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Interesting Early Modifacation - Pierce Arrow


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Recently ended up with this barn find- aka garage find in the shop. 1929 Pierce Arrow Sport Coupe with a padded roof. Sometime in the old days, it was "upgraded" with incorrect Rolls Royce Phantom 1 bumper, and a later style Pierce trunk rack. Keep looking, they are still out there. Were hoping to have it cleaned up and running for display at Hershey.......not sure we are going to make it.

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The gas in the tank was from 1971. Although the storage for the car was not optimal over the last 46 years, the tank was clean and rust free, and the gas had not turned to sludge like we see today. We put the fuel into the shop pick up, and it ran fine, wouldn't do that with today's fuel!

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My Dad was given the gas out of an inground tank a street behind our house.  All we had to do was pump it out.  It had supposedly been in there since the 1970's and this was 1994.  We hand pumped it all out into 5 gallon jugs, 20 gallons at a time and took it home,  where we put it in our above ground tank with a pump.  It was empty when we started and I believe we brought around 150 gallons home.   I ran it in my 1968 Pontiac Stratochief (winter rat)  with the Chevy 6 and Powerglide for 6 months without mixing it with any other fuel and the car ran wonderfully.  It was great to pull up to my private gas station and just fill er up.  Of course I had to pump the crank handle but hey it was free and I was 19.  It doesn't get any better than that. 

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Hi All, I gave received a bunch of requests for more info on this car. It's nice to see so much interest in the pre war barn finds. It will be in the Red Field at the Pierce Arrow Society & Foundation Tent. It MIGHT end up in the car corral, depending on weather or not we sell two other cars we currently have. We have made to commitment to get it there, and running and driving if at all possible. We managed to locate all the missing pieces for the car, so it should hit the field complete. This car is solid as can be, just lots of patina. Having just sold my 32 Pierce coupe, I would like to make this car a keeper, but right now I just don't have the time or room to keep all my cars. Enjoy the photos. We should have taken more before we started working on it.  I invite ALL the forum members to stop by my two spaces RCH 38 & 39 near the old stadium to say Hi and take a look at the cars and a bunch of stuff for sale. Bathrooms- clean bathrooms are less than a minute away, so we make a good rest stop. Ed

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Motor has been checked out, all looks good, valve job this afternoon. Pan was clean, nothing to cause concern. Thankfully no mice made their way into the engine. The car showed 53k on the clock and it has the original exhaust on it. Yes, the factory exhaust is still on the car and looks fine. We have some used tires to keep in turn with the barn find look. It's a rear mounted spare car, and the spare was removed in the old days when the Springfield Rolls Royce Phantom 1 bumper was installed. At that time they placed a 1934/1935 trunk rack on it. Made it look more modern. We have all the correct rear spare stuff in hand-no small feat to locate in less than a week. The car came from the factory with a leather roof that was removed in the past. Rear window operates fine, all the wipers and controls are with the car. Windshield frame is very nice and front glass is good. It will need two new door glass installed. Inspection sticker says 1971-1974. We were told it was last run in 71. Front end is tight, steering box is good. Will do a total fluid change. Carb has been done, as well as the water pump. Radiator has been cleaned and seems fine. The car was purchased by the second owner in 1954, so we are the third owners.  63 years in one persons hands........not often seen! 

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18 minutes ago, edinmass said:

Yes, the factory exhaust is still on the car and looks fine.

Ed, please photograph the original exhaust and measure the muffler, and send to Arnold for a Service Bulletin article.  It's so rare to find one with original exhaust to use as model for correct restoration!

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9 hours ago, auburnseeker said:

Cool find. 

I seem to only find the boring common stuff and they seem to want Pierce Arrow Prices when they are selling their non running DOA barn finds. 

I only need one good find. 

A 31-33 Auburn Convertible sedan will do! ;)

 

I know where there was a 33 Salon twelve that needed EVERYTHING and had a firetruck motor in it. That was about twenty years ago, but I bet it's still there. I could ask as I usually see the guy at Hershey. It won't be anything you can steal, but if intrested at market price you may have a chance.

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12 minutes ago, Dynaflash8 said:

Okay, nobody has asked, not even trimacar.  Where in Virginia did you find this car?  There is no county sticker on the windshield.  Almost all the counties had tax stickers in 1971. 

I didn't have to ask, because I knew where the car was!  It was in a little town off I-95, south of Washington DC.  Ed just beat me to it! 

 

As far as bringing it back to life, it went to the right place, as he and John have a warehouse full of Pierce parts to draw from for replacements.

 

I look forward to seeing the car together at Hershey!

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2 minutes ago, trimacar said:

I didn't have to ask, because I knew where the car was!  It was in a little town off I-95, south of Washington DC.  Ed just beat me to it! 

 

As far as bringing it back to life, it went to the right place, as he and John have a warehouse full of Pierce parts to draw from for replacements.

 

I look forward to seeing the car together at Hershey!

What little town?  Dumfries, Quantico, King George, Lorton?  Gotta know....I'm a native of the area. :)

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I found the car while using wifi on a Jetblue flight one morning. I was able to use wifi to get ahold of my partner in crime.........aka Pierce Arrow side kick John Cislak and got him headed out for the car by text message while I was still in the air! Sometimes technology can be helpful. I know for certain several Pierce club members were also working on purchasing the car, and several had made arrangements to come see it right away. Long story short, although we were seven hundred miles away, we got there first. It was more luck than anything else. If we waited even a few hours before we loaded the truck and trailer and headed off on the ride, we would have lost out. It was a two day drive gamble of time, tolls, and fuel. We made out this time, but Dave and other Pierce friends often beat us to cars and parts. Sometimes it just your turn. Dave got lucky earlier this year with an engine I would have liked to end up with. Maybe I should have traded him the 29 Coupe for the engine...........?

 

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12 minutes ago, Dynaflash8 said:

What little town?  Dumfries, Quantico, King George, Lorton?  Gotta know....I'm a native of the area. :)

 

It was West-Northwest of Richmond. I can't remember the town, gps does that nowadays. It was close to the town of Orange. 

We replaced the early pot metal oil pump yesterday with a good used cast iron unit. It's a shame the car has such poor storage. While it didn't really ruin anything it turned most of the surface area on the car a haze of light rust. This is the first of about thirty Pierce Arrows that have passed through our hands that didn't have a chassis and engine covered in packed on grease and dirt. Usually the entire undercarriage of these cars are so oily and greasy you spend a month scraping it off. We are overloaded with work and on top of everything else, we decided to get this thing done for Hershey.............

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17 hours ago, alsancle said:

Is this going to be sitting in the Pierce Arrow tent in 2 weeks?

 

At the Pierce tent on display in the Red field RCH 38-40, or in the car corral depending of what happens with another car we have for sale. Can't keep them all! Both John and I are at about maximum for our personal car collections, and I didn't post a photo of our latest acquisition, that just arrived from Ohio, but that's a twelve........and another story for another day.?

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2 hours ago, edinmass said:

 

It was West-Northwest of Richmond. I can't remember the town, gps does that nowadays. It was close to the town of Orange. 

We replaced the early pot metal oil pump yesterday with a good used cast iron unit. It's a shame the car has such poor storage. While it didn't really ruin anything it turned most of the surface area on the car a haze of light rust. This is the first of about thirty Pierce Arrows that have passed through our hands that didn't have a chassis and engine covered in packed on grease and dirt. Usually the entire undercarriage of these cars are so oily and greasy you spend a month scraping it off. We are overloaded with work and on top of everything else, we decided to get this thing done for Hershey.............

Maybe Rixeyville or a town close to it.  I should look up the names on a map.  There was a large collector for awhile in Appamatox, but he was somewhat elderly and may have closed his little museum.  He had a lot of cars in this sort of condition in the building and at home.

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Maybe it was a town like Rixeyville, that's close to Orange, as is a bigger town called Warrenton.   I need to look at a map.  Maybe it was Appamattox.  There was an elderly gentleman there, some years ago, who had a small museum, and more cars at home on his farm.  The car looks like the kind of car he might have had.

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I've long since lost my notes on the exact little town, but can tell you this was not a collection car, but someone who had it, used it in the 60's or 70's, put it away in decent but not great storage, and then it was passed on and sold. Little town right by a river, I remember...

 

Will make the story short, but will say that the ad appeared late Friday night on Pierce Arrow site,  Saturday morning I was halfway there, then when I talked to ad poster, told by the friend of the owner that owner couldn't be reached, Saturday afternoon talked to owner, he was at his river house and not at car, and said he was not available Sunday due to entertaining clients at his river house.  I made a deal to show up at his house at 10 am Monday morning, trailer and cash in hand, and he agreed, although the price was still in question, and fluctuating....

 

6 am Monday morning, I was ready to go with trailer hooked up and cash in hand, got a call from seller, someone bought it yesterday.  So, in retrospect, my fault, should have been with my trailer in the guy's yard Sunday, regardless of what he said!

 

Again, it went to a place that can get it together and pass it on, so no problem, but the episode demonstrates that when you hear about a car for sale, go camp on the owner's doorstep!

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Since I didn't make the actual deal I only have second hand info, but essentially we got lucky. My partner called and spoke to whom I believe to be the same person Dave was talking to. I think the difference was the mileage we were going to cover with no guarantee as to a positive result. (You can be sure we explained this to him, our risk we were taking, and our track record of not only saving cars, but making them run and active in the hobby, is what secured our spot first.) That got the phone number of "the river house" and a direct contact to who had actual control over the car and the price. Our truck rolled up at the same time the owner arrived back home from his vacation house on Sunday afternoon, twelve hours ahead of everyone else who called and was told that it could be seen Monday morning first thing. So it was pure luck and random chance when we arrived that got us first in line. Don't feel too bad for Dave, he made a better score of a much more interesting Pierce earlier this year, and I would have preferred his acquisition ten times over our current one. Besides, I probably saved him from a long drawen  out divorce if he bought another project car! ? 

 

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It all depends though.  When I'm selling a car and a guy makes a hard appointment to come look at something and it's within a reasonably close time span,  I hold true to the appointments and don't cut someone else out.  I take names and numbers and then follow the chain.  First one doesn't show, cancels or decides not to buy,  the second one comes up for their turn. 

It's really the only gentlemanly fair thing to do.  I've even sold cars sight unseen this way and was offered even a little more money to sell it to them right now.  I said,  no.  I gave my word the guy was sending a check (long before the scam days)  from overseas.  Sure enough it showed up in about 3 days and he had the car picked up a couple months later.  

The guy that sold me my Cord  returned the gentlemanly favor and held it until my check arrived at his place (that was his request rather than a wire transfer)

I guess it all depends on the seller and how good their word is.  

Nice to know some still stand by it. 

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I also believe in setting up appointments rather than saying well everyone come over after I get out of work and we will sort it all out with a nice brawl in the street. ;)

I won't go look at a car if there are going to be several people showing up at the same time. 

If anyone has ever gone to one of these.  Please let us know how it all turned out.  I have always been curious how it went. 

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We always play fair, in this instance I honestly didn't think Dave would chase it, but I was sure friends from the mid west and Atlanta area would be all over it. I thought the ad was posted on Saturday morning, until Dave said he saw it Friday night. Since I didn't talk directly to either the seller, or his representative I wasn't aware of who was intrested till about a week after we got the car home. Neither Dave, or I would ruin a friendship over a car, reguardless of what it may be. I won't even know if the entire situation works out till we figure out how many man hours we have in it, along with transportation, parts, etc. It is a fun car on paper so far, but when the numbers add up, it may be an exercise in futility. It's the adventure most of us crave, the chase of landing the car, finding the missing pieces, and making it run and drive again. Adding another Pierce in the scrap book to look over when I'm too old to drive or enjoy them is all part of the old car hobby for me. With another one waiting to get into the shop after Hershey, the game seems to continue without end. Dave has owned many more cars than I have over the years, but if you add in motorcycles, boats, and other assorted wheeled toys, we are probably both in the same area as number go. The best reward is seeing another piece of American history run down the road. 

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15 minutes ago, 1937hd45 said:

I wonder what it must be like having a vehicle up for sale that people fight over? Bob 

 

Try selling at an auction, only trick is to have a car that will draw multiple bidders. Common cars and the very unusual often don't do well. Good cars usually have buyers in line or on a list of "give me a call when you decide to sell" after all these years in the hobby, one learns there are only two ways to sell an antique car. The two ways are price(value) or owning exceptionally rare or unique car that will have many people,in line to purchase it.

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Just to be clear, there are no hard feelings at all, Ed and John were just more aggressive than I was, and that's that. We're still great friends.....  And, again, with the missing and broken pieces, it's in better hands with Ed and John.

 

A friend of the owner posted the ad for the car on the Pierce Arrow Society site.  The reason it was being chased was the price point mentioned by the friend, although that fluctuated somewhat in the actual discourse with the owner.

 

My first Pierce Arrow was advertised in the Wall Street Journal back in the 1970's, when there were regional classifieds in that paper.  The car was in a town 60 miles from my home town in Louisiana, so I was there pretty quickly.  Another gentleman and his wife showed up five minutes after I did, and the owner of the car just looked at us and said "you guys figure it out".  The other gentleman and his wife (who would end up being wonderful close friends, by the way) said "look, you were here first, we're going to go get a bite to eat, we'll be back in an hour.  If you don't buy car, we're interested".

 

Even with that, I was able to negotiate a better purchase price, and all was good. 

 

It's not always that friendly.  I was helping clean out a diseased club member's garage once, there was an early Virginia porcelain plate.  It was beat up some, but it was the only thing I wanted out of a cabinet that a couple of other guys were drooling over.  I picked it up, turned to son who was handling the estate, and said "hey, would you take $100 for this?...son said sure, but then another guy grabbed plate out of my hand and said "I'll give you more than that for it"....

I left the garage, very mad, needless to say.  The fellow who did this was the nephew of a friend in the club, and it was very poor manners.....

 

Some people get it, some don't, but there are, for lack of a better term, Gentleman's Rules when buying old car stuff... 

 

 

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It was a strange situation the way the car was advertised, and there certainly was no clear price, and with two people to deal with on the phone it made the entire thing kind of twisted. I think the only reason he sold it to us was the distance we traveled to get there and he felt kind of guilty to send us away. Back in the 80's there was a custom bodied Packard advertised on a Sunday morning in the Hartford paper with a centeral  Massachusetts address, a complete barn find with a stated good condition for twenty cents on the dollar. The ad stated cash only and must be paid for and picked up by 12 noon. I had the money, loaded up my new truck and borrowed a open trailer, and headed off as fast as I could. The car was in a brand new subdivision shaped like a giant U and as I was approaching from one side, I saw a brand new Mercedes approaching from the other. The car was parked outside, and from 300 yards I could see it was terrific and worth ten times the asking price. I punched the 454 to the floor, as did the Mercedes, and the race was on. We arrived ALMOST at the same time, me being just a bit slower than the competitor due to the trailer. Out jumps a well known Boston car collector and dealer Tom Mix, dressed in a suit and tie, with a big smile on his face. (Tom was the dealer who Jay Leno worked for while he was trying to get into show business and still living with his parents, and that's how Jay got intrested in early cars, working on Tom's collection.) Tom was a good friend from the CCCA and a true gentleman, as I approached and stuck out my hand to shake his I could see he was uncomfortable. He said hello and with just a look shard between two car guys, we were able to communicate our positions in a fraction of a second. I stepped back five steps and he stepped forward and shook hands with the seller. It was all over in just a split second. I offered Tom to haul the car back to his place for him, and he politely declined............I was glad he told me he wouldn't flip it, but he was going to do a total restoration on it.(It was way too nice by today's standards and would never be touched now.) Each time I would see him for years I would always ask how "My" Packard was,  and true to his word he restored it and kept it till he died. I still see it in magazines to this day.......the BIG fish that got away.  I'm quite sure that is the closest I will ever be to owning my own custom Packard eight. I ended up buying the open trailer from my friend, and I still have it thirty one years later.  We did a restoration on it three years ago, and it still looks new. Every time I hook up to the trailer I smile and think about that day. I have hauled that thing so many miles I consider it part of my  permanent  collection. I'm pretty sure whenever I end up selling off all my cars due to advanced age, the trailer will stay until my heires dispose of it.

 

Dave, I know there's no hard feelings, and we should take it for a spin at Hershey if we get it sorted. To be honest, were putting so much time it to make it a driver it doesn't make much sense. The entire engine and all the accessories will be gone through, rings, valves, oil pump, ext.........lots of work. But nobody ever said that pre war car guys are very bright! 

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Around 1989 I was reading the local want advertiser and a guy was selling a 68 396 4 speed Camaro that had been off the road for 15 years.  I called and the seller  told me he had a guy coming to look in the afternoon and would call me back if it didn't sell.  Based the phone number and a couple of hints from the call I figured out which town he was in, went to their library and using a HS yearbook figured out who the guy was.  Looked up his address in the phone book and showed up at his door to look at the car.   He thought I was the first guy and when he figured out I was the second guy he freaked out.   Since he didn't tell me who he was or where he was the fact I figured out did not sit well.  Needless to say I didn't even get to see the car.

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5 hours ago, alsancle said:

Around 1989 I was reading the local want advertiser and a guy was selling a 68 396 4 speed Camaro that had been off the road for 15 years.  I called and the seller  told me he had a guy coming to look in the afternoon and would call me back if it didn't sell.  Based the phone number and a couple of hints from the call I figured out which town he was in, went to their library and using a HS yearbook figured out who the guy was.  Looked up his address in the phone book and showed up at his door to look at the car.   He thought I was the first guy and when he figured out I was the second guy he freaked out.   Since he didn't tell me who he was or where he was the fact I figured out did not sit well.  Needless to say I didn't even get to see the car.

See sometimes being too forward doesn't work either.  I buy alot of parts and people are always telling me to go bug so and so he might sell parts but usually not.  I found usually that just gets a door slammed.  I have gone the advertising to buy and word of mouth route so that the seller is expecting me and has invited me to look at his stuff.  I've even bought from guys that would sell to no one else this way. 

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Anything south and west of D.C. And less than 150 miles off of 95 to us is. "right off 95". But when you do 7500 miles chasing cars and parts in two or three weeks, 500 miles is "almost there" guess it's just a matter of perspective. Most of Virginia can be reached from D.C. In less than two hours. 

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