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hearseguy27

Thinking of selling my Peerless hearse

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I was hoping to get some opinions on value and I hope that somebody can help me out. It's a 1927 Peerless hearse with a 150 inch wheelbase. This car is very complete, the motor is free and I have a clear WA state title in my name. There is some dry rot in the wood and the passenger door is not connnected due to dry rot. I spoke with a guy and he told me it would be a fairly easy fix for someone with experience, which is not me. I have came to realize that this this car is beyond my ability unfortunately and will need to get rid of it. The car is currently stored in my garage. Below are some photos that I hope help. The moto meter just sits on the radiator because the cap is the incorrect size for my car. I have a few spare parts as well. I have a 1966 Chevelle that I need to finish and this would help a lot.

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Thank you for including all the good photos of your 1927 Peerless Six-80 Hearse. I am pretty certain it is the only one anywhere. It's interesting to see the fabric covering extending down to the rear window and landau bar area. It looks a little like artificial leather (like that used in Model "A" Leatherback Sedans or in Weymann coachwork). The fact that the driver's compartment is enclosed is interesting, too.

A very distinctive car with the inventory of parts quite complete-looking, particularly that 1925-1928-only radiator shell design and the headlamps. The values of antique automobiles are not served well by any printed guides, but there are lots of appraisers for same(never seen or met one -- but I live in the Boonies). I've seen dozens of Peerlesses offered for sale and know a few of the sale prices. Someone bought a 1927 Peerless basket case 6-80 Sedan, converted into a farm truck, at an auction for $2,750 in 2010. There aren't any million-dollar Peerlesses, but at the other end of the scale some from the 1900-1913 timeframe have fetched $100-400K. Sorry the timing and resources aren't right for you to repair what's wrong with the car at this point. I was hoping the business plan I sketched out to help fund a restoration would find merit.

When your car was for sale in the Professional Car Society journal years ago, I heard someone say it would make a great car to take on tours -- for the guy who brings all the extra luggage and tools. Just as all of the Model "A" Ford Sedan Deliveries seem to have painted business logos on the sides, there might be someone out there who would want to advertise a business (at car shows, parades, etc.).

----Jeff

Edited by jeff_a (see edit history)

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Ron and I were thinking of buying this hearse a few years ago, restoring it, and making it the official Peerless Car painted dark green and black with gold letters "Peerless Motor Car Club" and bringing it to swap meets with all our Peerless literature. Not a bad idea but a lot of work to restore. We could also rent it out to Peerless owners family to use for the Peerless die hards on there last trip from their last resort. RHL

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I have owned the car since 2001 and really just don't have the time or energy to put in to it. I am only thinking of selling because I feel the car deserves better. I can have it sit in my garage for decades in hopes that I can one day restore it or I can sell it to somebody that has the money and time to do it now. I really want it to go to a good home. I sold a 1936 LaSalle hearse years ago only to find out a year later that it had been cut up and rat rodded and it made me sick. I do not want this to meet the same fate.

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I agree with you. I have seen too many sedans made into rods. I was watching this hearse when it was under a canvas and for sale. At the time there was someone that wanted to rod it and I was glad when you bought it to restore. Please do not sell it to someone that would rod it. E mail me your asking price and some pictures and we will put it in our news letter. Maybe we can find a good home for it RHL peerless@lichtfeldplumbing.com

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Guest BJM

Interesting. Thank you Jeff for advising me on this post.

Hopefully, hearseguy27 will allow me to comment on the car, and ask additional questions of the Peerless experts to better understand what this car is/represents.

Perhaps Dick or Jeff know - was professional car or bare chassis vehicles a part of Peerless that was seen in every production year? That is - can we extrapolate from our understanding, documents, and Peerless literature that say, 100 professional vehicles were made at Peerless annually or is that number too high?

Was it purely a custom ordered proposition that the factory would begrudgingly comply with? Or, was it simply a matter of the customer being a hearse manufacturer ordering the lwb car and modifying it (so that Peerless wasn't deviating from a production order)?

Now, number 2 -- I would be interested in the car but not as a hearse. As Dick (Green Dragon) alluded to, he would make it into some sort of sedan delivery. I am thinking along those same lines in that I believe it would be an excellent "Peerless Yard car". I saw in this last month's Hemmings Classic Car magazine where Pierce Arrow built such a vehicle to service I believe the western states Pierce Arrow region. It is lost to history, but they had a photo and it was basically a truck on a long wheel base chassis and the truck sides were quite high. (not a flat bed)

With the glass in the side of this hearse, it does give it a cooler more stylized look over a full metal back delivery look, in my opinion.

Jeff, what size motor is that? 234ish?

Bottom line is I think Dick has it right. It's a Peerless, and it's a legitimate bodied car (not some custom job done in the fifties) so I am hoping it would be Ok for a new owner to restore it with their vision - to have the Peerless logo on the side, I agree on green and black (fenders) and somewhere put "All That The Name Implies".

Unfortunately, the most I could offer would be in the $2000 to $3000 range. For 2 reasons, it would require a lot of money to restore and it would cost $1250-$1500 to get a transporter to ship to Iowa.

I would say it could be marketed for $3500 to $6000. But that my educated market guess. If someone thinks I am low, by all means advise. Perhaps there are professional car geeks out there who might go higher due to the rarity. But, not to offend the Peerless crowd, of which I am one of - but it's still a flathead six cylinder car. If it were a V8 or even a straight 8 Continental, you could add $5000 probably.

Hope my comments are OK. I love the car, and am very glad you found the forum and posted the photos.

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1926-1928 6-80 engines were 230 cu. in. Not real big, but the same size as the engines in '46 Power Wagons and the base engines in '67 Camaros. All straight sixes.

Car companies were happy to sell a chassis-only to customers, I'm pretty sure. After all it was still a sale, with way less work. In a Nov. 21st, 1925 Sales Manual, there are specs for a PEERLESS MODEL 6-80 CHASSIS:

Color:
Black
Equipment:
Equipment includes wheels finished in primer, tires, hood, radiator shell, instrument board complete with set of instruments, black enamelled lamps, tools, tire carrier with spare rim, front fenders, rear fenders (in primer), dust shields and running boards. All equipment, standard with open type body, is furnished, less body, top and windshield."

So, even before any of the new 6-80 Peerlesses were sold, when introduced for 1926, they already had the 6-80 Chassis specs in the catalog.

Jeremy says there's no coachbuilder's tag on the car. This custom work may have been done by Brown Body Co. of Cleveland -- known to have built professional or funeral car bodies for Peerless in the 1910s and 1920s. The bodywork could also have been done by A.J. Miller, Knightstown, Holcker, or someone else. Somebody would have had to change chassis from 116" to 150". No way for me to tell how many Peerless chassis' went to professional car builders [hearse, flower car, ambulance, etc.] or other coachbuilders [Peerless had at least 37].

There's no reason someone couldn't re-purpose the car a little from a hearse (i.e., something besides black or grey paint), though it would still be a hearse*. I assume there are some rollers on the floor. If it were me, I would leave them on, unless they were totally shot, so some future owner could still use the car as built.

Too bad you don't work for a NAPA store, Hemmings Motor News, or Volo Auto Museum in Illinois(possible business write-off for paint job with your company's name). I guess it could say "Des Moines Peerless Sales & Service Car" and have a 24"-across Peerless Eagle logo(like Dick has on his late-model pickup). Don't see why someone couldn't have ordered a hearse, the sale fell through, and it wound up being a delivery vehicle for a car dealer. I'm sure there weren't any lawbreakers in Iowa during Prohibition....but wouldn't it have made the perfect bootlegger's car? Seriously, if a guy had a vending business at car shows, you could have a lot of your merchandise visible -- even if it were raining -- with all that glass area. The smaller and more expensive the items, the better($2,000 Brass Headlights, $300 Radiator Mascots, $400 Sales Brochures, etc.).

*or an ambulance. Nowadays ambulances and hearses are very different types of vehicles, but some of the literature for professional cars in the 20s to 40s described the back of the the vehicle as "where the gurney or casket went".

Edited by jeff_a
More Additions. (see edit history)

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Peerless built many commercial vehicles over the years. They started building heavy trucks in 1911 and were building light commercial vehicles on the car chassis. Like police cars, paddy wagons, ambulance, hearse and light delivery trucks. Peerless showed these in ads but I believe the special bodies were built by other body companies. The big problem with sedans of this era is the cost to restore is always more than the selling value when it is done. I think that is why so many are made into rods. Jeff mentioned the engine about the same HP as a 1946 Dodge Power Wagon. I had one of those and 35 mph was about top speed. Of course a hearse would never have to go much faster, but you could always put an overdrive on it to make it more road worthy. If I was younger I would have liked a project like this. I hope this goes to a good home. RHL

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RHL,

I agree that this car would not be a speed demon. The heaviest of the five factory 6-80 body styles weighs 3,140 lbs., and I don't know how much this hearse arrangement adds with the lengthened frame, extra sheet metal & wood.

Bryan,

Funny that you asked if Peerless was selling 100 cars for professional car use annually or not. The site www.conceptcar.com has a write-up of a 20s Henney Hearse and they say that total production of that type of car was less than 100 per month in all shops nationwide (Knightstown Body, Brown Body, Henney, etc.). I did find a photo on www.coachbuilt.com showing a hearse interior with what looks like 1/8" veneer on the ceiling and a divider separating back and front of the car, very similar to the way this one may have looked when new(last photo on article about Knightstown).

----Jeff

Edited by jeff_a (see edit history)

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There was a 1928 Studebaker that recently sold on EBay that a little more rough and it sold for $4100. As some have stated this could be used for a sedan delivery type vehicle and I have seen it done. I saw one that had a wooden rack that would roll in and out on the rollers to carry parts and various other items at swap meets. I bought this to restore, I am a Funeral Director and had hopes of putting this back in to service when I originally purchased the car. The car was originally dark blue with black fenders and top, and that was the direction that I was hoping to go. Now reality has set in and I have 2 options, 1) I could sell it and put the money to better use or 2) keep it in my garage in hopes of one day having enough money to actually restore it. I am still on the fence but am leaning toward selling. Thank you for all of the comments, I have even thought about just getting it running and drive it around a bit just the way it sits, maybe just put a new top on it.

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Guest BJM

OK, I think that Studebaker price helps you pinpoint value. The Studebaker crowd is much larger, club wise and all relative of course, so that might explain it's $4100 price. So, perhaps this Peerless is in the $4000 to $6500 range. As always, a well sorted ebay auction with patience will yield top dollar but you lose control over what the buyer does to the car.

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hearseguy27,

I think I read about that Studebaker professional car on the H.A.M.B. forum and a Studebaker site. I think someone wanted to use it to give cemetery tours in New York.

I was using a search engine today and found a Spokane, WA newspaper ad from 1979 with someone "Wanting to trade a 1927 Peerless Hearse for a late-model economy van." Of course that was 20 years before you ever heard of it, but it must be the same Peerless.

BJM may not have read about that 1926 Studebaker Jerry Kayser owns not far from you in Moses Lake, WA. There was an in-depth story about it in the AACA magazine a couple of years ago. Have you ever gotten to compare notes with him about the restoration process? I'm guessing the costs involved were pretty high, but it sure looks nice. I haven't read it, but Antique Studebaker Review had a story about that car in the JUL/AUG 2007 issue. ----Jeff

Edited by jeff_a (see edit history)

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I am thinking along those same lines in that I believe it would be an excellent "Peerless Yard car". I saw in this last month's Hemmings Classic Car magazine where Pierce Arrow built such a vehicle to service I believe the western states Pierce Arrow region. It is lost to history, but they had a photo and it was basically a truck on a long wheel base chassis and the truck sides were quite high. (not a flat bed)

BJM,

I saw the '21 Pierce-Arrow you were referring to in the December, 2013 Hemmings Classic Car, pg 26. It's a nice car, still around, but had a tow truck body complete with winch and boom. The same issue had a story about a Model "A" Duesenberg that was made into a shop truck for the the local franchise of the company in California circa 1924. No doubt you were thinking more of the dealership delivery vehicle idea than the tow truck/fire-rescue-vehicle rear bodywork applied to a Peerless. In a way, professional car conversions from bare chassis' were just a cut-and-stretch from what would have been a 4-door sedan, but the low production numbers spread over forty or more separate shops(as they said on conceptcar.com) meant that much of the work was "full custom". The numbers were too low to justify the tools and dies for mass production. That would mean a lot of stuff would be hand-made(left and right splash aprons, the body from the hood back, running boards, tops, every square inch of the interior, and possibly the fenders and doors).

Some of the hearses were extremely elaborate and expensive. Some were just $1,000 additions to what would have been $600 Ford sedans. 1912 Peerless 60-Six and 1936 Cord 810 models were employed as hearses, if you can imagine that! I think a typical price for a nice hearse in 1922 was $4,000.

Edited by jeff_a (see edit history)

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hearseguy27,

Congratulations on selling your Peerless Six-80. I hope we hear from the new owner, whichever place it turns up in. It would be fantastic, of course, if someone were able to restore it along the lines of what Peerless Motor Car Club members Richard Lichtfeld and Bryan Moran were discussing......or to Professional Car Society standards. In either case, they would be most welcome at any events involving the PMCC.

----Jeff

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I was assured that the car will be restored properly. I will let the new owner chime in if they wish. The one thing I do know is that it is going to a good home. A sad day really, I love the car but it is beyond my abilities. Thank you Jeff for all the help.

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You're welcome. Thanks for keeping it under cover all this time.

As I started to say earlier, the Continental engines {built in Muskegon and Detroit, MI} as found in both your and my Peerless were used in many types and brands of vehicles: cars spanning 1903-1963; and in aircraft 1905-to-present. 100 makes of cars totaling four million units. Even some Cadillacs were equipped with Continental engines, according to some information I just unearthed while trying to research professional cars. I was trying to determine who may have built the body of your 1927 Peerless. The John W. Henney Co. spec'd Cadillac chassis' for many of their cars in the Twenties, but powered some of them with Continental sixes and others with Lycoming eights. I would have never expected that.

Source: www.ehow.com, "Cadillac Hearses of the 1920s",

Edited by jeff_a
Took awhile to locate a source. (see edit history)

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Guest BJM
I was assured that the car will be restored properly. I will let the new owner chime in if they wish. The one thing I do know is that it is going to a good home. A sad day really, I love the car but it is beyond my abilities. Thank you Jeff for all the help.

Look at the bright side-you got to own it and appreciate it for several years.

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IUKPY1c1DbSAKDKmczjTRYXkAFcb0Qf7fIMMaEqagwWu2YWD4fJtBM6afyA0wXsiGbVKr8QW-vze0Qbq-HCW6VroNQ88pHlEIwjWm39c56ji4N5T3EIrYPpWnUljy7kcpYB4cH9Q Not very readable, but there´s a guide from Peerless in 1912 about commercial bodies available for rebuilt Peerless chassis´, including this Kansas City Ambulance. For sale, $92, by milwaukeeauctionhouse vendors on e-bay. The one in the illustration is on a 1909 Peerless, the most expensive U.S. automobile that year.

 

Edited by jeff_a (see edit history)

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I´m not suggesting that Brian, who owns the hearse on this thread, should go ambulance instead of hearse, just posting a picture of an interesting professionial body on an uber-rare car. I had never seen a photo of a Peerless ambulance before -- and I´m pretty certain I won´t be seeing a Model 19 ambulance conversion anytime soon -- with three ought-nine Peerlesses in the world. There were a whopping 1,618 Peerlesses from that year built, though.

Edited by jeff_a (see edit history)

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