Roaring with Power: Experience the Thrill of the 1923 Kissel Gold Bug
The Hausmann Kissel Collection is honored to possess TWO Kissel Gold Bug Speedster cars. This first highlighted vehicle is restored and has been equipped with the Kissel “Hollywood Option” package of nickeled bar bumpers, E & J headlamps, and spotlights, which were available thru the dealership for cars sold in Hollywood, California. This is because many silent movie personalities considered kissel Gold Bug cars as status symbols.
This Hausmann Kissel Collection’s 1923 Kissel Gold Bug Speedster Model 6-45 stands as a testament to the exceptional craftsmanship displayed by the Kissel Motor Car Company of Hartford, Wisconsin. This fully restored original exemplifies the rare and stunning vehicles produced by Kissel during that era.
Among the surviving four complete 1923 Model 6-45 Speedsters, this 1923 Gold Bug exudes a captivating allure with its correct Kissel Chrome yellow hue. Originally sold in Hollywood, California, it boasts the coveted Kissel “Hollywood Option” package, which includes nickeled bar bumpers, an exhaust cutout, and E & J Headlamps. Additionally, it features the iconic Kissel “outrigger seats,” a distinctive characteristic employed during the early years of their Speedster production. Just imagine the thrill of cruising at 70 miles per hour on a gravel road while seated in one of these seats!
Dennis Adler and Comedian Jay Leno’s book, “The Art of the Automobile – The 100 Greatest Cars,” selected and showcased this very Kissel modal. Its prominent appearance in the book solidifies its significance as a genuine automotive masterpiece.
Formerly owned by William Ruger Sr., the renowned firearms tycoon of Ruger Firearms, this Gold Bug underwent a meticulous restoration and was driven once by Ruger himself before his passing. Subsequently, the vehicle came into the possession of Andrew Kissel, a New York criminal infamous for his involvement in the “milkshake murder” case. It is important to note that Andrew Kissel had no familial connection to the Kissel Car family. Following Kissel’s unfortunate demise and the subsequent seizure of his assets by the authorities, Ron Hausmann became the proud owner of this remarkable automobile.
This exceptional Gold Bug has garnered numerous accolades, solidifying its status as one of the most beautiful cars ever produced. Notable achievements include a “First Place” award at the 2011 Milwaukee Masterpiece Concours, participation in the prestigious “Meadowbrook Concours de’ Elegance” in 2007, and the coveted “Spirit of Concours” Trophy at the Willistead Canadian National Concours in 2009. The car also secured First Place awards at the Marysville AACA meet in 2009 and 2010, as well as a top Class Award at the 2010 Henry Ford Antique Car Festival.
Underneath its elegant exterior, this car boasts a freshly overhauled “Kissel Custom 6 Engine,” originally cast in Hartford, Wisconsin, in 1922. If one possesses the audacity to unleash its full potential, the Gold Bug is capable of reaching speeds of 70 miles per hour. It stands as a breathtakingly beautiful example of an “American Classic,” representing the epitome of domestic automotive excellence.
This Hausmann Kissel Collection 1923 Kissel Gold Bug Speedster Model 6-45 is an extraordinary testament to the craftsmanship, heritage, and allure of Kissel Motor Car company’s vehicles. It captures the spirit of a bygone era, captivating automotive enthusiasts and admirers of timeless elegance alike.
Kissel gold bug specs
The 1923 Kissel Gold Bug Speedster Model 6-45 boasted impressive specifications for its time. Here are the key details:
- Engine: The car featured a Kissel Custom 6 Engine, which was cast in Hartford, Wisconsin in 1922. While specific technical details may vary, it was a robust and powerful engine designed to deliver a thrilling driving experience.
- Speed: The Model 6-45 Speedster had a top speed of approximately 70 miles per hour. This was an impressive feat during the 1920s, as it allowed drivers to experience exhilarating speeds on the roads of that era.
- Seating Capacity: The Gold Bug Speedster accommodated two passengers. It featured the signature Kissel “outrigger seats” utilized in the initial four years of Speedster production. These unique seats provided a distinct and stylish seating arrangement.
- Body Style: The Gold Bug Speedster was a rakish, open-top two-seater. Its design epitomized the aesthetic of the era, with sleek lines and an attention-grabbing presence.
- Color: The car was adorned in the correct Kissel Chrome yellow, which added to its allure and made it instantly recognizable.
- Hollywood Option Package: This particular Gold Bug Speedster was equipped with the Kissel “Hollywood Option” package. It included notable features such as nickeled bar bumpers, an exhaust cutout, and E & J Headlamps. These enhancements added both style and functionality to the vehicle.
While additional technical specifications for the 1923 Kissel Gold Bug Speedster Model 6-45 may not be readily available, the aforementioned details provide a glimpse into the car’s performance, design, and unique features. It was an exceptional automobile that combined power, elegance, and a sense of adventure, embodying the spirit of the Roaring Twenties.
Here is a 2011 video of the Kissel coming out of Michigan winter hibernation. It started right up!
Here are Pictures of the 1923 Kissel Gold Bug as I purchased it with the original engine.
(These pictures are at our house)
Wisconsin Masterpiece Concours
Here are pictures of the Kissel Gold bug at the 2011 Wisconsin Masterpiece Concours. This car took First Place in Class.
BOCA RATON CONCOURS de’ ELEGANCE – February 24, 2012
Here are pictures of the Kissel having won “Best in Class”, Class A, at the 2012 Boca Raton, Florida Concours de’ Elegance, February 24, 2012. We shipped the Kissel down from Michigan to Florida to attend this prestigious event. They never had a Kissel attend, and we won. For this event, we had the car professionally shipped from Michigan to Florida and back again, a long trip. The day of the event it occasionally rained, but nearly all of the scheduled events and cars were able to be held and shown. Special thanks to my daughter Estrella (seated in a suicide seat) and her husband Shaun for helping me that weekend.
Below is a YouTube Video of the 1923 Kissel receiving the Best In Class Award Class A at the February 24, 2012 Boca Raton Concours.
Willistead Canadian Concours
Here are Pictures of the 1923 Gold Bug at various shows including the Willistead Canadian Concours, where it took top awards, as well as the Michigan Carnival of Cars and the Henry Ford Old Car Festival, where the car won top ribbons as well
First two pictures – – – – – Willistead Canadian National Concours 2009
Next two pictures – – – – – Henry Ford Old car Festival 2007
Next two pictures – – – – – Michigan CCCA Carnival of Cars 2009
Next two pictures – – – – St. John’s Concours de Elegance July 2012
St. John’s Concours de Elegance
The following pictures are of our Kissel attending the 2012 St. John’s Concours de Elegance in Plymouth, Michigan, in September 2012. My beautiful wife and I are in yellow in the picture to the left. My son the doctor, and our daughter-in-law are the folks who are with us in the below pictures. Both of the ladies parked themselves in the Kissel “suicide seats” for a brief time and drew dozens of curious picture-takers. Beautiful day!
Here are Pictures with the top down, Summer of 2012. Fun to drive this way, but “suicide seats” are not operable with the top down.
2013 National “EyesOn Design Concours”
Below are two pretty pictures of our 1923 Kissel Gold Bug Speedster at the 2013 National “EyesOn Design Concours” which was held on June 16, 2013. This design-focused invitation-only event is held each year on the beautiful grounds of the Edsel and Elanor Ford Mansion in Grosse Point, Michigan. Our car was placed in the “Classic” category, being any car built prewar. Surprisingly, with beautiful Bentleys and Oldsmobiles and Willes Sainte Clairs in this class, our Kissel was chosen as the “Designer’s Choice” – first place. The two ladies in the side seats are my wife Esther and Romayne, one of Esther’s many sisters.
Ault Park Concours de Elegance
In June of 2015, this 1923 Kissel Gold Bug was invited to attend the Ault Park Concours de Elegance in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Kissel WON first place as an “American Prewar Sportscars”.
Professional Photography 2019
In 2019, this 1923 Kissel Gold Bug was treated to a professional photo-shoot. Below are a few of these wonderful photos.
Detroit Concours 2022
The Hausmann Kissel Collection exhibited this 1923 Kissel Gold Bug Speedster at the 2023 Detroit Concours de Elegance. The car was honored with a class award, and as well, was highLighted in several news reports. Below is a great video that was published.
Kissel with Racing Setup
In the summer of 2023, the windshield of this Kissel was damaged. While the glass was being replaced, we took the opportunity to change the setup on the car. As shown above, we normally display this Kissel formally, with top up, side seats out, and windshield up. The below pictures instead show this Kissel in tacing mode, with top down, windshield off , and side seats locked in. It is a very sleek car when trimmed in this manner.
1922 Kissel Gold Bug Restoration (not mine) and 1924 Kissel (mine)
The yellow unrestored Gold Bug is a Model 6-45 1922 Kissel. It is currently being restored in New Hampshire.
The blue 1924 Kissel Model 6-55 is now owned by Ron Hausmann. I am keeping it in its original condition as shown and it runs as of 2016.
Below is a lengthy “provenance” or history of this particular 1923 Kissel Gold Bug.