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The Serious Freshening

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Exterior—Fabricate Missing Top

Lynn in Bugsby, September 5, 2005

Completed: 2010-06-11 — Started: 2006-04-10

SOCKET MEASUREMENTS: When visiting DeWayne Ashmead's 1925 Speedster in late Jan., 2006, Lynn took detailed measurements so that he could have new sprockets and top bows made. These measurements are compared with those of Clark Patton (left).

Work Completed:
Lynn received Bugsby with no top. Using measurements from Ashmead's 1925 Speedster, he plans to have new sprockets, bows and canvas top fabricated.


TOP SOCKETS: The top sockets fabricated for Bugsby by John Boorinakis.

Lynn has contacted John Boorinakis and has sent him the measurements that Lynn took from DeWayne Ashmead's 1925 Speedster. John has written back, sending a copy of a full sized drawing of top sockets for a 1927 Kissel that he had. Lynn compares the two sets of measurements and finds a high degree of agreement and asks John to make a set. About two years later, the sockets arrive.


WINDOW: Lynn has obtained a beveled-glass, oval window for the new top from his friend Lynn James. The metal frame is nickel plated by Johnson Plating.

raw bows
finished bows
BOWS: Along with five other Kissel-Speedster owners, Lynn obtains bows from Mel's Leather and Horsehair (left). Lynn ships the raw bows to Ken MacKinnon, Sr. (father of a fellow Kissel-Speedster owner Ken MacKinnon, Jr.) for shaping. Lynn coats the finished bows with marine polyurethane (right). When done, the bows look like fine furniture. It's a shame that Lynn will hide them under bow drill (fabric) as is historically correct for this car.

machined plated rests installed
TOP PARTS: John Lewis has cast top rests for Lynn (left), which have been machined by Earl Minkler (center left), nickel plated by Johnson Plating (center right) and installed by Lynn (right). These items hold the folded top up and off the rear deck.

Lynn sets out to collect the other bits of hardware he needs for the top. Aside from the parts noted in the pictures, above, Lynn obtains nickel-plated footman's loops on ebay, leather straps from S&D Trading Company and lift-a-dot fasteners from Defender (marine supply). By the January, 2010, Lynn has sockets, bows, window, top rests, footman loops, leather belts and lift-a-dot fasteners. Now he needs the services of a good upholsterer.


fitting topfitting top
laser align
CREATING TOP: Joe discusses the effort at his shop (left). Joe has Lynn sit in the car to verify head clearance (center). Mixing old with new, a laser is used to create reference points on the car (right).

Multiple people point Lynn to fellow Bay-Area-Horseless-Carriage-Club member Joe Anino. Besides these recommendations, Joe and Lynn meet to discuss the project. Lynn is impressed with Joe's sensitivity to the historical accuracy of the effort and the depth of his knowledge of antique car tops. The agree on the price and scope of the effort.

On March 12, 2010, Bugsby and Lynn's parts are delivered to Joe's shop outside Sacramento. From March through June, Joe labors to creates a new top, side curtains, a boot for the folded top, a tonneau cover to protect the cockpit from rain and sun, sleeves to cover Bugsby's fenders. Lynn makes multiple trips to Joe's shop to consult on details of the effort.

One item of the effort surprises Lynn, the difficulty in getting the top to properly fold. In the end, Joe and Lynn manage to create an arrangement of the top components that works well both up and folded, but wonder how many of the tops on other Kissel Speedsters might not work as well.


completed top boot Bugsby Jr
COMPLETED WORK: Joe add the finishing touches to the top and side curtains (left) and boot and tonneau cover (center). Joe has also created a leather interior for Bugsby Junior (right).

Joe also uses scrap leather from the interior for Bugsby to create an interior for Bugsby Junior, a pedal car that Lynn's building to look like Bugsby. When it's complete, Lynn thinks that Bugsby Junior will be a great crowd pleaser when displayed with Bugsby at car shows.

On June 11, 2010, Lynn travels to Sacramento to accept delivery of the completed top. It's been four years and two months since Lynn started the restoration of Bugsby's top. Although it's taken a long time and considerable expense to realize, he is very pleased with the results. Bugsby looks quite different with his new top and will be even more of an eye catcher once Lynn reinstalls the bright work.

Work Remaining:

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Copyright © 2018 Lynn Kissel
Last updated: July 3, 2010