Milwaukee, Wis. - Imagine A-list movie stars, singers and entrepreneurs coming to Wisconsin to buy their cars. This is what happened with Kissel automobiles from 1906 to 1931 built in Hartford, Wisconsin. A rare 1923 Kissel Gold Bug will be shown at the Milwaukee Concours d'Elegance on Aug. 4 in Veterans Park, along with the only known remaining Badger automobile built in Columbus, Wisconsin. Both cars are part of the Wisconsin Automotive Museum's collection.
The Kissel was a higher-end automobile, hand built with low production numbers with the Speedster being the sportiest of the line and the flashiest. Nicknamed the "Gold Bug" for its chrome yellow paint which became its signature color, it also had slide out seats to handle extra passengers.
The Kissel Speedster that will be at the show is only one of the 130 to 150 Kissels known to exist. The Wisconsin Automotive Museum has 26 of those still in existence.
The Kissel Speedster to be shown at the Milwaukee Concours d'Elegance features an older but still pristine restoration. Though Kissel automobiles were built from 1906 to 1931 Kissel Speedsters were only built from 1918 to 1931.
Dawn Bondhus Mueller, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Automotive Museum, said some of the more famous Kissel owners included Amelia Earhart, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Greta Garbo and Fatty Arbuckle.
The Badger coming to the concours is the only one known to still exist of the 237 cars produced. Badger automobiles were built in 1910 and 1911. The model at the show will be a 1910 Model "B" Touring Car with the original body. When it was restored in the 1950s, a rear unit with directional signals and brake light were added. The color of the car is French Gray and according to archival photos is thought to be the original color. The engine and transmission are also thought to be original.
The Badger automobiles did well in hill climb competition but eventually the company went under due to financial obligations.
Tickets for the 15th anniversary Milwaukee Concours d’Elegance are on sale now at: https://www.milwaukeeconcours.com/product/event-tickets/
The Masterpiece Ltd., host of the Milwaukee Concours d’Elegance, is organized to support other public charities. The charities provide social service care and relief services to underprivileged children and families. The funding for these various organizations comes from various motor vehicle related fundraising events. Learn more about the Milwaukee Concours d’Elegance at MilwaukeeConcours.com.