Gold Bug speedsters to gather at
Henry Ford Greenfield Village
This has never happened since the 1920s, and it may never happen again! A grand swarm of Kissel “Gold Bugs” will gather at the Old Car Festival, Sept. 10-12, 2010. Held on the grounds of the Henry Ford museum, Greenfield Village, Mich., the Old Car Festival is annually filled with the sights, sounds and smells of hundreds of authentic vehicles from the 1890s through 1932. This year, Kissel owners from as far away as San Francisco and Paris will bring their exceedingly rare vehicles together for an historic public exhibition. Expecting ten or more of the fewer than 40 complete survivors, a representative of most every model and year of “Gold Bug” ever built will be on display. If you have a “Gold Bug,” organizers would love to see you attend.
Introduced in 1918 as the Silver Special Speedster, these stylish, exotic and rakish U.S. made cars were hand-built in Hartford, Wis., by the Kissel Motor Car Co. (1906-1930). Manufactured through model year 1931, there were likely only about 1,500 of these extraordinary Speedsters originally produced. Built in the American heartland and distributed around the world, these sporty roadsters feature “racer cut” sides and a bumble-bee or turtle-back rear deck. Brackets built into the rear fenders elegantly hold a pair of golf bags.
In a promotion held by the Milwaukee Journal, a young girl allegedly coined the name “Gold Bug” referring to shape and color of a chrome-yellow Kissel Speedster. Never an official company name for the vehicle, the “Gold Bug” moniker has stuck with the motoring public through the years.
Kissel Speedsters were favored by many famous people of the 1920s. Owners included Fatty Arbuckle (comedian), Bebe Daniels (actress), Ralph DePalma (racecar champion), Eddie Duchin (band leader), Amelia Earhart (aviator), Douglas Fairbanks (actor), Greta Garbo (actress), Gladys George (actress), Ruby Keeler (actress), William S. Hart (actor), Al Jolson (singer), Mabel Normand (actress), Mary Pickford (actress) and Rudy Vallee (singer).
Many Kissel Speedsters are designated as Full Classics™ by the Classic Car Club of America. The CCCA describes these very special cars as being “distinguished by their respective fine design, high engineering standards and superior workmanship.”
Don’t miss this once in a century event, in Michigan this coming September!
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