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Philadelphia Restoration Company Info Needed ?

Guest Silverghost

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Guest Silverghost

I have a friend that is looking for a local Philadelphia Restoration Company to do a complete restoration on his late 1920s Full Classic .

He wants a good shop located close to Philadelphia itself so he can visit & monitor their progress easily.

He does not wish to drive several hours to the shop doing his auto's restoration !

He lives in my area of Huntingdon Valley PA ~~~Just outside of North East Philadelphia.

Someone suggested Marquis Auto Retorations in NE Philadelphia on Sandmeyer Lane.

I know little about this operation~~~

So I cannot advise him of their workmanship quality or charges.

I believe they are fairly new~~~are they not ?

They are located just ten min. from my home in Huntingdon Valley PA, ~~~I did not know they were here~~~practically in my own back yard !

Does anyone know anything about Marquis Auto Restorations ?

What is their experience with Full Classics ?

Do they do a quality job; at a fair market price?

Do they have a big backlog of work~~~as do most quality restoration shops ?

Can they complete a restoration in a reasonable amount of time ~~~not several years ?

Can they in fact do a full complete restoration in-house, ie; paint, body, engine machine work, interior, etc ?

What is their speciality ?

Any info or experience with them, or any other local Philadelphia Restoration Shops greatly appreciated !

What other Quality Restoration Shops are located directly in the local Philadelphia area with experience in restoring Full Classics?

I know of many quality shops that do Full Classic restorations~~~

Sadly~~~they are not locally located locally in our area; Most are out of state !

(Restorer32 ) here on this forum AKA Jeff Hammers and his shop Penn Dutch Restorations do Super work and Jeff is a fine fellow indeed ~~~

I suggested he take his Classic project to Jeff's shop~~~

I have seen their fine work and spoken to Jeff several times~~~

I would take any of my cars to Jeff in a second !

But~~~ my Friend & Neighbor just refuses to travel to Jeff's fine restoration shop in the York PA area. He says it's just too far for him to travel several times each week from Philly !

He wants to be fully involved with his restoration project !

Any and all Information and help or experiences with restorers in the general Philly area wold be greatly appreciated !

Thank You !

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)
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Guest Silverghost


I agree with your thoughts completely ~~~

In fact this is exactly what I told my Friend & Neighbor .

He seems to have his heart set on visiting the restoration shop he finally chooses 2-3 times a week on his way home from work !

" I want to be totally involved in this restoration~~~For me this will be half the fun in restoring my family's old Pierce~Arrow !" This was his exact quote~~~

This Pierce~Arrow touring car has been in his family since new ! It has been sitting in his grandfather's carriage house all it's life ! It is a large, impressive & spectacular auto !

He now owns both the impressive 1910 home & car once owned by his grandfther !

After all these years of just sitting it will finally be restored.

It last ran in the mid-1950s !

I agree that he should search out a restoration shop

that knows Pierce~Arrows of this vintage in-and-out ; and has successfully restored similar autos before !

He did talk to a local well-known Corvette & Muscle-car restorer who I casually konw~~~

This fellow was smart & honest enough to turn down this restoration job as he has never restored a Classic~~~much less a Pierce~Arrow !

I was releaved by his news !

He insists that it MUST be restored locally so he can enjoy seeing the restoration in progress close-up & first hand !

Would you like to be in that restorer's shoes ~~~with it's owner checking-in on your progress every other day; and hanging around your shop ?

We shall see~~~

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)
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Would you like to be in that restorer's shoes ~~~with it's owner checking-in on your progress every other day; and hanging around your shop ?

Brad, that struck me while reading your posts, nobody will put up with that for long.

In our last chat I mentioned Fred Hoch of Mercer Raceabout fame. His shop is Schaeffer and Long in Magnolia, NJ. I believe they are among the top rated shops in the country and a lot closer than York,Pa to your friend.

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If it matters at all, hourly rates for restoration out here on the "frontier" are about 1/2-2/3 those in metropolitan areas. I would suggest that he give less weight to distance and more to the reputation of the shops he is considering. Personally I would likely be somewhat irritated if a customer visited more than once every week or two. Likely he will not be the shop's only customer and with many aspects of restoration he will see little progress from day to day. On the flip side there are customers who never (and I do mean NEVER) visit. Most important advice I have for your friend is to find a restorer he can trust and who has been in business for a while. Shops tend to come and go, part of the reason about 50% of the projects we complete were taken apart by someone else, usually a new shop that thought they could do it cheaper/faster/better. Taking cars apart is easy, getting them back together is the tough part.

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It appears the only way your friend's requirements are going to met is if there's a MAACO

or Earl Scheib shop on his way home from work. I've rarely heard of such unreasonable,

unrealistic "demands," and it begs the question if he's really ready to tackle the car,

or is just one of those tire-kickin', "I'm gonna restore it one day," types.

The combination of grampa's car and home is very appealling,

but the dude needs to get a grip.


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There are a lot of red flags being raised, and I agree with them.

Having worked in a restoration shop, I can tell you that progress is glacial in most cases. The first stages of a restoration are fairly boring, disassembly, tagging and bagging of pieces, research on missing and broken pieces, and so forth.

Then, the "scattered" stage begins, when every piece of the car is in a different area of the shop, or not in the shop at all....paint, chrome, and such.

Only when it starts coming back together is there something for an owner to see. Even at that, an owner in the shop is a distraction, and ends up costing the owner money. For example, if an owner spends an hour talking to the trimmer about upholstery, that's a billable hour. Another hour spent talking to the machinist, another billable hour.

In addition, does this owner realize the money required to restore a large Classic? Not insignificant.

What year and model Pierce is the car, Brad?

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Good advice here from everyone, not the least of which is trimacar's mention of billable extra time spent distracting the restorer.

Some round numbers that everyone can comment on, when I was at the shop we estimated restoration of a complete Full Classic was about 2000 hours. Do the math and that adds up to 50 weeks at 40 hours a week--a full year of full time work! And generally a restorer will have more than one project going on all the time, I never had a full year devoted to one car at a time, it was actually better that way. So rolling in 2-3 times a week is a huge red flag that will do no one any good--having a two hour drive might be a good buffer for all concerned.

Good luck to your friend though, he just needs to calm down. At least living in PA he has good shops versed in Classics available. If he were in the midwest with his outlook on the project he would end up at a local body shop that promises to work him in and then disaster would befall him and his car. Todd

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No doubt that it's at least 2000 man hours, I'd guess more if there's any substantial wood work or major engine problems (crack repair and such). So, I hear that most major restoration shops are in the $80 per hour range. That's minimum $160K in labor.

Add to that the extremely high cost of chrome, leather, tires, instrument refinishing, engine components....you'll be over $200K in a heartbeat.

There are very few, if any, late 1920's Pierce Arrows worth that much money. The only thing that comes to mind that WOULD be worth that or more is a true custom bodied car (such as LeBaron custom bodied). One has to be careful when hearing the description of Pierce Arrows, however, and be sure it's a true custom car, as Pierce used LeBaron to build some bodies. Pierce would design, LeBaron build and deliver "in the white" (primer) for finishing and mounting on Pierce chassis. Thus, a Pierce can have a body built by LaBaron, but it's not a LeBaron custom bodied car.

But I digress, as usual........

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As noted above. It is similar to a lawyer, doctor or other professional. unless you are golfing, skiiing or fishing with them, as afriend, the time is "billible hours". I had my car done with 10 miles from home and perhaps once every two weeks I stopped by( usually to pay the current bill) and to help with research, parts search, etc. I am sure, stopping by a few time a week would have been on "on the clock".


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Another point, a shop I know encourages customers to come in the evening or weekends so only he and no the employees are there. Not trying to hide anything, but if three workers are distracted for a 1/2 hour, likely a couple hundred dollars is "lost", and that comes from the owner's pocket.


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John, I would think that you mean the couple hundred dollars is lost from the car "owner", not the shop "owner", correct?

It takes time to do a job correctly. That said, there are workers who can work at a good rate of speed, and do a job correctly, and workers that take a lot longer to do the same job. That's one reason restoration shops normally will not give any type of fixed price, every car is different, every worker is different.

I can tell you that, when doing upholstery work, I probably take a little longer than a lot of trimmers. Being a hobbyist first, I've looked at final bills before and "adjusted" to a more reasonable number, knowing that some of the hours are on me, so to speak, and my performance rate. A shop owner can't afford to do that, as he's paying his workers by the hour, regardless of what gets accomplished.

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Being a hobbyist first, I've looked at final bills before and "adjusted" to a more reasonable number, knowing that some of the hours are on me, so to speak, and my performance rate.

I've done the exact same thing. However, all of my experiences with charging people for work have been with friends who can't find anybody else to do the kind of work they expect and know I can deliver.

When I had my car painted, I found a shop that was 60 miles from my home. It was close enough that I could go down once a week to pick up parts that needed to be plated or worked on at my garage. I can't imagine they would have wanted to see me on my way home from work, whether they were billing me or not.

The key is finding a shop that will do the level of work you expect rather than finding one between your job and your house. That is just silly.

As far as restoration costs go, I couldn't even imagine what restoring a non-production automobile would be. My plain Jane 55 Buick cost me plenty :D

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Too bad there's not a clearing-house for finding the right restorer for your car. Besides Hemmings Motor News, the CCCA magazine and us, that is. Maybe if there were, the right shop in the right location could be found for your friend and his Pierce-Arrow.


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Guest Silverghost

I had a long conversation with the Pierce~Arrow owner the other day~~~

I have known this fellow since the 7th grade~~~We are both now 55 !

He has wanted to own & restore this auto since he was a teenager; he is now in his mid 50s .

Now that he just finally became the owner of this car he wants to get it Up-and-running as soon as possible.

The car is in great shape with no rust. The wooden body structure is very sound.

I see no missing parts.

I had tried to talk him into letting me bring it over to my home garage shop and put her on my lift. I wanted to drop the pan and clean out the sump and oil pump pick-up . Then check-out the bottom-end main & rosd bearings & clean-out any gunk from the oil passages. Then I would check-out the valve gear and try to turn the engine over by hand. I now have a mixture of Marvel Mystery Oil and Kero in the cylinders. I added this at his home & left a gallon of this mixture for him to top off the cylinders .

I am trying to talk him into making this a running "driver" at first. Then he can decide IF he wants to make the big jump into getting it restored !

Since I have been involved in this hobby all my life , and am a mechanical engineer, I tried the explain the true reality of a full blown Classic restoration.

We talked about the possible time factor & costs involved along with the need to seek out a Restorer who was familar with Classics and Pierce~Arrows !

Now here is where the big problem comes into view~~~

He is a Dr.~~~ An MD of internal med. and chief of staff at a local hospital and not at all mechanically inclined.

He has also been watching all the car & cycle "Reality" shows on TV where they take a complete rust-bucket and in a week or less turn it into a "restored" dream car~~~Think about what they show on the Chip Foose or Boyd Coddington TV shows here !

He also thinks that getting the Pierce~Arrow restored would be great fun~~~ And he wants to be involved in this restoration fun !

He has no other hobby~~~and has worked very hard for many years~~~

Think late mid-life crisis here !

He sees just how much fun they have on these TV shows. ~~~This is where he got this crazy idea to have ths car restored very close to his home. He wants to be close by so he can stop-in to check-out their porogress and make decisions, lend a hand etc !

He has dragged me into the middle of all of this, kicking and screaming all the way, since he has often seen, and hung-out around our Brass Era & Classic collection for a few years now.

He wants ME to come-up with a few possible local restoration shops so that he can start to "Interview them " for his Pierce~Arrow restoration project!

He wants me to get him a "Short List" of potential qualified first class restorers in our Philadelphia area.

He flatly refuses to go any more than 15-25 miles from his home !

Money is really not an issue wih him .

He wants what he wants~~~and is willing to pay fair market price for it !

Now you all see the position I am in here !

I have been trying to bring him back down to TRUE REALITY !

He found-out about this local Marquis Auto Restorations outfit in our general area from another MD. associate of his. This guy read an article about them in Philadelpha Magazine & saw a local TV News story about them & their owner/founder ~~~a fellow named Alan !

That's all we know about them~~~

They may do fine restoration work for all I know ?

The problem is~~~

I just don't know anything at all about them !

And they are practically in my own back yard !

He & I know nothing more about them or their workmanship ? !

We also need a few more tips on a few other local restoration shops that can properly handle a Full Classic restoration in a reasonable time-frame !

I am just trying to help him out a bit.

He took great care of my late 92y/o father during his final days at the hospital~~~

I am trying to return this big favor !

I have know this fellow & his family 3/4 of my life !

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)
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Brad, he is lucky to have a friend like yourself to offer him sound advice.

I will not rehash my standard gripes about cable TV imagery of the old car hobby, but this just shows that it is more influential than solid but unexciting advice from a friend who knows the reality. At least that is how I read it in your comments. I hope you can convince him of the wisdom of some of your experience, otherwise the waste of his time, money and emotion will be considerable.

Maybe you could use the (sort of) medical analogy that it is like a patient trying to lose weight. Looking at the scale every week or two keeps momentum going, looking at it twice a day for results will ruin the whole effort. Losing weight over 6 months or a year is healthy and works, losing 25 pounds in 6 weeks will never last long term.

Good luck, Todd

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Hi Brad,,,As you say hes not mechanically inclined,,I would suggest to follow his grandfathers solution

In the morning,,speak to his butler and or chauffeur and have this matter resolved in a timely manner,,

Perhaps his present driver could reccomend a permanent position for the Pierce,,and if its an early one he'll need to learn/practice driving it,,

In the middle 50s Frank Day still had his fathers chauffeur,,who kept the car [1915-48hp][b-3] in very nice condition,,and they BOTH knew how to drive it,,// still had the old reg #9816 ,,,,mmm,,ask him if the black walnut paneling is still in the garage,,,with the turntable and oil cabinet,,aaah memories,,,Ben

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" He wants to be close by so he can stop-in to check-out their progress and make decisions, lend a hand etc !"

Reading this quote from you I can come up with a few suggestions for your friend.

Firstly, in another line you said he wanted to get a short list and start interviewing prospective shop owners to do the restoration. IF your buddy is honest when he speaks to the shop owners and tells them that he wants to "stop-in to check-out their progress and make decisions, lend a hand etc !" 2 - 3 times a week, I have to be honest and say that I do not believe that there is any reputable resto shop that would encourage this let alone accept this as a condition in restoring his car. Restoration shops are a business and not a place for someone to "learn" how to fix his/her car. One thing no one has mentioned here is the liability (insurance wise) factor involved in having a person that does not work for your company, in your shop, doing work on their car!!!! Especially someone that admits he knows nothing about mechanics. I don't see that happening AT ALL !!!!

If your friend wants to learn how to repair/restore cars, tell him to enroll in some night courses at a Community College where they teach all aspects of automotive stuff. Asking a restoration shop to allow him to be "hands-on" is way out of line.

As far as checking on the progress of the restoration - I would suggest using the telephone for updates - not personal visits 2-4 times a week.

If I were you, and your friend insists that these are the parameters he will not adjust, and I know how you feel personally towards him, I would politely bow out of the situation. It appears that if you do this for him as he wants, and there are problems with the shop/owner, you may lose a friend over it.

Is it worth that much to you????


Edited by Joe Cocuzza
want to add to it (see edit history)
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I had never heard of Marquis Restorations either before reading your posts,Brad,but by a strange coincidence when I read the "for sale"section last night I noticed two cars being sold by them. I wanted to jump right into the picture and make love to that Cadillac phaeton. If that's representative of their work and they can take him, your friend should not waste time in going there and signing a contract.

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Guest Silverghost

WOW~~~ You guys won't believe this !

I just got a phone call earlier last night from a fellow forum member here.

And I am stunned by his phone call to say the very least !

He just told me that this local shop just in my own backyard ~~~

MARQUIS AUTO RESTORATIONS,~~~ that my Dr. friend just mentioned, ~~~ is in fact owned & operated by that fellow that was dressed in the flashey nylon Red Ferrari Jacket & Cap that sat in the rare GM motoramma show car while it was on the auction block at the Barrett~Jackson Scottsdale car auction several years back; and dared the other bidder to just try to out-bid him !

He was later shown with Craig Jackson signing autographs at a table of all things !

This was a really BIG DEAL at the time it happened !

I sure all you folks here who watched the live B-J auction coverage several year back know who I mean !

There was much talk about him later on many auto web forums; and the TV !

He became a celebrity of sorts after all of this !

I almost fell of my chair when I heard this from a forum member here we all know very well !

How come I never heard of his shop in my own home area before ?

And WHY don't I know this fellow ?~~~ Alan ?

Why did I not know he was from MY own home area ???

Who knew he lived in this Philadelphia suburban area and in fact owned & operated a restoration shop here in NE Philadelphia ?

Heck~~~ his shop seems to be just off of Red Lion Road on Sandmeyer Steel Lane~~~

In a small industrial area.

I never saw it before !

Geeze~~~ My Father had one of his offices at The BUDD CO. plant right next door to his shop for 50 years !

I feel really stupid for NOT knowing him or about his local auto restoration shop !

It is just a few min. from my home ~~~practically in my own backyard !

Did anyone know he was in the auto restoration business ?

I swear I had no clue !

How long has he been in business ?~~~And~~~In MY area ?

Does anyone know any more about him ; or his restoration shop ?

I thought he was just a Buyer's Representative bidding for some wealthy owner of a new western area Museum Collection !

This was mentioned I think by the Speed Channel auction announcers at the time .

Does anyone know anything about him~~~Or his restoration shop ?

Who exactly IS this guy ?

People say it's a small world~~~

But it seems to actually be much smaller than I had ever thought !



I just have to meet this guy & check-out his restoration shop operation first hand !

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)
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Interesting, I know of several restoration shops that encourage the car owner to get involved. They quickly learn how difficult and time consuming a true frame off restoration is to accomplish. A full CCCA classic has LOTS of parts compared to the smaller cars. I would recommend he find a restorer that has experience in Pierce cars, as most often this is the best way to help keep control of the time and cost of the project.

Here is a copy of text on a Pierce restoration, written by the owner several years ago. It was published in several car club magazines, and I have the permission of the author to post it.

I bought my car from John F. of West Palm Beach, Florida in May 1995. It was a very nice, unrestored car with 56,000 miles. It was solid and remarkably straight, but not running. The car appeared to have the original paint, and at first I thought the original upholstery. I later found signs that it had been reupholstered. It was nice enough that my plan was to get it running, use it for a while, and after I had a feeling for its performance, restore it to its full potential.

When I tried getting the car started, however the engine was so dirty that the valves kept sticking. The valve blocks were masses of goo that looked like axle grease. It became clear that the engine had to be taken apart, cleaned and at least the valves needed to be done. Even though the body and interior were very nice, the engine was tired. It takes a lot of time and effort to take an engine apart to clean it. I decided to just rebuild it and do it correctly and authentically. As the engine restoration progressed, it became clear it was too nice to restore only the engine and leave the rest of the car alone. I reasoned that by the time I got the rest of the car restored the engine would no longer look good enough. I decided on a full restoration and decided it should be body off, frame up. Does this pitiful reasoning sound familiar to anyone else out there?

My plan was to have John Cislak of Classic Auto Restoration in Indian Orchard, Mass. do the engine. John is an excellent engine and chassis guy and a very good painter. He no longer wants to do painting, but he did want to do the chassis as well as the engine. Steve Bono of M & S Auto Restoration in Bouckville, N.Y. agreed to do the painting/body assembly and Steve recommended Marvin & Lydia Sensenig of Sherman Hollow Coach, Penn Yan, N.Y. for the upholstery and top. The die was cast; I was into a cross-country restoration with multiple schedules to merge to be ready for the 2007 PAS Meet in Williamstown, Mass. on June 24, 2007.

I'm not a gear head. Working on cars is not something I did as a kid. I was a jock and egghead in high school. I am an electrical engineer who spent his career as a project engineer building military electronics systems, mostly minehunting sonar systems. I started restoring cars as a change of pace from my job, but I found that if I do it all on my own, it takes forever. I also found that my expectations for quality exceeded by ability. I wanted to work with John and Steve, do some on my own and manage the parts and restoration sequence with their help. John Cislak and Steve Bono were willing to let me work with them, in their shops, using their tools, and learn as we proceeded. I learned a lot, had a ball, finished a car I am proud of and they both still talk to me. Could I ask for more?

I'm a compulsive note taker. I took notes of activities on the restoration project (at the end of each day) and have five 100-page spiral bound notebooks of activities during this process. I also have hundreds of photos of "before and after" shots to help put things back together. For me these are necessary to do a good job. Because of the notes I have been able to put together a summary of activities during the restoration. Some of the results were surprising, even to me. I have never seen anyone document a restoration before. I hope you enjoy it.

The Overview

I started the restoration when we removed the engine from the car. This was August 2003. We took the car to the Pierce-Arrow Meet in June 2007. That's a four-year window and I think it would be difficult to do a "body off" restoration in much less time unless you have shops with large teams. I documented the restoration process with time lines as shown in Figures 1 through 3. There are three time lines on each page. The upper time line documents activities at John Cislak's shop. The middle time line is work at my home or at major subcontractors other than John Cislak or Steve Bono. Steve Bono's activities are on the lower time line. The time line scale is at the top (each tick is about one week) and the V represent visits to their respective shops and the number above the V represents number of days in a visit. Absence of a number means it was a one-day visit. The arrows are major events or milestones.

I summarized the time that I spent working at each shop including travel time:

Cislak: 71 trips and a total of 988 hours with 16,330 miles traveled, & 15 overnights

Bono: 16 trips and a total of 701 hours (this total includes trips to upholsterer) with 13,164 miles traveled, & 37 overnights

Other: 49 trips and a total of 185 hours (Radiator, Platers, Harness, Balancing) with 3840 miles traveled, & 2 overnights

Total: 136 trips and a total of 1874 hours with 33,334 miles traveled, & 54 over nights (not counting 60 hours driving time, 2856 miles & 24 overnights at Hershey AACA Fall Meet where my major objective was to find 31 PA parts )

The above hours represents time in travel or at one of the shops. I worked hours in addition to these at home. For example I have documented 849 long distance phone calls, and I'm sure the real number was closer to 1300. I estimate the average number of hours each week at home to be about 8 hours a week for 200 weeks including phone calls, subassembly, making parts, buffing, and preparing for and off loading from trips, etc. This is another 1600 hrs. My total involvement was 3474 hours. There are approximately 2000 hrs in a year of work. This total doesn't count the individual shop labor hours for which I paid. It's safe to say that only a mad man would restore a car this way. This is the hard way; the more straightforward way is take it to a shop, write checks and pick it up when it's done. I enjoyed doing it my way. Throughout the duration of this restoration I worked 20 hrs per week at the Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Center at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. Clearly restoring this car was a major part of my life for four years, accounting for the other half of a 40-hour workweek.

The Restoration

The restoration started on August 2, 2003 when a friend of mine, Keith Mackenzie, and I removed the engine and transmission from the car. Even though a restoration is never really "done" at a car's first meet, I considered mine done at the June 2007 PAS Meet. As the summary numbers above indicate the bulk of the work was done at John Cislak's shop. The schedule, however, was dictated by the work done at the Sensenig's, first with the interior installation in April and May 2006 and then the fabrication of the convertible top approximately seven months later in November and December 2006. These two activities required coordination and completion of many predecessor activities and particularly in the case of the interior installation caused much anxiety and stress.

The Sensenig's primary business is building horse drawn carriages such as the ones we are accustomed to seeing with the Pennsylvania Amish. Their schedule is less flexible than most restorers.

At the time when we removed the engine from the '31 Pierce, I was enjoying my second retirement having retired from the ATMC at UMass-Dartmouth six months earlier. Before we started the engine disassembly in October, 2003 two major things occurred. First, I was unexpectedly rehired on a half time basis (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) by the ATMC. Secondly, the Bujak's, May's and Dluhy's signed up to co-chair the 2007 PAS Meet in Williamstown, Mass. We started negotiating for the William's Inn in September, 2003. One can make two observations. First it takes as long to restore a car as it does to plan a PAS meet and second, I was going to be busy and stressed for the next 4 years.

John Cislak is a very talented and experienced guy. He has rebuilt many gasoline and diesel engines as an employee and had done several antique and motorcycle engines in his restoration shop including Ed Minnie's 1936 Model 1602. He used the "before and after" pictures from my 1603 for Ed's restoration and we had become comfortable with each other. John is very thorough and meticulous. He disassembles every piece of every part of the engine and accessories and checks every piece for wear and tolerances. John has no fear. He disassembles everything to the smallest piece. When he took the UUR-2 carburetor apart, for example, every single jet was removed, cleaned and checked for tolerance. I remember thinking that if anything happens to him before he reassembles, I'm in trouble. I've worked around engineers and technicians throughout my career and I observed that John has an extraordinary mechanical aptitude and memory and he can reassemble parts taken apart more that a year previously with little reference to photos or notes. It's fun to watch.

I took the engine and transmission to Cislak's at the end of October of 2003 when he finished work on another project and was available to start the rebuild of my engine. John is primarily a one-man shop and as is true with all small shops, he must keep two or more projects active at a time in order to have other work when the inevitable hold-ups waiting for parts or services occur. This period of the restoration was characterized by a single serial activity at a relatively casual pace. The pace would accelerate at an accelerating rate. At the time we had not yet come to grips with the magnitude of the restoration of the remainder of the car to meet the Williamstown, Mass. PAS 2007 deadline.

John is compulsive (in a good sense) about cleaning. Every engine part was cleaned professionally then re-cleaned by John (or his helpers) prior to painting and/or reassembly. His secret weapon is carburetor cleaner. He loves carburetor cleaner. One example of his thoroughness is the water jacket. We felt that the junk inside the block had to be cleaned really well if we were to have a reliable car that wouldn't heat up when driven in hot weather. John had me buy a 3/8 inch thick steel plate, 8 1/2 wide by 36 inches long and drill 28 holes for head bolts. We used this to seal the block while we soaked it with muratic acid (mild hydrochloric acid). This process was used to make sure the internal and inaccessible water jacket passages were clean of rust and deposits. I also had a new honeycone radiator made by Chuck Niles of Topsham Radiator in Maine. These two decisions seem to have been worthwhile investments because the restored car has never gotten above the midpoint of the temperature gauge.

Figure 1 depicts the events leading to the restoration of the engine. Most of those reading this article have been through an engine rebuild so I will only outline some of the key decisions we made and why. First, we decided to put connecting rod insert bearings in the engine. I believe connecting rod bearings are a main limitation to sustained high speeds in early cars. In order to implement this we made a fixture to hold the rods while they were machined for a good side face. We welded a bead on the side then machined the rod on a milling machine. We decided on new forged pistons and cast iron rings. We made new valves from modern valves machined for length and modern keepers. We also put in new valve guides. The engine cylinders had already been bored .030 over and we took them to .040" over size. This cleaned them up nicely. We cut .046" off the head to straighten it and decked the block. This increased the compression a little but not significantly.

The crank was reground and John personally align bored the main bearings on his own machine. This was a fascinating process to watch. John has a special feel for getting this right. We sent the pressure plate and clutch to Ft. Wayne Clutch after cleaning. It came back in two weeks and looked great. We used stainless steel cylinder head bolts and buffed them. We had some of the other special exposed engine bolts made by Tioga Stainless and had some of the other engine/accessory parts plated.

As I mentioned earlier, the radiator was "condemned" based on flow rate and we had an authentic honeycone radiator made. The core material is made only in England or Australia. It took over 19 months to get the finished product back. It looked great but we had several adjustments to get a good fit. The carburetor needed a new throttle shaft made oversize to ensure a fit free of air leaks. The generator required rewinding field coils. We decided later that we needed new, modern rod bolts, new valve springs and we ended up having to use two rods and several valve blocks from my spare engine ( more on that later ). We tried to match the original light gray paint on the block as closely as possible.

The engine reciprocating and rotating pieces were done by the end of February, 2005. The last step prior to final assemble was to send the parts to Lindscog Balancing in Boxboro, Mass. for static and dynamic balancing. Lindscog does race car engines, turbines and other high tech projects. They are very good. After a week Willard White of Lindscog called to tell us that the rod weights varied too much to balance. We knew the engine had seen hard times because the rods are numbered and there were three 8's! This is not a good sign. It means that three different engines gave up rods for this car. We decided to take my spare engine apart. This was no trivial job. It had sat for a long time outside and clearly didn't want to come apart. After new rods were taken out of the engine, they had to be welded and machined. We lost three months with this change. I believe balancing the engine has contributed significantly to the smoothness and the useable RPM of this engine. It was worth the effort.

It was August 2, 2005, two years to the day after we removed the engine from the car, that we mounted the engine and transmission on a dolly. It looked great and I thought it was truly an object of art. The rebuild was done very thoroughly so I was convinced it would perform as well as it looked. It would be September 28, 2006, more than a year later, and three years into the restoration, until we had an opportunity to start the engine.

While the engine was being restored the body/chassis was sitting at my home waiting for its time in the sun. I had ordered a new enclosed trailer and as soon as it was available in May 2005 we loaded the car in the trailer and headed to M & S Auto. Steve Bono agreed to paint the body and to coordinate the upholstery and top restoration at the Sensenig's. The Sensenig's are Amish (Mennonites to be precise). They don't own a car. They do quality work and it is a family affair. You get Marvin, his wife Lydia, the seamstress, and all of their three boys have contributed at one time or another. They use electric sewing machines and pneumatic staplers but their work ethic is exemplary. They are genuinely nice people and it was easy working with them.

On June 3, 2007 when I first returned to Bono's the first task was to take the car from Steves's to the Sensenig's where we removed the upholstery. I felt it important to have the people who were going to restore the interior be the ones to disassemble it. Steve and I helped and took pictures of the process. After the interior was removed the car went back to Bono's shop for removal of the body from the chassis. We took the bumpers, fenders, runningboards, doors, steering gear/steering wheel, top, lights, windshield, and dash, off and mounted the body on a moveable dolly. Everything except the wheels, exhaust, rear end, driveshaft and harness had been removed. I remember looking at it and thinking "I took a magnificent, almost original car, and turned it into a pile of parts; what have I done?"

Steve continued to work on the body using Kwik Poly to seal the wood and doing body work as required. Meanwhile I planned to take the chassis back to Rhode Island and get it ready to take to Cislak's for painting and restoration of the chassis including the exhaust, brakes, steering gear, front end, springs/covers/shackles, rear end, drive shaft, gas tank/lines, installation of the wiring harness and finally installation of the engine into the chassis.

Steve and I decided that the wire wheels would be powder coated at Best Powder Coating in Utica, N.Y. We sand blasted and powder coated the wheels. We then rubbed them out just like a primer or paint and did them again in red and finally with a clear. The result was very nice. Wire wheels can be difficult to paint. The spokes always have a shadow from another spoke that either creates a run or light paint. It takes a lot of time to get good painted wheels. Powder coating on the other hand does not spray paint, but uses an electrostatic charge to coat the area with powder, which is then melted. The powder will even go around corners to attach to the charged metal. This greatly reduces the cost of "painting" wire wheels and the results are very nice.

Best Powder Coating can do frames also and similar advantages are true. The difficulty with painting a frame is that the paint doesn't want to blow into the square of the inside of the frame. If I had to do it over again, I might have powder coated the frame too.

On June 6, 2005 back in Rhode Island I started chassis disassembly for cleaning. I removed the harness, exhaust and gas tank and cleaned the chassis up before delivering to Cislak. The chassis was incredibly greasy with years of oil covered by dust and dirt, etc. Bono recommended oven cleaner for grease and paint removal. I took the chassis to a friend's shop where we didn't have to worry about mess and lifted one end of the frame in the air with an engine lift. I sprayed the oven cleaner, then removed it with a power washer. Oven cleaner is a very strong alkali and is dangerous to use. I covered myself with a hooded overall, facemask, goggles and double gloves and went at it. It worked great, but I got a drip under one of the gloves and it got to my skin. By the time I got it washed off, it had burned to a third degree. Drips on the underside were the problem (don't spray up - ever). I did finish it and it came out very, very clean. I have three scars to remind me of my educational experience and a sore ear from my wife Nancy's ear massage.

I delivered the chassis to Cislak on September 5, 2005. We disassembled the front end, removed the rear end and axles, so that we had a bare frame. The first step for reassembly was one more cleaning, sand blasting and painting of the frame. It came out great and we installed the junction boxes, conduit and wiring harness, exhaust, gas tank, electric fuel pump (emergency for starting or vapor lock) and made a right hand tail light bracket (we put on turn signals for safety). We got new king pins from Scott Stasny, new tie rod ends and worked on other front-end parts. The steering gear looked very good and only needed a good cleaning and reassembly. We did the brakes and matched the curvature of the new shoes to the turned drums. We put the gas tank on along with new King Seeley tubing. We cleaned the rear end and decided that the 4.07 rear end was fine for the car. It travels 60 MPH quite comfortably, and I suspect I will leave it as it is.

The springs turned out to be a very difficult part of the restoration. We sent the springs to Eaton Detroit Springs to make new ones, front and rear. The right rear had been broken and had a truck spring in it. We wanted the springs to spec, right down to the rolled, tapered leaves with the proper leaf thicknesses. Dave Coco provided his rear spring as a sample. I used one of my fronts as a sample. All of the fronts in 1931 are the same. The rears vary from model to model. The fronts came from Eaton with no problems. The rears required making a leaf thickness that was no longer available. We had to get a thicker leaf piece and grind it down. When the rears arrived the arch was not quite right and the tapering was not correct. We re-arched the leaves, and reground the leaf ends by hand then made the covers(gaiters) to finish them off. We then put the wheels and rear end on and hooked up the brakes. Lastly we lowered the engine in position attached the pedals and loaded the car in the trailer to take to Bono's for installation of the body.

On April 4, 2006 the chassis was returned to Bono's where he had diligently been stripping and priming the body. When Bono stripped the car and got a good look at it the body was in incredibly good shape. There was no wood rot anywhere to be observed by our critical inspection. There was no rust anywhere, except surface staining where the paint had cracked. We later found one area in one fender well that was thin and needed to be removed and fixed. The engine was really beat but the body was remarkably good. We decided on black and metallic silver for the body paint. We wanted the elegant understated look. I would later learn that metallic silver is a tough color to paint or repair. We decided on red wheels and red leather interior with a fine red pin stripe. I was pleased with these choices when the car was done. Paint colors are really important. I sprayed a dozen samples before settling on the final choice. I used 2' by 3' cardboard (big is important) and put the primer underneath (primer can change color) before I was convinced it was what I wanted.

We mounted the body back on the chassis, installed the doors and began aligning the radiator, hood, and doors. This is a very slow and tedious process and finally on April 10, 2006 we took the car to Sensenig's for the installation of the leather interior. We discovered that the upholstery in the car was not original so we needed to make certain that the new interior would be authentic. We called on two good PAS members, Phil Marshall of Kendall, N.Y. and Dave Coco of Winchester, Virginia. Steve and I went and visited Phil. Dave sent digital photos of his interior. They were identical and both are 1931, Model 43 Phaetons, the same as my vehicle. Unless they were restored by the same guy (they weren't) that is pretty good evidence. It's great to have such good members in the club.

On June 3, 2006, the body returned to Cislak's where we finished the chassis work including making new floorboards, modifying the exhaust to solve an interference problem, rebuilding the shock absorbers and working on the windshield. We started preparing for putting the top on including making rivets for the top irons, having Mel Draper of Mel's leather in Jeromesville, Ohio, make new steam bent top bows and Matt Patrie of J & M polishing in Wilbraham, Mass. plate the top irons.

The first week of October, 2006, we finally were in a position where we could start and run the engine. This was exciting. We put external temperature and oil pressure gauges on and started the engine. It started well, but made a racket. It turned out to be the starter, which wouldn't release. After a small adjustment it sounded good with 40 PSI of oil pressure. The fan belt was tight and the engine quieted down when we backed off the tension a little. John adjusted the carburetor and it was better still. Finally after it had fully warmed up John readjusted the valves "hot" and it really began to purr. I was thrilled and I was impressed with the deep rumble of the engine. It sounded great. Just before we loaded the car on November 6, 2006 to take to Bono's we had a chance to drive it. It ran great and drove with the powerful and distinctive sound of a classic Pierce-Arrow. I was excited and John Cislak was proud of his achievement on the engine, and the power and smoothness of the car.

On November 6, 2006 we loaded the car in the trailer and took the car back to New York for installation of the top. The top was finished January 3, 2007 and finally our project looked like a car. All it needed was fenders. But the fenders couldn't be put on until the runningboards and moldings were finished. Cislak and Patrie were doing these in Massachusetts.

Finally on March 29, 2007, the runningboards were done and it was back to New York for final assembly of the body. After a week of fitting and assembly the car was finished. Steve Bono is a morning person working from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. He is like the Energizer Bunny. We made a lot of progress in a short time.

While we were waiting for runningboards at Bono's we had gone ahead with assembly of the trunk, installing seat belts ( I have grandkids-no belts, no rides say Mommies ) and pin striping, so that we could start installation of the fenders and final wrap up in New York. By this time it was early February in central New York State. This is not a good time to travel there and 2007 proved to be a record setter for snow in the area. Steve Bono plows snow and has a list of customers that he has done for many years. He gets up at 3:00 a.m. to plow and it usually takes till 9:30 p.m. to finish. He would let me in his shop at 6:00 a.m. and then come back at 9:30 and work with me until 6:30 p.m. He'd then go home and do it all over again the next day. That's a good shop and a good friend.

On one visit in February 2006, it had snowed extensively in central New York State, mostly lake-effect snow north of Bouckville near Lake Ontario. We had made an appointment for Mike Hubbard of Pulaski, N.Y. to do the pin striping. I wanted a 3/64" stripe per P-A spec. Mike agreed to come on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Mike called at 9:30 and said he had to delay for a day because he had 5 feet of snow on the roof of his house and he was concerned that it would collapse. The next day he called at 9:30 and said he would be an hour late. They got three more feet of snow overnight. He said they had 105 inches of snow in the previous 8 days. He made it as promised and finished the pin striping.

Working with Steve Bono has been a very positive experience. Steve has run his own businesses for many years while raising a family. He's had several successful businesses including truck repair, radiator repair, auto body paint, retail auto parts, snow plowing and antiques. Several years ago he decided to restore antique cars, mostly brass era. My car is about as new as he cares to do. Because of his previous successes, diversity, and his own temperament he is happy doing antique car restoration. He comes to work because he loves it not because he has to. He takes problems as challenges and he makes working with him enjoyable . His part time staff of John, Monte, Darrell, Gabe and Jim reflect his personality. Steve is tireless and stops only when the task is right. He has taken several cars to the AACA Hershey car show and has never failed to win first place with an entry.

Bouckville, N.Y. is a very small town about 320 miles from my home. Because of the distance I tended to visit for 3 or 4 days at a time. Steve is a highly respected businessman and member of the community. When I mentioned at a motel, restaurant, or service station that I was working with Steve Bono, I was immediately accepted as a good guy and one of them. To this day towns people still ask when the guy form Rhode Island is coming back.

I brought the car back to Cislak's on May 9, 2007 for final clean up, test drives, and the infamous "punch list". The punch list included installing the instruments, wipers, headlights, side mount tires/hardware, wing vents, front-end alignment, brake adjustment, and a myriad of other things. We also put 400 miles on the car traveling to Belchertown and Palmer, Mass. for test runs. There were 83 items on our punch list. John is the perfect guy to finish the punch list. He is very detailed and committed to a flawless effort. On May 16, 2007 I brought the car home and did some final clean up. I replaced the leather hood corners, fixed the King Seeley gas gauge with Bob Koch's help, installed the doorsills and painted the hubcaps. We finished on June 23, 2007 at 10 p.m. and left for the meet at 6:30 the following morning.

I thought the car did look good when finished and its performance was all that I had hoped. As most of you know, it won first in its class at the 2007 PAS Meet. I also received many nice comments from PAS members. These made the work all worthwhile.

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The car being discussed is a magnificent restoration. It is identical to my Model 43 Pierce phaeton, and we were side by side at a show in 2007. Mine on the left, two tone gray, his, on the right, silver with black fenders.

The picture makes both cars look good, but I can tell you that my car pales in comparison with the fit, finish, and quality of the one discussed above. It is absolutely perfect.

The difference? I did my restoration, on an old (1960) restored car. Engine work by a local friend who does such things, paint by a friend with a local body shop, upholstery and top by me. All very nice, and all very reasonable (I did the restoration mid 1990's, and I'll tell you that my total investment in paint, upholstery, engine work, and some chrome (bumpers, radiator shell, small stuff) is less than $20,000).

As mentioned before, doing that work at a professional shop, add a zero to that number, and then some. Yes, results are better at a professional shop. My car is, however, very nice, and a great tour car, and suits my needs.

A lot of your approach to a restoration has to do with what work you can do yourself, who you may know in the business, and, last but not least, how well your pen writes checks that are cashable.......!!


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Thanks Ed...and just to be clear, I'm not jealous of, nor criticizing the, owner of the other car for his meticulous approach to restoration...in fact he and I are friends....the journal of his restoration is fascinating to read, the hours put in research and making everything correct, incredible. A wonderful restoration on a great car (although I'm somewhat prejudiced.....)

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Yes, I've seen pictures of that '29 Pierce restoration, on the Pierce Arrow Society website I believe. Incredible to see what he started with and what he ended with, a beautiful car.

What I like is that, 50 years from now, someone will look at that car and say "boy, someone really took care of that car, must have sat in a garage all its life...."

Of course, the same fate will befall the rebodied Classics.....50 years from now, they're all real.....

Brad, I'm still curious what model and year Pierce this gentleman is considering restoring?

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Guest Silverghost

The Pierce~Arrow that he owns is a Series 36 with that big old long stroke dual valve, twin ignition six !

What changes were made from the Series 33 to Series 36 ? Was this the same basic big long stroke six engine used on both series cars ?

You Pierce~Arrow guys know more than WE do !

I also do not know very much about their body style names at this time ~~~but this car is a very big open 7 passenger touring drop-top car !

It has great lines for a car of this era~~~

It is a very big impressve and attractive auto !

It was also a VERY costly auto when bought new !

Why are these autos not more popular and in higher demand as compared to the early 1930s Pierce~Arrows ?

There was a very similar car that was being sold by Platinum Classics at their Hershey fleamarket booth about at least 8-10 years ago.

That car had been partially pulled-apart at one time in an aborted restoration attempt~~~ The paint was totally stripped from that car.

Do you guys remember it ?

Is there a photographic factory catalog listing or factory advert . of very large open body styles for this era ?

Did Pierce~Arrow build all the coachwork in-house ; or did they also use outside coachbuilders ?

How about custom coachwork ?

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)
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Guest Silverghost

Bob Robinson was just suggested as another possible restorer. I know Bob and have seen his great workmanship. Bob restored a fantastic early Pierce~Arrow for himself some years back that was utterly spectacular !

He later made the rounds of the various Concours Venues with his simply stunning green Pierce~Arrow .

Is he still in the restoration business ?

His shop is about 50 min. away from our area.

His brother Dick Robinson has a restoration shop only 5 min from me here in Huntingdon Valey PA ! Dick mostly restores Corvettes & musclecars. He had done a number of restoration jobs for my former backyard neighbor the late William "Bill" Ludwig a GTO , Corvette, & a 70s Cadillac Converible !

We also remember their late Father's car collection !

If Bob Robinson is still in the restoration busines he is another fine restorer to add to the now infamous "Short List" ~~~

It's really a shame that he is not located a bit closer to my old buddy the Doctor !

The now infamous "Short List" is growing a a snail's pace !

What other high quality restoration shops are close to our area & are experienced in autos like this Pierce~Arrow ?

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)
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Robinson is still in the restoration business. His son is currently doing most of the work in the business. His work is as fine as his father's. We were at their shop with a tour group about 2 years ago. They were working on a big brass ear Packard at the time.

You should have seen the early REO Bob restored for himself recently. It looked like something you should park in the living room, not the garage. Magnificent.

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My opinion, I think your friend should have the car looked over by some of the Pierce folks and determine if it is better off left alone and repaired as a Driver. It sounds like it would be a canidate for the Historic Preservation Class. Restoration is not always the answer to preservation of a well built and beautiful automobile.

After more than 40 years of pulling wrenches, I can tell you that the stuff on TV is a lot of balony. Sure you can do it if you have every little piece that you need, when you need it, ready to go, as with the so called "Restoration of a Hot Rod TV story." Don't eat, sleep, drink or take any breaks and you can build a "Hot Rod" with a warehouse full of parts at you disposal in a week. But something of the caliber of a Pierce will not happen that fast.

Also, as others have said, not everything will be done "In house." Some things will need to be sent out.

Cars are only original once. I think I would try to convince him that it may not need a restoration if it is very nice now. A good cleaning will often bring out a very presentable automobile. Get someone knowledgable to get it up and running, or to at least determine mechanical issues if there are any, before jumping into a complete tear down and restoration on a car that may be more "historically valuable" preserved as is.

I hope you have him looking at this disscussion and reading it, If not, he should read it because there is a lot of good stuff posted here that he should consider before taking a giant leap. My 2 cent's. Dandy Dave!

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Brad,,,I think there are 5 times as many Ghosts as dual valve Pierces,,,Would you prefer a local shop,,,or one that knew a camel hair clutch lining from a brick,,and was around the corner,,

I wish these dual valve cars had the old 4 speed trans',,and were geard a bit taller,,

If given the choice,,choose a 1915 48 or66,,

Once a'while there will be a sales cat or owners book on e/b

Like any company offering chassis,,the body were in house or custom,,,I had a 1928 Judkins landeaulet coupe[ the quarter folded,,]Nice car,,all the way through,,Cheers Ben,,oh yes,,tell your friend to get a better qualified butler,[smile][re post#20],CB

Edited by cben09 (see edit history)
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In the 1990's I serviced a number of restored and original cars. It was a good business not to restore cars; instead I fixed the things the restoration shops overlooked. I used to tell my customers to add up their restoration bills and figure they were about 90% to a car that would steer, start, and stop. The accuracy of that math was incredible!

Anyway, I am reminded of a customer who had an original 1950 Hudson Commodore 8. He would let the car sit for long periods which made it hard to start after sitting. He had come to the conclusion that the engine needed to be rebuilt. It was worn but fine. We were walking across the yard from my shop one day going over the engine rebuild and he stopped right in his tracks. He said "Look, I'm not going to let you talk any sense into me!"

The car still sits for long periods of time, hard to start after long periods, and the engine has not been rebuilt. I would not rebuild his engine unnecessarily.

Just as the terms of this topic restoration would not be acceptable to a good restorer.

You have your hands full trying to keep your friend from screwing himself. Probably the best thing would be to sell it as a reality show about a cantankerous doctor.

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A Series 36 would definitely be a worth restoration candidate, but I also believe that someone should look the car over and see what it takes to conserve it, if it's in good enough condition. Then it could be used and enjoyed without worry of a random scratch.

the Series 36 was a hundred horsepower,, 414 cu. in. T-head, 24-valve, six-cylinder engine, quite a beast........

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Guest Silverghost

Quite a"Beast" indeed !

I have already offered to have the car brought over to my home garage/shop so I can put her on my low-rise 30" Rotary lift .

I would go through the engine~~~

Drop the oil pan~~~

Clean out any old oil sludge, Oil Pick_up Clean the oil passages~~~

Pull the main & rod bearing caps one-by-one and plasti-gauge them while I have the bottom-end open etc.

Check-out valve gear~~~

Check-out twin ignition systems~~~replace condensors ~~~ Clean & gap points , clean distributor contacts.

Clean Fuel system, gas tank, carb Clean & rebuild~~~

Check-out fuel system pressure pumps etc.

Check-out brakes~~~

Clean-up brake drums~~~

Check & repair brake system as needed etc~~~

Mount new tires & tubes~~~

Check Charging system & polarize generator, new battery etc~~~

Chainge Gearbox & rear lube Lube Chassis , etc !

Do a compression & leak-down check after It's Up & Running.

Check coolng system, hoses, pump packing, check for any leaks etc.

In short~~~Put her in running shape~~~

Might take a month or two~~~or Three to do this~~~

But~~~ Hopefully~~~Without finding any real problems the car should be roadworthy in the early Spring ~~~~

I would do all of this for FREE~~~

He would only have to pay for needed parts, battery , tires & tubes, oil & gear lube etc !

We (My late Father & I) have done this a couple of dozen times over the years on other Antiques & Classics that had been sleeping for years !

Now all I have to do is twist his arm into having me do all of this !

I need a project anyway to try and get over the grief of loosing my Father !

I have been deeply depressed since he passed-away~~~

It might help take my mind off of things~~~ And My buddy the Dr. would be able to help me do this in my home garage if he wishes to do so ! He lives just 5 min. away !

I think this would be a good deal for BOTH of us at this point !

He would at least know Finally what he has here~~~

It might also help him decide which way to go on a possible future restoration~~~

If I owned this Series 36~~~

It would be a Driver-Survivor!

I am not a Pierce~Arrow expert by ANY means~~~

But as a good Mechanic & Mechanical Engineer I know I should be able to safely do all of this~~~

Without doing ANY harm to this great touring car.

I also have all you Pierce~Arrow guys to fall-back on if I get into any stickey trouble issues~~~

What do all my Fellow Forum Member Friends think about this Idea ?

I appreciate your Opinions & Ideas !

Edited by Silverghost (see edit history)
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I think that's a great idea, and a wonderful offer, Brad..and please get your friend to take you up on it....worst case from his standpoint is he delays the restoration a few months...best case is it turns out to be a nice original driving car...and the plus is he can visit you daily without it turning into a bill!

I did the same thing on a car, a fellow had a rare car, wouldn't sell, I offered to got through it and get it running for costs only, it's a good experience.

I spent a lot of time up in Pennsylvania a few years ago working at Penn Maid and Rosenberger's dairy processing plants, wish I'd knew you were up there would have visited!

Now I'm traveling to California too much....

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