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As of July 14, 2020,

a. Running boards have been cut, covered, trimmed with aluminum, and fitted to truck and fenders. If you have never fitted these types, it’s quite a challenge warping everything to work.

b. Rear fender mounting lips, 1” wide and covered with aluminum, have been created. These will make the out-to-out rear fender width the exact same as the fronts. That way the running boards remain exactly squared.

c. Rear fender interior metal tub skirts have been cut, painted, and mounted (green in pictures). Kissels did not have exposed wood on any fender interiors.

d. Rear fenders have been trimmed and lowered to accommodate higher truck springs. Now they have the same clearances as a 1918 Kissel car.

e. Bought paint. Am using rustoleum camouflage “1917 kaki”. If they say it’s 1917 camp color, I’ll take their word for it.

thanks. 
ron hausmann

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John,

     I bought my Running board covering and aluminum trim at Restoration Supply. They have a good selection. 
     The running boards themselves are oak plywood, painted black, and with a very good adhesive to bind the vinyl to the board. Without a good adhesive, the vinyl can bubble up  sitting in the sun over the years.

     Thanks, Ron 

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  • 2 weeks later...

All - 

   As of July 31, 2020, we have completed the front flooring trim, the rear flooring fitting, painting and sanding of body, and started applying the insignia. I used “1917 kaki” camouflage by rustoleum As paint color. Looks good! Work coming up;

a. Mounting steering column ( I had a machinist reduce it by 5” due to truck configuration)

b. Mounting seating and walkway

c. Painting and mounting rear fenders

d. Painting and mounting front fenders

e. Installing instruments and associated wiring.

f. Mounting hood and hood hardware.

G. Mounting military tail light 

   I procured “regulation” 4” height stencils for lettering. Not happy with quality of letters, but that mediocre quality is corrEtc for a truck.

   Thanks, Ron 

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1 minute ago, Terry Harper said:

Looks great! Are you planning to take it to any re-enactments?

 

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Not sure at this time. Still trying to locate a light WW1 artillery piece or repro that I can tow around. These are very hard to come by. The 120 th artillery regiment designation is accurate. The First Wisconsin National Guard Cavalry was merged into the 120 th US Field Artillery regiment when the Wisconsin National Guard was federalized in 1917. The Wisconsin and Michigan National Guards formed the “Red Arrow” 32nd Division then of the U S Expeditionary Force.

     This is important to me as a Wisconsin and Michigan Resident and with Kissels being made in Wisconsin.

      Thanks, Ron 

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20 minutes ago, Lahti35 said:

 

Might be too big but IMA has a howitzer for sale: https://www.ima-usa.com/products/wwi-155m-howitzer?variant=26157261701


Lahti35 - A heavy 155mm Cannon on a double mount would be to big in both weight and scale. This truck can tow up to 4000 safely but a light field cannon, like a US 75, A French 75, or a mountain gun would be ideal. Smaller and in the 2500 lb category. In the 1920’s many French 75’s were retrofitted with pneumatic tires which  I would need in any case.

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When the US Army embarked for France most of the smaller field guns...I think they were 3" - were left behind. The artillery was re-equippped with French 75s. After the war the French sent several hundred of them (they were worn out) to America to be used for war monuments. The army retained many more but most of those were sent to England after Dunkirk. The war monument 75s are still around...I remember one in a local scrap yard many years ago and you still see them from time to time on WWI monuments. They have to have the breech welded shut because otherwise they are classified as "destructive devices" and require a class 3 Federal license to own. A 155 howitzer would be much too heavy. Most of those were still horse drawn or pulled by artillery tractors. What would be cool - and likely more work than a field gun. would be the Army mobile machine shop. It was a trailer set up with small machines. I've seen pictures and, oddly enough, the machines could be found and wouldn't be terribly expensive but building the entire trailer would be more work than the body of your excellent truck.

 

 

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2 hours ago, ron hausmann said:


Lahti35 - A heavy 155mm Cannon on a double mount would be to big in both weight and scale. This truck can tow up to 4000 safely but a light field cannon, like a US 75, A French 75, or a mountain gun would be ideal. Smaller and in the 2500 lb category. In the 1920’s many French 75’s were retrofitted with pneumatic tires which  I would need in any case.

Might be worth keeping an eye on Auctionarms.com or Gunbroker.com, artillery shows up there from time to time. Maybe a nice 37mm would make an appearance, I have seen 3" guns listed there.

 

 

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3 hours ago, JV Puleo said:

When the US Army embarked for France most of the smaller field guns...I think they were 3" - were left behind. The artillery was re-equippped with French 75s. After the war the French sent several hundred of them (they were worn out) to America to be used for war monuments. The army retained many more but most of those were sent to England after Dunkirk. The war monument 75s are still around...I remember one in a local scrap yard many years ago and you still see them from time to time on WWI monuments. They have to have the breech welded shut because otherwise they are classified as "destructive devices" and require a class 3 Federal license to own. A 155 howitzer would be much too heavy. Most of those were still horse drawn or pulled by artillery tractors. What would be cool - and likely more work than a field gun. would be the Army mobile machine shop. It was a trailer set up with small machines. I've seen pictures and, oddly enough, the machines could be found and wouldn't be terribly expensive but building the entire trailer would be more work than the body of your excellent truck.

 

 


Thank you JV -

    I’m not really looking for a real live canon but a repro or a monument or salute gun would be ideal. But these seem unavailable as nobody is selling monuments. 
    I’ve talked with artillery collectors who advise that 1915-1930 ish field pieces are very very rare. And French 75’s in any deactivated state are non existent. I’ll keep looking and praying - - - -

    Take care. Ron 

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  • 2 weeks later...

    Hello Ron, my name is Scott and I am the President of Michigan's Military Heritage Museum in Grass Lake. We have a friend of the museum who lives in Monroe that has an original French 75mm gun and caisson. I expect him out at the museum this weekend as he is delivering a set of cannon wheels for our Civil War cannon. We are also the home to Michigan's WW1 Centennial Commission and I believe that the Chairman, Dennis Skupinski will be contacting you as well.

    Love the restoration on the Kissel! We have just completed a 1917 Model T ambulance and it is just finishing its motor trials and getting ready to come into the museum. It too was done in 32nd Division markings for the 125th Infantry "Detroit's Light Guard". Feel free to call me at the museum if you want to know more about the 75mm gun. We are open Wed, Sat and Sun 11-5 and I am there Wed and Sat. 517-926-6696.  

      Here are a few pics of our T from its original body to  about a month ago.    All the best, Scott.

  

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Status update aS of august 25, 2020:

1. Steering column and internals have been shortened by 5” and installed in more vertical truck type position. A lot of tedious work to shorten.

2. Neville type fat-man steering wheel has been refinished and fitted to the new steering shaft configuration. This makes entry a lot easier. The wheel looks stunning, almost too good for a truck!

3. Dietz military tail light and front cowl lights have been painted, wired, and mounted. 
4. front apron and side plates have been fitted, drilled and painted.

5. military “US” emblems have been removed and repainted after deciding to make them look like many of the period correct block letter types. My stenciled numbers remain.

6. front seat springs and backrests have been created and test mounted. The colors shown will be covered. The units will be upholstered in black leather in a few months.
7. Miscellaneous trim parts have been applied.

     We are making good progress as most everything is nearing completion except for engine, fenders, and canvas coverings.

     Upcoming work includes recore of radiator, taking engine parts to my engine rebuilder, St. Claire Engine Rebuilding, painting and mounting fenders, and instrument cluster work.

    Still looking for a light field cannon of WW 1 vintage. May have to switch to a machine gun cart.

   See pictures.

   Ron hausmann P.E.
 

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40 years ago those Dietz military lights were commonplace around New England. Every antique and junk shop had a few and many were in new condition. They were used on the horse-drawn equipment too - which is where I think most of them came from. Every local farmer had a WWI horse-drawn Ambulance for a farm wagon. I have a local friend who has a restored example and know where the remains of one have rotted into the ground behind another friend's house.

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