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Palo Alto Concours & ACD Tour
June 25-26, 2011

Class S
Ginger is exhibited in Class S at the concours.

Lynn and Jeanne have a plan to drive Ginger to Auburn, Indiana for the annual ACD (Auburn Cord Duesenberg) Meet on Labor Day. If they are to successfully accomplish this ambitious goal, they need to get Ginger out on the road and verify that she is up to the task. As a first effort along these lines, Ginger is participating in an ACD Club tour on Saturday and being exhibited at the Palo Alto Concours on Sunday.

On Friday, Jeanne and Lynn drive Ginger the 40 miles from their home in Livermore to the Creekside Inn in Palo Alto where they will stay for two nights. Their room is quite nice and it has a small patio the overlooks a small wooded creek. They manage this first test of Ginger without incident.

Bob Pease's Cord Allan McCrary's Cord Jim Lawrence's Cord
The Cords owned by friends Bob Pease (left), Allan McCrary (center) and Jim Lawrence (right) participate in Saturday's ACD tour.

On Saturday, they participate on the short drive to the John Mozart car collection and on to a second owners garage in Palo Alto Hills. Ginger accomplishes these excursions without complaints.

Cords at the concours Cords at the concours
Views of the five Cords that were exhibited at the concours

On Sunday, Ginger is exhibited in Class S (Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg) at the Palo Alto Concours d'Elegance that is held annually on the Stanford University campus. Ginger has been entered for exhibit, only, as Lynn doesn't feel that she's ready to be critically judged. However, he finds that she is quite presentable compared with the other Cords. While she might not have placed in the class, it may have been worthwhile to receive the critical comments of the judges.

Late in the afternoon on Sunday, as cars are leaving the field at the conclusion of the show, things start going badly with Ginger. When Lynn starts the car, there is a very loud explosion from under the car, creating a fair amount of dust and smoke. It draws the attention of all of the people left on the field! Although the car appears to be running OK, Ginger has blown out the side of her muffler.

Yikes! What was that all about? Lynn suddenly recalls that when he first found the car, it also had an exploded muffler. There must be some correlation between these facts that points to an underlying problem that Lynn has yet to understand.

Aside from the loud muffler, the 40-mile drive back to Livermore starts out well enough. Ginger is able to maintain 65-70 MPH as the Kissels follow CA Route 84 across the San Francisco Bay on the Dumbarton Bridge. However as they continue up through Niles Canyon, Ginger starts running noticeably rougher. By the time they reach downtown Livermore, Lynn is unable to reliably maintain highway speeds. On the last 1/2 mile as they approach their garage, Lynn must drive Ginger on the shoulder of the road as she cannot manage to get the car to 30 MPH! Under some protest, Lynn flogs poor Ginger to her home. She can maintain a (very rough) idle, but sputters and complains when Lynn tires to speed the engine.

The next day, a compression test indicates that the head gasket is blown out between all four cylinders of the left bank of her V-8 engine. This should be a relatively easy fix if a blown head gasket is the only problem.

Holley regulator Mr. Gasket gauge
Lynn will add a fuel pressure regulator and gauge as a first step to prevent future exhaust explosions.

The blown head gasket is likely not the underlying cause of the blown mufflers, but rather it is a result of the exhaust explosion. He currently suspects fuel leaking from the carburetor. Perhaps the fuel pump is delivering too much pressure and it is overwhelming the carburetor float and valve causing the bowl to overflow, dropping raw fuel into the intake manifold. This seems plausible as there has seen staining from what appears to be evaporated fuel at the base of the carburetor. To eliminate this possible cause, a Holley 12-804 regulator and a Mr. Gasket 1561 gauge has been ordered to regulate and monitor the fuel pressure to the carburetor. Let's see if this fixes the problem.

This failure on her first extended outing increases the likelihood that the Kissels will not be driving Ginger to Auburn this year. Lynn sets July 22 as his go/no-go decision date for participating in the Cord Convoy.

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Last updated: Nov. 9, 2011