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Thunder from Down Under—
A Visit by John Lewis
Jan. 6-9, 2008

John Lewis inspects and photographs Bugsby at
Lynn's home on Jan. 7, 2008.

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No Ordinary Kissel Owner

John Lewis is a Kissel Speedster owner who lives in Brisbane, Australia. For Lynn, John is no ordinary Kissel Speedster owner, as if the owner of one of the less than 40 Speedsters left in this world can be called ordinary. One of the things that sets John apart from the others is his 60-page booklet Kissel Cars Down Under that he wrote in 2006 in celebration of the 100-year anniversary of the Kissel Motor Car Company.

As readers of this site will know, Bugsby is the oldest of twelve Kissel cars that were imported into Australia. It was John's history that documented that fact and provided Lynn with all the history of the car before 1976.

John and his family were visiting the US for their summer holiday. In addition to activities of interest to the others, John was visiting a number of Kissel owners including Lynn.

Getting Bugsby Ready for the Visit

Bugsby as he appears around
July, 2007, after about
18 months in the body shop.

Bugsby as he appears on
Jan. 5, 2008, one day
before John's impending visit.

Since Bugsby's body returned from the shop in July, 2007, Lynn has been working many weekends to get it reassembled. But it is amazing how many things still need to be done before the body can be reattached to the frame. After painting the wood on the underbody, the largest items are the installation of the new instrument panel, plumbing the fuel system, and rewiring the car.

Once he learns of John's planned visit, Lynn sets himself the goal that Bugsby needs to be complete enough that they can drive on the street once John arrives. John's visit provides just the right kind of pressure on Lynn to achieve the new level of reassembly of the car. Even though he works almost every day until the early hours of the morning for two weeks, Lynn declares the car ready for John's visit only one day before his expected arrival. Although Bugsby doesn't have fenders or hood reattached, and the interior is only tacked in, all the under body wiring is complete and the car runs well enough that Lynn is willing to take to the streets.

Some Translation Required

Australian names of some automotive body
parts are unfamiliar to American ears.

As might be expected in any international discourse, some translation between languages is required. It was no different with John and Lynn who speak two different dialects of the English language. Lynn was already familiar with the British use of boot and bonnet, but he was unfamiliar with other terms.

As an aid to other Americans (known to have not spoken the English language for years) who may be traveling to Australia, Lynn offers this translation for selected body parts. Please also refer to the illustration above.

Australian Term US Term
Mud Guard
(or simply Guard)
Body Scuttle
(or simply Scuttle)
Hood (if soft top)
Rag Top
Turret (if hard top)
Dickie Seat
Rumble Seat

A Great Time Is Had By All

Lynn in Bugsby.
(Photo by John Lewis)

It was a great visit.

John closely inspects Lynn's progress in the restoration of Bugsby and offers many constructive comments and words of encouragement. John reviews three boxes of literature and other items that Lynn has amassed on Kissels, offering additional insight and special interpretation along the way. John promises to send him several pieces of information and items that Lynn needs to complete his restoration efforts on Bugsby.

There is also opportunity for the Kissel family and friends to learn a lot more about Australia. The Lewis family serves as excellent ambassadors and representatives.

He hopes that the visit was a valuable for John as it was for Lynn.

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Last updated: May 24, 2009