1923 Kissel Brougham History
In the automotive landscape of 1923, Kissel embarked on a significant transformation by transitioning from its iconic Model 6-45 engine to the slightly smaller yet more efficient 6-55 engine, equipped with superior forced-bearing oil systems. This strategic shift not only allowed for interchangeability of most parts but also introduced the industry to the remarkable durability and reliability of the Model 6-55’s 6-cylinder engine, which remained in use until 1928.
Today, amidst the passage of time, only two surviving 1923 Kissel Model 6-55 Brougham Opera Sedans bear witness to this era of automotive excellence. While one of these remarkable vehicles finds its home in the esteemed Wisconsin Automotive Museum, another resides as the subject of an ambitious concours-level restoration project that commenced in 2011 and is slated for completion in 2012. This extraordinary restoration aims to revive the car’s original grandeur, breathing life back into every meticulously crafted detail.
The Restoration of the 1923 Kissel Brougham
The journey to restore this exceptional vehicle began in 2010 when the original car, boasting low mileage, was discovered in Ft. Meyers, Florida. Having remained in dry storage since 1976, the car retained its mechanical and internal integrity, showcasing the enduring quality of Kissel craftsmanship. However, the passage of time had taken its toll on the superstructure wood, harboring no less than 30 hornets’ nests. Recognizing the significance of this automotive relic, a decision was made to embark on a comprehensive restoration endeavor.
The restoration process commenced with a complete disassembly of the car, enabling a meticulous evaluation of its components and structure. The deteriorated superstructure wood was painstakingly restored, ensuring the preservation of its original form and integrity. The rebuilding process extended to the roof woodwork and windows, which were meticulously crafted to mirror the car’s original design. Careful attention was given to every detail, ensuring authenticity and adherence to the highest restoration standards.
The heart of this magnificent vehicle, the Kissel Brougham 6-55 engine, underwent a thorough overhaul. All-new pistons and connecting rods were installed, breathing new life into the powerplant that once propelled this Brougham Opera Sedan with grace and authority. The restoration team’s dedication to preserving the car’s historical significance and honoring the legacy of Kissel Brougham shines through every aspect of the revitalization process.
As the restoration nears completion, anticipation builds for the unveiling of this resplendent automotive masterpiece. It will stand not only as a testament to the artistry and engineering prowess of Kissel but also as a reminder of the few remaining cousins of this rare breed that still exist today. The resilience and survival of these vehicles serve as a tribute to an era of automotive excellence that continues to captivate enthusiasts and historians alike.
Through the lens of photographs documenting the resurrection and restoration process, one can trace the remarkable transformation of this Kissel Brougham Opera Sedan. These images bear witness to the meticulous craftsmanship and dedication poured into each painstaking step, ensuring that the car’s timeless elegance is resurrected for future generations to admire.
Step into the world of automotive history and experience the legacy of Kissel as it comes to life once again. The 1923 Kissel Brougham Opera Sedan Model 6-55 awaits its grand debut, ready to evoke awe and admiration. Discover the passion and expertise that have revitalized this extraordinary vehicle, paying homage to its storied past and securing its place among the most treasured relics of automotive heritage.
Here are pictures of the Kissel with a new Roof being installed
Here are pictures of the restored Stromberg Model OS-2 Carburetor, the Splash Aprons, and the Body of the Kissel under restoration.
Pictures were taken December 4, 2011
Here are pictures of the chassis as of June 10, 2012
The connecting rods in our original engine were missing or damaged. We decided for safety and performance sake, to use new connecting rods. Unfortunately, there is no tractor, truck or car rod ever made that is identical to a Kissel Model 6-55 rod’s dimensions, so we had to spend a small fortune to cast and machine a set of new ones. Here is a picture of one of the six brand-new connecting rods.
Here are pictures of the car with the doors and windows mounted, in July and August, 2012
These are pictures of the restoration’s progress as of November 18, 2012. The body panels and interior dash are 100% completed. Gabriel Snubbers with new belts and brass are installed. The speedometer, Pheney Rim Wind Clock, and all instruments have been rebuilt and mounted. The steering wheel mechanism has been upgraded to a brand new refinished Neville “Fat Man” steering wheel, not yet mounted. The only thing missing is the Engine installation, Test driving, Brake Adjustments, and upholstery, both scheduled for this winter. I will also put seat belts (definitely not correct) into the rear seat for my grandchildren’s safety. We anticipate we’ll be done this spring of 2012, barring any glitches. This car has already been invited to the 2013 St. John’s Concours de Elegance. So I better get it done !!.
Below are four pictures of the 1923 Kissel Brougham Sedan as of January 29, 2013. The Kissel has a brand-new top and tire covers. The interior, maroon and light Kissel gray, are now complete. Mark Larder Upholstery of Homer, Michigan was the artist who did the upholstery, which turned out beautiful, vibrant, and professional. The ladies in the pictures are Valerie Vos (blonde), my oldest daughter from LA, and Esther (short) my wife.
Below is the car, sans engine, as of 3-27-13
Below are pictures of the finished car, without the engine and hood, in May 2013. This June, the engine will be completed, test run, and installed. The hood is in the shop just awaiting the engine to be installed. Many many thanks to Larry at “Saint Clair Engine Rebuilding” for resurrecting the original blown Kissel 6-55 engine to its perfect status.
Here are pictures of the brand new 1923 Kissel Model 6-55 Engine just finished 7-11-13. Ready to be mounted into the car. The location is St. Clair Engine in Armada Michigan. Their excellent engine rebuilding services for me, led by Larry who is pictured in the foreground below, have made these Kissels live again.
1923 Kissel Brougham Car Shows
2013 Concours de’ Elegance held at the Inn of St. John’s
As of July 2013, the Car has been completed. Except for minor fiddling, the engine, body, and controls all work. We have test-driven it (fast) and on July 28 it debuted at the 2013 Concours de’ Elegance held at the Inn of St. John’s, Plymouth, Michigan. It received a Lion Award for excellence in its class. Here are several pictures.
Milwaukee Masterpiece Concours de Elegance
In 2015, this 1923 Kissel Brougham Sedan was invited to attend the Milwaukee Masterpiece Concours de Elegance. This Kissel won the “Best Interior” Award.
Woodward Dream Cruise
No Posting is complete without mentioning the Woodward Dream Cruise. In 2016, My 1923 Kissel Gold Bug and my 1923 Kissel Brougham Sedan were exhibited and driven side-by-side in Birmingham, Michigan. TONS of FUN !! Here are pictures
1924 Kissel Brougham at the Fourney Museum
Below are pictures of a 1924 Kissel Brougham Sedan Model 6-55 which resides in the Fourney Museum in Denver. There are 2 of this year and model which survive. It is unrestored and virtually identical to 1923, except for the pinstripe pattern.