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Sep. 7-Oct. 29, 2010

Ginger, 1937 Cord
Ginger stands in the driveway of Hyman Ltd on Lynn's Sep. 20 second look.

Jump to:
  The Kissels consider a new (old) car
  How about a Marmon?
  Jay sells a Cord
  Beverly becomes Ginger
  Looking into the past

The Kissels consider a new (old) car

Lynn and Jeanne have been looking for a Full Classic™ suitable for use in CARavan events. Although Bugsby is a Full Classic, his small passenger and storage compartments, two-wheel mechanical brakes and a happy cruising speed of 50 MPH make him a less than ideal candidate for extended cross-country touring with the CCCA. Here are some of the characteristics that Lynn thinks he wants in a next collector car.

  1. Early to mid 1930s Full Classic — Car should be able to "scat" (go down the highway at 70 MPH) and stop (have good four-wheel brakes).
  2. Desirable body styles — In order of preference, convertible sedan; close-coupled sedan; sedan; sport phaeton. A car with windows will make touring in wet or cold weather more comfortable. A car-collector friend said that "as the top goes down, the price goes up," so one will have to match his desires with his pocketbook.
  3. Diamond in the rough — Something that can be improved within Lynn's skill and means.
  4. Initially presentable — The car should be of be of sufficient quality to be initially drivable without extensive work; something that one will note be embarrassed to be seen in initially.
  5. Forgotten treasure — A car that is not overly popular with collectors but is somehow interesting, unusual or historically significant.
  6. Investment capable — A car that has the possibility of retaining its value with time.
  7. Return to Pebble Beach — A car that conceiveably can be shown at a high-end concours like Pebble Beach.
  8. Make his toes tingle — Finally, the car should excite Lynn (and Jeanne).

How about a Marmon?

Marmon 16
Lynn spots this 1931 Marmon 16-cylinder sedan for sale by Hyman Ltd.

Lynn is pleased that Jeanne's initial reaction to his plans is positive. She has enjoyed their recent car events and is willing to consider a new acquisition with these characteristics. After watching the collector car press and auctions for several months, Lynn finds a Marmon 16 for sale in St. Louis. He's thrilled that Jeanne also likes the looks of the car and she agrees that he should stop and look at the Marmon on his way to Michigan for the historic gather of Gold Bugs.

Stopping at Hyman Ltd Classic Cars on the afternoon of Sep. 9, 2010, Shawn Dougan shows Lynn the 1931 Marmon 16. Unfortunately the car doesn't pass muster. It's too big and doesn't excite Lynn. He notes several other cars that interest him in the garage: a 1930 LaSalle, a 1938 Lincoln and a 1939 Lagonda.

Spotted in passing Ginger on Sep 20
Lynn notes this 1937 Cord in passing on Sep. 9 (left) and returns for a second look on Sep. 20 (right).

One car spotted in passing is a maroon 1937 Cord. While it doesn't elicit a strong reaction at the time, Lynn's interest grows while reviewing his photos of the visit. Intensive internet research and a stop at the ACD Museum in Indiana over the next few days piques his imagination. Among other interesting information he collects, these photos and video of Jay Leno's 1937 Cord sedan are quite compelling.

Jay sells a Cord

Following the car show in Michigan, Lynn is spending a week at the Wisconsin Automotive Museum doing research on Kissel cars. This gives him time to arrange for a second look at the car before he returns to California. Seeking a second opinion, he arranges for an appraisal by Don Hoelscher, a classic car appraiser and CCCA member in the St. Louis area. Armed with Don's report, Lynn makes a second visit to Hyman Ltd on Sep. 20 and takes the car for a brief drive.

Jeanne has been on travel to Europe and is unaware of Lynn's epiphany about the Cord. Armed with items he's bought on eBay, information acquired from web and the video on Jay Leno's Cord, the Kissels spend an evening discussing the possibility of acquiring the car once they are reunited in late September. Without much persuasion Jeanne authorizes him to negotiate to obtain the car. What was pivotal in convincing Jeanne to pursue the car? It's not a surprise that it was the Jay Leno video that tipped the balance!

The Cord being unloaded from the delivery van on Oct. 29

After a couple of phone calls and emails, the Kissels and Hyman Ltd negotiate a sales agreement by Oct. 1. After the check clears and the car is shipped across the country, they receive their new (old) car on Oct. 29. The car runs well enough to drive 35-miles to the California Department of Motor Vehicles for a verification inspection the next week.

Beverly becomes Ginger

Their "first" Ginger
The Kissels had planned to name this 1935 Olds L-35 convertible coupe Ginger, but they never acquired the car or used the name.

Jeanne and Lynn name all their cars, so what will they call their new acquisition? Initially they took to calling the car Beverly since the car came with this name; the body style is a Custom Beverly sedan. This is a nice name and they use for some weeks, but they suspect it will not be distinctive enough within Cord-owner circles and they should consider another name.

Lynn's been saving Ginger as a car name for some time. He thinks it's a pretty name and it evokes memories of actress Ginger Rogers whenever he thinks about it. Lynn has started to calling the car Ginger.

Looking into the past

While waiting for the car to be delivered to California, Lynn starts following any and all leads to learn more of the history of the car. Ginger is a 1937 Cord 812 supercharged Custom Beverly sedan. There were only 141 supercharged Custom Beverly sedans produced in 1937. There were slightly less than 3000 model 810-812 (1936-1937) Cords produced.

Ginger has been owned by the following people.

  • 1937-1965 – owners are unknown
  • 1961-1965 – Robert E. Pruitt (Stockton, California)
  • 1965-1986 – William E. “Bill” Pedrazzi (Salinas, California)
  • 1986-1997 – Marvin and Nancy Zirkle (Red Bluff, California)
  • 1997-2004 – Frank Opalka (Chicago, Illinois).
  • 2004-2010 – John O’Quinn (Houston, Texas)
  • 2010-present – Lynn and Jeanne Kissel (Livermore, California)

Please drop Lynn a note (email: if you have any knowledge of early owners, or information that contradicts the currently known owners.

Cars&Parts cover
Ginger on the cover of Cars&Parts.

A six-page article with cover photo on Ginger appears in the July, 1990, issue of Cars&Parts magazine. Former owner Bill Pedrazzi was an active member of the ACD Club. Mention of Bill and/or his car appears in 13 issues of the ACD Club Newsletter.

Ginger has received these prizes at the West Coast Meet of the ACD Club.

  • 1970 – 1st Place in the 810-812 Closed Class; Gold Torque Wrench Award; Tom Mix Award
  • 1971 – 2nd Place in the 810-812 Senior Closed Class
  • 1972 – 1st Place in the 810-812 Senior Closed Class
  • 1975 – 1st Place in the 810-812 Senior Closed Class

The Gold Torque Wrench Award is given out for outstanding mechanical excellence. It was originally sponsored in 1964 by B.F. Sturtevant Company, then starting in 1970 it was sponsored by Dresser Industries.

The Tom Mix Award was given by Gordon Buehrig (noted automotive designer, responsible for the Cord 810/812 design) to the highest point Cord at the West Coast ACD Club Meet. The Tom Mix Trophy is on display at the ACD Museum and lists Bill Pedrazzi as the 1970 winner. (Tom Mix was the star of many early Western movies. He died in an auto accident in his 1937 Cord Phaeton.)

The car was certified as Category No. 1 by the ACD Club on Sep. 26, 1998 (Certification # C-306). This process purports to certify that Ginger is an original Cord car, retaining its factory body, engine and interior.

Lynn is excited that he has been able to learn this much about the car is such a short time. He thinks Ginger will soon become a treasured member of the Kissels' small collection of cars.

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Last updated: November 16, 2010