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1928 Pierce Arrow Model 81 - Help!


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I am going to look at a 1928 Model 81 5-passenger sedan tomorrow. It looks good in photographs and the owner says it is in good running condition. I have very little experience with cars this old and even less with Pierce Arrows, can anyone tell me how to verify if the engine is original? Are there ID numbers anywhere on the body and engine like newer cars and if so where are they located? I would also appreciate any general advice on what I should look for or any particular problems unique to these cars that could cause me trouble if I buy. Thanks for your help.

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As I suggested earlier, when you first brought up your curiosity, and made it clear, over and over again, that "I HAVE VERY LITTLE EXPERIENCE WITH CARS THIS OLD", you should

FIRST - go to old car events and talk to people already involved with cars of the era that you think might interest you. You will find just about all of us eager to help.

As I noted earlier, the further back in time and auto technilogy you go, the cars become more cantankerous and unsuitable for todays roads.

Again, we in the old car hobby want to keep our hobby strong, by helping others. I am sure you will find people eager to take you for rides, even let you drive cars of the era you are curious about. The more you learn, the less chance you have of making a costly mistake that will sour you on the hobby.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Pierce Arrow made cars of the highest quality. Comparable to Rolls Royce and a much more expensive car than a Cadillac.

In 1928 they made 2 models, both with 6 cylinder engines. One was a behemoth with an engine of 500 cu in or more. It was made for the limousine trade and could carry the heaviest bodies with aplomb. But it was more suited to being driven by a professional chauffeur.

Pierce Arrow recognised around 1920 that cars no longer required a chauffeur, and brought out a smaller car designed for the owner/driver. Many luxury car makers did this including Rolls Royce and Packard.

Your 1928 Model 81 is one of these. It may not look like a "compact car" but compared to the big Pierce road locomotives, it is.

The Model 81 used more aluminum than any car of its time with the possible exception of Marmon.Even the connecting rods were aluminum.

The bodies were made of sheet aluminum over a wood frame but they used a thicker gauge of metal than other makers, a full 1/16" thick.

These were an excellent car, very well made and long lived.

I suggest you get someone more familiar with cars of the 1920s to look at it for you.

Possibly you could contact someone local from the antique car club. There may be a mechanic in your area who specialises in the real old cars.

If it is in good shape you have a real prize there. But remember it is now 80 years old, and will need special care and sympathetic treatment to give its best.

It has a 6 cylinder engine of about

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