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edinmass

Interesting Early Modifacation - Pierce Arrow

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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! ? 

 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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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! 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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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. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)

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54 minutes ago, auburnseeker said:

See sometimes being too forward doesn't work either. 

 

I agree completely and learned a lesson from that. 

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Car was located in a little town just north of Richmond, on the east side of I-95, south of Fredericksburg.

 

I don't remember the name of the town, but the directions seller gave me had me go east off I-95, get on a secondary road, go through a little town, cross a river bridge just east of town and his home was just past the bridge.

 

The seller's father had toured the car quite a bit in the 1960's and 1970's in the area, from what he told me..

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UPDATE- It's running! It will be at Hershey either at the Pierce Arrow tent in the Red field, RCH 38-40, or the car corral. Almost everything is working. Runs and drives like a dream. No smoke, great oil pressure. Runs cool, generator charging fine, we will get the rest of the parts on it tomorrow. Running lights, brake light, back up light all work. New set of used tires..........doesn't that sound like a great used car dealers sales pitch! Steering and front end are tight, brakes work well. It's starting easy and running smooth. Oil pressure is 32 LBS at idle after one hour running in th shop. Looking forward to running it fifty miles or more in the morning.......stay tuned! Ed

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Ed, you know that the rear lights are reversed on this car--backup light should be on the left (outside), and the stoplight is the innermost lens!  Fie! :-)

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We figured it's been that way since before I was born, who are we to change it? It's amazing how well it runs, and we were thinking of keeping it. Then we started looking around the garage...............we have a big problem. We have too many Pierce Arrows! It seems that we keep finding cars we can't live without. We started counting to see how many we had from where we were working on the car next to the back door of the shop. From my location I stopped counting at nine and then add in what we have at home and our other storage building and we decided that several must go. As of right now this is one of three cars we plan to take to Hershey, but if we bring them all home we won't mind.........we like what we have. As we get older and age starts creeping up on us, we enjoy the variety of cars more than any monetary  renumeration. He with the most toys when he dies wins..............were trying very hard to come out on top! 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)

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Cool, glad you got it running with no major issues...like the picture with the one parking light on!  Are you going to post an asking price, or is that a "show up at Hershey and see it" secret?!?!

 

See you there.....

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23 minutes ago, trimacar said:

Cool, glad you got it running with no major issues...like the picture with the one parking light on!  Are you going to post an asking price, or is that a "show up at Hershey and see it" secret?!?!

 

 

Dave.......were not done fixing it yet, so we aren't sure where the final asking price will end up. It will be reasonable, and I am quite sure someone will want it. We ended up doing quite a bit more than we expected........where have you heard that before?? 

 

We installed a radiator that doesnt leak, a new water jacket cover, correct bumpers and spare tire carrier,  valve job, cleaned the head, block, overhauled the water pump, carburetor, tires and tubes, etc........... it was fun to fire it up last night. We have the correct Headlight parts and hardware, and will install that today. We're trying to get everything working and make the car totally complete. We are almost there. It's almost a shame to restore this Coupe, as I think it's as much fun in as found condition as a restored car. If we keep it we will do a bunch of minor upgrades as we go along. It's so hard to find a two door car today that is CCCA eligible and not 50k. The chassis on this one is exceptional, and the car is going to be a great driver the way it is now.  

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)

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Understood...not many people could just walk to a shelf and get the parts needed to bring this one back, so it ended up in a good place with you and John!  Just the headlight parts would be tough to find these days...

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Bumpers are on, front and rear. Took it on a test drive and got it up to 60 mph. Runs and drives great. Much better than we expected. 100 mile ride tomorrow morning just to have some fun with it. Of the last ten barn finds, I like this one the best.

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Looking great, Ed!  Sorry I won't be a Hershey to see it in the flesh, as it were.  Did this car originally have a leather top (CF body code, I think) or plain top (C)?

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