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Historic Gathering of Gold Bugs*
Sep. 10-12, 2010

Hausmann's 1923
Ron Hausmann's beautiful 1923 Kissel 6-45 Speedster will be at the historic gathering of Gold Bugs. (Photo by Dennis Adler)

* Gold Bug is a popular name for a Kissel Speedster, especially when the car is painted chrome yellow. Speedsters were manufactured by the Kissel Motor Car Company for model years 1918-1931, and this is the story behind the Gold Bug name as Lynn knows it. William W. “Brownie” Rowland, an automotive writer for the Milwaukee Journal, devised a promotion in 1919. He drove a chrome-yellow Kissel Speedster around Wisconsin for a month, calling attention for the need to improve the poor roads and inviting his readers to name the car he used. A young girl allegedly coined the name Gold Bug referring to the car’s color and shape. The Kissel Motor Car Company never used it as an official designation, but the moniker stuck in the imagination of the motoring public and is associated with the car to this day.

Gold Bug comic
A 1954 cartoon depicting a Kissel Gold Bug.

In January, 2010, Lynn is surprised and delighted to receive a phone call and follow-up letter from fellow Kissel-Speedster-owner Ron Hausmann. Ron and Ken MacKinnon, Jr. (who owns a beautiful, freshly restored 1927 Kissel 8-75 Speedster) are planning a gathering of Gold Bugs in Michigan in September. They plan to exhibit their cars in the midst of the Old Car Festival, a spectacular annual event featuring original 1890-1932 vehicles. The show will be held in Greenfield Village, an 80-acre step backwards in time adjoining the Henry Ford museum. Ron and Ken are encouraging other Kissel Speedster owners to join them and Lynn readily accepts the invitation!

MacKinnon's 1927 Speedster
The freshly restored 1927 Kissel 8-75 Speedster owned by Ken MacKinnon, Jr., is also expected at the gathering. (Photo by Ken MacKinnon, Jr.)

Ron is taking the lead on organizing the event and his efforts have really started to snowball. The organizers of the Old Car Festival will showcase the Kissel Speedsters with special designated parking. Ron has posted a note on the AACA Forum calling this special event to the attention of a wider audience.

As of mid August, Ron has ten "solid" commitments from Kissel Speedster owners. Of the less than about 40 complete Speedsters known to exist worldwide, this turnout will represent somewhat more than 25% of the surviving cars. Owners from as far away as San Francisco (John Quam, Lynn Kissel) and Paris (Tom Harrington) are planning to bring themselves and their cars to the event. This will truly be an historic gathering of Gold Bugs.

news release
A news release for the gathering of Gold Bugs. Click here for a PDF version (0.7 MB).

Helping to throw some gasoline on the fire, Lynn drafts a news release in April. After approval of the final copy by Ron and Ken, Lynn sends the release to the editors of a number of "old car" periodicals. Lynn gets encouraging responses from a number of editors and the first public evidence that Lynn has seen to the news release is a "Gold Bugs Unite!" article in Hemmings e-Weekly Newsletter (April 29, 2010). Subsequently a brief note has appeared in the "News and Marketplace" section of Old Cars Weekly (July 1, 2010) and a one-page article appeared in the "Maplights" section of Antique Automobile (July/August 2010, Antique Automobile Club of America).

Lynn will be updating this page as more information becomes available and with images he collects at the event. Yes, sir! Lynn is surely looking forward to September and the historic gathering of Gold Bugs!

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Copyright © 2018 Lynn Kissel
Last updated: August 23, 2010