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The Serious Freshening

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Interior—Leather Interior

Lynn in Bugsby, September 5, 2005

Completed: 2008-03-21 — Started: 2008-01-09

NEW INTERIOR: Now Bugsby's interior is restored to Lynn's best approximation of the original factory condition. (Photos taken Mar. 2008.)

THE OLD INTERIOR: Until recently, Bugsby's interior was covered in black vinyl. (Photos taken Aug. 2005.)

Work Completed:
As noted in John Lewis' booklet Kissel Cars Down Under, Bugsby's original interior was covered in green leather. This agrees with the Specifications of the Model 55 that states the deluxe 1924 speedster was covered in "green Spanish leather." This is in contrast to the black vinyl interior that was in Bugsby when Lynn acquired the car in 2005.

This begs the question, what shade of green was originally used? Lynn doesn't know. As you'll see below, existing (restored) Speedster interiors come in a variety of shades and colors. It even seems plausible that Speedsters may have been delivered new with varying shades of green, based on the variations in existing supply.

John Lewis has been, and continues to be a singular resource to Lynn in his restoration efforts. John sends Lynn detailed sketches of the Speedster bench seat and doors. These drawings show the number of fore-to-aft pleats in the seat (there are 11), size and location of the inside door pocket and covering flap (9-1/2" wide, 9" tall on fore edge, 6" tall on aft edge), and the size and location of the top-of-door leather arm rest (14-1/2" long, covers down 2" from top of door).

The position or existence of a pleat across the long dimension of the bottom cushion varies in the interiors of existing Speedsters that Lynn has seen. In the end, Lynn decides to follow the lead of Kissel drawing #1122-B, showing a pleat toward the rear of the bottom cushion.

The existence of buttons at the intersection of pleats also varies in existing Speedsters. Lynn opts to install buttons at the intersection of all the pleats.

Lynn solicits recommendations from fellow antique auto enthusiasts for reliable upholstery craftsmen. He receives a recommendation for Fowler's Upholstery Shop in Stockton. Dino Palermo, owner of the shop, did beautiful work on Lynn James' 1931 American Austin roadster which took first place at the 2003 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Yup, that's what Lynn wants, a shot at first place at Pebble Beach!


1923 Model 6-45: Interior of the William Ruger's Speedster.

1924 Model 6-55: Interior of Phil Renuart's Speedster.

1925 Model 8-75: Interior of Larry Kay's Speedster.

1925 Model 6-55: Interior of Dwayne Ashmead's 6-55 Speedster.

1925 Model 8-75: Interior of John Quam's 8-75 Speedster.

1927 6-55 INTERIOR:
Interior of Mark Kissel's Speedster.

1924 Model 6-55: Kissel Motor Car Company drawing #1122-B (dated Sep. 6, 1923) shows the bench seat profile for the 1924 Model 6-55. (Recall that the Kissel new model year starts in July.)

Lynn collects all his photos of the interiors of Kissel Speedsters, factory drawings, and interior sketches from John Lewis and discusses the job with Dino. Dino thinks that it will take about two weeks of actual work over about a month of elapsed time to complete the job.

Lynn also asks Dino to create canvas covers for the spare tires, and a removable, carpeted floor mat.

Dino cautions Lynn about his choice of leather, advising him to use material prepared specifically for automotive use. Lynn James seconds this recommendation, saying that other leathers can be susceptible to abrasion.

Apparently green auto interior leather is a relatively hard color to acquire these days. From the four samples that Dino provides, Lynn feels that the sample called La Jolla (FZLA28, European Luxury Edition) is the best complement to the paint. Lynn calls Lindsey and Hall (626-575-5100, El Monte, CA), the supplier of the leather, and learns that this color is not built to mimic the interior of any particular existing car.


NEW INTERIOR: The master craftsman, Dino Palermo, and his work.

It takes Dino seven weeks and 115 square feet of leather (two hides) to complete his work. He also uses one square yard of forest aqua Turf Carpet to make a floor mat and three square yards of black Sunbrella canvas to make spare tire covers.

Lynn is very pleased with the result. The craftsmanship is first rate, bringing the car to a new level of completion and furthers Lynn's ambitions for his serious freshening efforts.


NEW INTERIOR COLOR: A comparison of selected luminosity adjusted colors with that of the new La Jolla leather.

What name should Lynn use to describe the color of Bugsby's new interior? He decides to answer this question using his computer and some digital image processing. Sampling the color of the La Jolla leather from his photos, he obtains a typical RGB (red,green,blue) intensity of (106,132,108). Consulting Wikipedia, he selects six named green colors that he thinks bear a resemblance to the La Jolla green. The colors are British Racing Green (0,69,38), Hunter Green (53,95,59), Gray-Asparagus (70,89,69), Myrtle (32,66,31), Fern Green (78,121,67) and Asparagus (118,159,91). He adjusts the luminosity of the named colors to match that of his La Jolla sample (using the Color Replacement Tool in Photoshop), shown in the image above. Lynn concludes that Myrtle is the best match, with Gray-Asparagus, Hunter Green and Fern Green as credible alternative matches.

The weak link in this analysis is the original color sample from the photograph, which he thinks may have been distorted by the bright sunshine and blue sky. Lynn thinks that Fern Green as he views it on his high quality LCD monitors is a better match to the yellow he thinks he sees in the La Jolla leather.

Fern Green (Pantone 17-6153 TC) is the green color in the Italian flag, justifying use of the name Italian Green to describe Bugsby's new interior. This strikes Lynn's fancy. Italy was the home of the Renaissance and has a long history of art, design, fashion and style. Yup, Lynn has taken to calling Bugsby's new interior color Italian Green.

Work Remaining:

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Last updated: May 24, 2009