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What became of the straight eight engine tooling?


58L-Y8
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Reading late company history named Seagrave as the buyer of the twelve cylinder engine tooling, built the engine until the late 1960's.

So, the question is, did another company buy the straight eight engine tooling at the 1938 auction and build engines with it?

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I believe Seagrave bought tooling for both 8 and 12 at the 1938 auction, as there were straight eight engines installed in many later fire trucks. The biggest visual difference is the redundant ignition system required on emergency vehicles at the time, thus there were 16 spark plugs and all the associated electrical to go with that change.

There are numerous Pierce Arrows running Seagraves engines. I once tried to purchase locally a 1936 convertible coupe V-12, it was in an estate, and I couldn't convince the executors that the value of the car was greatly diminished by having the wrong engine, though it was still a desirable car. It had a Seagrave V-12 in it instead of the original Pierce engine. I made them an offer, they laughed at it, then transported the car 1000 miles to an auction and got $8000 more than my offer....

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Hi Trimacar

Thanks for the answer, I've seen Seagraves with their modified version of the Pierce Twelve but can't recall any with the straight eight. That might be because I just missed the few left that have them. Seagrave must have bought the tools and dies for those engines very cheaply.

One reason I ask was an old-time collector here years ago swore the Pierce straight eight engine tooling was bought by Packard to create their 356 ci engine for 1940. I have no idea how he got that idea but it was just one of the choice bits of "inside" knowledge he was glad to retell.

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His story of Pierce engines in Packards is right up there with the comment I heard about my Packard, fellow walked by and told his son "look, a Packard, the only European car to be built in the United States!"

Now, had my car been a Rolls Canardly, that's another story.

There's a 1940 Packard 160 convertible sedan sitting in my garage now, that's no Pierce block in it, I assure you....

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Hi Trimacar

Yes indeed, some of those self-anointed old car experts of yesteryear came up with some crazy tales. From what I recall about him, if he were still with us, you could show him your 160's engine, point out how it differed from the Pierce and he'd still argue he was right! He definitely was one who wasn't to be persuaded with facts........!

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Pierce Arrow was owned by Studebaker from 1928-33. The straight 8 engine introduced by Pierce Arrow in 1929 was very similar to the 1929 Studebaker 337 cu in engine, but the Pierce version had larger displacement. It is likely that the block castings were nearly identical. Both engines were cast in the Studebaker foundry in South Bend, IN. The Studebaker version had a bore of 3.5" and a stroke of 4.375". The Pierce engine had the same bore, stroke was 4.75", for a displacement of 366 cu in. The Pierce engines had a slightly different cylinder head. Because of Studebaker's receivership in 1933, their big straight 8 was discontinued. I don't know if the tooling survived for Pierce to use after that.

The guy who knows the answers is John Cislak of Classic Auto Restoration in Indian Orchard, MA. He's on the forum as edinmass.

Here's a photo of one of the engines that Ed rebuilt:

post-47871-143142932234_thumb.jpg

See the rest of the story about the restoration of a 1931 Pierce Arrow here: http://www.pierce-arrow.org/features/feature19/

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There is VERY little that is the same or interchangeable between the Studebaker big 8 cylinder and the Pierce 8 cylinder engine. Maybe some things like valves, valve guides, I think the head gasket.

A Pierce straight 8 engine has 9 main bearings, the Studebaker engine did not. The Pierce engine was much beefier, and this is why Seagraves was still selling fire engines in the late 1960's with a Pierce straight 8 engine. It had an interesting dual distributor, 16 spark plugs, a different carburetor, and a governor system on the carb so it would run at a give rpm to run the big water pump for pumper trucks.

Greg Long.

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When originally introduced in 1928, the Studebaker engine had five main bearings, but it was quickly changed to 9 main bearings. The smaller Studebaker 250 cu in straight 8 engine (1929-42) also had 9 main bearings. Both engines did very well at Indianapolis.

Here's a 1931 Studebaker 337 cu in engine, courtesy of Second Chance Garage. Compare to the photo above. Count the bolt heads on the water manifold cover, for example. It isn't the same engine as the Pierce, but they are closely related.

post-47871-143142932895_thumb.jpg

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Hi Gary

You raise an interesting point, the Studebaker President engine was five main bearing from 1928 through 1930, then changed to a nine main bearing engine for 1931, same as the Pierce-Arrow. One wonders what the motivation or need to do so was? Hendry described how the Pierce engine casting were different from the Studebaker. But given the drastic drop in sales as the Depression set in, perhaps the companies found it more cost-affective to rough cast one block that could be used by both?

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There is always debate and it's a touchy subject sometimes, between Pierce and Studebaker devotees.

Studebaker acquired Pierce stock in August of 1928. In December of 1928, the first Pierce 8 cylinder engines were available in the 1929 production year Pierce Arrows. Thus, the development of the new 9 main bearing straight eight was almost entirely done by Pierce engineers.

An interesting side note is that an 8 cylinder block had a casting date in July of 1928, which means that Studebaker was casting Pierce designed engines BEFORE the stock buy-out was even completed!!

Here's some good reading from the Pierce Arrow Society website (see, we're so proud of our cars, we have a SOCIETY, not just a Club!!)

http://www.pierce-arrow.org/features/feature12/index.php

Edited by trimacar (see edit history)
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I went looking for something else in my file drawer today, but came across this article from the Antique Studebaker Review, Jan-Feb 1983, comparing the Pierce Arrow and Studebaker straight 8 engines. It was written by Bill Cannon, one of the founders of the Antique Studebaker Club. Bill got into a very detailed comparison of interchangeable parts between the two engines. Since neither engine is common or plentiful, it will still be hard to find parts to swap, but maybe the info will help someone who hasn't seen this before. Click on the link to download a PDF file of the 5-page article.

Pierce Arrow and Studebaker engines ASC Review 1983.pdf

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Bill did a nice job on comparing the Stromberg UU-2 and UUR-2; but would like to add the following information.

(1) For what the information is worth, the "R" in UUR-2 means revised.

(2) Bill mentioned the different size venturii. The Stromberg UU-2 and UUR-2 were used on other vehicles besides Studebaker and Pierce. Stromberg issued both the UU-2 and UUR-2 with 5 different venturi sizes. The venturi size would be selected based on the air flow requirement, then jets would be selected based on the venturi size and volumetric efficiency of the engine.

(3) Not mentioned in the article is that two different air horns were used on both the UU-2 and UUR-2. From memory, Pierce and the President used the larger air horn, and the smaller Studebaker used the smaller air horn. Again from memory, the O.D. of the large air horn is slightly less than 3 inches, while the smaller air horn is approximately 2 1/2 inches.

(4) Virtually all UU-2 and UUR-2 carbs that one sees for sale (few these days) are correct ;) for Pierce or Duesenberg (whether they are or not ;) ); as obviously calling them such makes them worth more money! As usual, buyer beware!

Jon.

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Pierce/Studebaker engineer Otto Klausmeyer stated in Pierce Arrow Society " technical bulletin" I have from the 1970s that they would change all the patterns and cast Pierce blocks on different days from the Stude blocks. In another one, if I recall correctly, he indicated that he personally owned, at that time, high mileage examples of both the straight 8 and the earlier 4 valve/ cylinder T-head six. The quality and low wear rates were similar in both. The alloying inoculation of the cast iron of the blocks was different as specified by Pierce Arrow engineers. The unrestored right hand drive 1929 Pierce I have was one of half a dozen of City Motor Services hire cars that were used to transport the Federal Politicians between Melbourne and Canberra. I bought it from the second owner, who told me its total mileage was over 530,000. It was rebored once.

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  • 2 weeks later...
There is always debate and it's a touchy subject sometimes, between Pierce and Studebaker devotees.

Studebaker acquired Pierce stock in August of 1928. In December of 1928, the first Pierce 8 cylinder engines were available in the 1929 production year Pierce Arrows. Thus, the development of the new 9 main bearing straight eight was almost entirely done by Pierce engineers.

An interesting side note is that an 8 cylinder block had a casting date in July of 1928, which means that Studebaker was casting Pierce designed engines BEFORE the stock buy-out was even completed!!

Here's some good reading from the Pierce Arrow Society website (see, we're so proud of our cars, we have a SOCIETY, not just a Club!!)

http://www.pierce-arrow.org/features/feature12/index.php

When I read that article years ago I advised the editor he had his date coding incorrect. But Pierce guys have their own version of history.

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The figure of my engines may help a bit. As far as I am aware, they are from the handful of 8 cylinder cars which City Motor Services , who were P-A agents and a prestige hire car operator, bought for long distance running. I have the rear axle assembly form another of those.

Engine number Casting date

My unrestored car has A 5438 I -5- 24 There is a serial # plate somewhere, and I think it was early.

spare A 5439 I -5 -23

spare A 6734 I -6- 10

One thing you can tell from this is that a batch of engines were cast over two days.

Obviously the engine numbers did not start with A 0001. Otherwise they would have made a lot more engines in the beginning than we would have thought.

There were two different stroke lengths. Is this reflected in the engine number?

Different foundries possibly used different date codes . For instance Stutz used figures only . First number was the month, second number was the day of the month, and the third single number was the last figure of the year. You indicate that the year was first, but indicated by a letter, with month in the middle and day number last. I think you indicate that that code letter I is for 1928, but counting on fingers it would make more sense of my casting dates if I was 1929.

I can tell you nothing about Model 80 engine casting dates because I never looked. I had two cars and an extra engine with consecutive engine numbers. I gave them away so other people would restore them; because they were too low on my list of priorities.

You will note that all previous car engines since Pierce's early days had separate cast iron block on aluminium alloy crankcases. The first integral block /crankcase engine was the eight, which was longer and much deeper and more complex than any of their previous engine castings, so it is perhaps not surprising it needed to be done elsewhere. It is interesting to look on google for SGV and Phianna cars, and Miles Harold Carpenter. Text of his autobiographical contribution was originally published in Automobilists of the Upper Hudson Valley. He said that as a young boy while he moonlighted driving electric cars to the charging station, charging the batteries, and drove them back to their owners in Buffalo. One day Charles Sheppy had an electrical problem nearby with an early Pierce experimental car he was testing. As a very young primary school kid he apparently became a mascot and unofficial apprentice at Pierce. They made thre 3 cylinder experimental engines that were so unimpressive that they gave him two. He engineered them to run as a 6 cylinder, and when they saw how good it went, they took his engine to try on the road in a car, and he never saw it again. ( Of course, Fergie was Scots, was he not?) It seems likely that Miles Harold Carpenter was a child automotive genius. It is a good read. You make up your own mind.

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Studerex, I'd like to know truth....what's the correct date coding, and what's the non-Pierce guy story?

The Studebaker foundry had a simple casting code. It was used for Studebaker motor castings as well as Pierce and Seagrave. The first letter is the year, the next is the month, then the day of month. It goes by calendar year not model year. So a production of a 1931 or most any model run could have two different year code motors. I have had dozens of the straight eight motors and even bought some Pierce to see the differences. I have checked the year code back to 1921 and up to 1942. Calendar year code 1921 is A. So just go forward from there. I =29, J=30, K=31 and so on. Example I-11-20 is November 20th 1929, which would be for a 1930 model. And code J-3-5 would be March 5th 1930 would also be a 1930 model motor.

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  • 8 months later...

Studerex, Thanks for providing this explanation of the Studebaker casting code. Have a Studebaker part which was mounted to a 1933 engine, casting code is I-15-3. I will try and post a picture of it. With your above explanation it would be manufactured in 1929. But then come the two numbers "15" for the month. Not sure what to make of it ? The number 3 would be ok for the day of the month.

Ever come across a part, where the calculation of the casting code as you explained it above, was not working out ?

Thanks,

Mike20151002_013424-2_zpswgmi0ipo.jpg

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  • 2 months later...

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