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Connection between Peerless and Bucciali ?

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I read that during the Peerless Corporation's last years they were in discussion with Bucciali about jointly producing a front-wheel-drive car. I didn't write down the source, unfortunately. Maybe someone else has read it.

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After the 1929 crash and the luxury car market died the new President of Peerless Motor Car (Bohannon) was searching for another product. The connection between Bucciali and Peerless may have been the Continental engine company. Continental was a major stock holder of Peerless and had tried to take over control of the Company. This is the reason Peerless started using Continental instead of their own engines. Continental was also supplying Buccialli with engines. However, Bohannon wanted to make something that everyone could afford:---------------------BEER

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I found the source for something about Peerless and Bucciali: ConceptCarz.com [This site has 14 articles on individual Peerless cars, with photos].

On www.conceptcarz.com, there's a feature about a 1932 Bucciali "TAV 12"(TAV stands for Traction Avant, one of the earliest front-wheel-drive automobile designs). In paragraph 11, it describes how they exhibited a "TAV 3" with an 8-Cyl. Continental engine at the 1929 Paris Motor Show, then toured the U.S with it, showing the advantages of front wheel drive. While the Bucciali brothers were doing this, "An agreement was signed with Peerless which allowed them to use the design." Bucciali would distribute the car in Europe. This would have been a big deal for Bucciali, as they had only completed six cars between 1926-1932, despite their advanced technology and good publicity at car shows. The Bucciali Freres Company was a French carmaker and engineering firm that started out with supercharged 4-cylinder cars in 1922.

In paragraph 14, it says that in the early Thirties, Peerless ended the agreement with Bucciali.

In paragraph 17 it says Bucciali received a U.S. patent & licensed the design to Peerless Motor Car Corporation. Peerless never used the license.

Edited by jeff_a
corrected spelling of website (see edit history)

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Thanks for the info

I had seen the above article. If there is any more info i would love to here it. Any info on Bucciali not posted to the internet would also be appreciated.

Thanks

Allan L

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I have gone through all my Peerless archives and all I can find is that Bohannon was negotiating with a European company in 1930 to produce a front wheel drive car. The article did not mention the name of the car company. The president and vice president of Continental Motors purchased a large block of Peerless stock and had tried to take over Peerless at the time. There was a rumor in 1930 that Peerless may be moved to Detroit. I do not know the connection that Buccialli had with Continental Motors but that may be what started the negotiations with Peerless.

RHL

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I know that a few Bucciali had continental motors in them. Including a chassis called the Double Huit that had 2 of them side by side. Not sure if it ever made it into production or if they ever figured out how to make it work. I am fascinated with the front wheel drive cars of the 30s. and the Bucciali because of its rarity

Thanks

Allan L

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I think a car would need 2 Continentals to develop enough horsepower to compete with the better high end competition.

I had never heard about the Continental acquisition attempt. It was a mistake, in my opinion, to go so heavily into Continental 6's and 8's. The so-called Collins 6 was superior and Peerless should have continued to develop the in-house V8.

Perhaps Peerless should have gone FWD and aligned with Bucciali.

During the first world war Peerless did build fwd trucks under contract for FWD of Wisconsin. I do agree with you about the engines. Peerless had some very good engineers, the problem was all the stock take-overs and management changes that screwed things up. The Collins Six was designed by Cadillac and evidently Cadillac didn't buy it so Collins brought it to Peerless with another buy out and take-over, but that's another story. The Peerless V-8 was a very good engine but they dropped it in favor of the straight 8. That may have had something to do with the narrower hood designs. Peerless was one of the first with 4 wheel hydraulic brakes in 1924 but went back to mechanical brakes in 1930.

No one can answer that one. If only we could find the Peerless archives----then we would be able to answer some of these questions.

RHL

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I think we need to look at the big picture. Peerless had been selling eights for 14 years in 1929 and already had straight eights for a year, just like Pierce. The V-12 and V-16 engines were already in development, probably helped along by James Bohannon switching from Marmon to Peerless, where they were doing the exact same thing. Peerless was positioning itself for a 1933 lineup of aluminum V-16 & V-12 cars with Murphy coachwork, and probably the three or four lines of straight eights with coachwork designed by Sakhnoffsky, Continental-powered, that debuted in 1930. Add to that the possibility of a front wheel drive Bucciali-Peerless eight and you have a real technological tour-de-force. I've read that President Bohannon even tried to buy Murphy Body Company.

The stock market crash took away a lot of the automobile sales boom that was the Roaring Twenties in October, 1929 and car sales probably only looked good if your lot was called "Plymouth", "Chevrolet", "Ford" or "Used". Remember, there were entire car lots back then where nothing was over $25. Not only was it a bad environment for luxury cars that Peerless planned to sell, a lot of the competition went out of business, too, while Peerless was bottling millions of dollars worth of beer. Bye-bye Franklin, Marmon, Pierce-Arrow, and Stutz. Don't forget Auburn, Cord, Duesenberg, Du Pont, Elcar, Jordan, Locomobile, Ruxton, Springfield Rolls-Royce, and Stearns-Knight. The American auto industry only has about a 1% company survival rate, so even without the Great Depression, these 15 U.S. luxury car makers may not have survived too well, either.

Edited by jeff_a (see edit history)

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Imperial62 said:
I think a car would need 2 Continentals to develop enough horsepower to compete with the better high end competition.

I had never heard about the Continental acquisition attempt. It was a mistake, in my opinion, to go so heavily into Continental 6's and 8's. The so-called Collins 6 was superior and Peerless should have continued to develop the in-house V8.

Perhaps Peerless should have gone FWD and aligned with Bucciali.

I don't know how many people read this more esoteric stuff about Peerless, but you brought up the subject of Continental Motors. Put yourself at a Peerless Motor Car Co. board meeting in late 1925. The Chairman of the Board, Peerless, was also President of Continental Motors. It might be a hard sell to say the planned 6-60 and 6-80 lines (and later 8-125 and Standard/Master/Custom lines) were going to be a mistake. Like Richard says, the archives are all missing, but visualize, if you will, a gleaming new Peerless Museum....let's put it in Hickory Corners, MI....with a dozen vehicles in the Peerless Collection AND a complete Peerless Library*. If we had that, we could see sales figures for the company each year. I'm guessing the Peerless-with-Continental-engine sales would be in the neighborhood of $55,000,000 with 38,287 cars sold. That's a fraction of the total sales for Peerless cars, which might have been $300,000,000+, but a big fraction.

Again, going to the Archives section of this Peerless Museum {dreamed-up, regrettably}, you might come up with some astonishing figures for the Cadillac/Collins/Peerless Superb Six-engined cars: sales of around $32,000,000 and 14,719 units. Trying to find figures for Peerless V-8-engined cars in all their versions gets you in the ballpark of $98,000,000 and 34,000 cars over thirteen years. Pretty good for some guys who were selling three- and four-wheeled Motorettes with French one-cylinder engines in 1900 and 1901!**

I'm glad that you appreciate the 1924-29 Superb Six and 1916-28 Vee-Type Eight engines. They have their pluses, and I like them, too, but Continental built robust and well-designed motors as well -- including aircraft engines from 1906 to the present. It would be difficult to make a case that fine cars didn't use outside engine builders. Of the sixteen luxury makes listed in my last post, all but four purchased engines from specialty engine builders Lycoming or Continental at one time or another. Most of the Peerlesses you have been interested in buying in the last nine years have Continental engines(one 1927 6-60; one 1926, two 1927, and one 1928 6-80; and one 1929 6-81). I kind of like the corporate connection between Peerless and Continental and how Continental carries on the Peerless name a little since they're still in business (as is Lycoming), last time I heard. The same with Carling Black Label --- still brewed in Ohio --- though the cans no longer say: "A Wholly Owned Subsidiary of the Peerless Corporation", as the bottles used to in 1934.

---- Jeff

* With all the drums of archives James Bohannon gave to the Cleveland Public Library in 1946. By the way, I'm visualizing, none of this is real or on the drawing board. For conversational purposes only.

** The same scheme fellow bicycle-maker Pierce used to get into the auto industry.

P.S.: The above guesses of Peerless Motor Car Co. sales figures are a little on the low side, IMO. The "Superb Six" cars production I multiplied by $2,200 - but some sold for over $3,200 (never listed under $1,895). The variations of the V-8 sold as low as $1,895 - as high as $4,400. I used an average of $2,800 for the V-8s. The company would have been paid for parts, accessories, delivery, custom bodies, etc...all in addition to my bottom line estimate of two hundred million dollars. Also left out are sales & earnings from Peerless' first 15 years of luxury car building[estimate: 23,209 units]; and trucks. I would love to see the real sales figures. By the way, that little number 23,209 would represent 45 to 100 million dollars.

Edited by jeff_a
Insight into Peerless Motor Car Corporation sales. Would make a great master's thesis topic for someone in business school. (see edit history)

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