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While taking a fast stroll through car coral, I saw a Pierce Arrow ----- that had the headlamps not mounted in the fenders.  Factory original.  I've heard and read that was a very rare feature and only delivered to NY customers. 

It's simply a personal preference but I thought it was much 'prettier' than the fender install.  Certainly the fender-installed lamps are absolutely distinctive but just not something I 'like'.  That's OK. It occurred to me that it's a great thing - I'm glad not everyone likes what I do and appreciate that others like things I don't. 

 

I saw the car and looked it over carefully, amazed and thinking... " My goodness, they really do exist."  Three PA experts mentioned that the 'legend' was that NY said it could be confused as two motorcycles running side-by-side and the oncoming driver might want to 'split the difference'.  Regardless, a really handsome car.  Not to far away - A Marmon 16.

 

 

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Edinmass posted a photo on the PAS website.

Let me see if I can grab it and post it here.

 

The NY thing has been debated numerous times in the PAS and not a single shred of evidence was found that NY outlawed the fender headlamps.

But the myth persists and is larger than life now.

It would be the height of irony for a car made in NY to have their most distinctive feature outlawed in the state.

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There used to be a 1929 P-A sedan in North Island of NZ that had the conventional headlamps in the mid1960s, and the owner was desperate to alter them to standard.  The very derelict car I bought for 20 pounds was one of the handful of 1929

7 passenger sedans which City Motor Services in Melbourne used with scores of model 80s and maybe a dozen model 81s as prestige hire cars.  They also imported a batch of low mileage Rolls Royce Phantom 1 cars from India,   These had beautiful elegant English Touring bodies.  There were two problems with these.  They only ran formal sedans;  and the import tax on bodies was extrortionate, so the bodies were removed and tipped over the edge of the wharf.  Jim McLeod, whose uncle was one of the owners of City Motor Services, worked there in his youth, and my understanding is from his personal knowledge.   There was a plate glass wall between the garage and the office, and when the RRs were parked against the glass wall , which apparently seemed to amplify  the sounds of the engines cooling down, to the distraction and distress of the office staff.  So they parked the Rolls Royces away from the office, and the Pierce Arrows did not annoy the office staff..    Now the 1929  8 cylinder cars were used to transport the federal parliamentarians back and forth between Melbourne and the national capital Canberra.  The man I bought mine from told me that the log when he received it from CMS showed it had travelled 400,000miles.  He used it for  an other 136,000 miles, often towing a trailer with his trotting horses, even interstate.   A second fuel tank was inelegantly enclosed by an extension to the back of the body, and the fenders were extensively altered and skirted.  I had a full set of original fenders from one of the other cars.   When a New Zealander visited, we cut the traditional headlamp sections from the worthless altered fenders, and he took those in his luggage to deliver to the man who desperately wanted them.   There was no money involved, only supposedly goodwill.  There was no acknowledgement either, which was rather graceless.  The owner's address was a hotel; so I supposed he was a drunk's labourer.  I hope that Pierce has fender headlights as that fellow so desired.

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I agree.  I like the bar-mounted lights more than the fender ones.  And yeah, it's good we don't all like the same things.  Otherwise, old cars would be even more expensive!  😁

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Pierce Arrow cars without fender lamps have long been called “New York” lights. 

 

 

Rubbish......they were built in  and the number one state for registrations was always New York. I have never seen ANY proof about any shush rule or regulation. That being said, if anyone can prove the story, or one similar to it, they can drive my 100 point V-12 for fifty miles. The “bracket light” cars were probably less than one percent of production from what I have been able to research. 

 

Tcslr- not trying to pick on you......that urban legend has been going on for sixty years...........why would one want a Pierce without fender lamps? It would be like buying L V luggage without the initials on the bags!

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22 minutes ago, edinmass said:

......that urban legend has been going on for sixty years...........

 

I don't know Ed, every once in a while some lucky guy pops up with that long lost evidence......

Like this "proof positive" picture my uncle took when he visited Scotland several years ago, which finally put all those skeptics in their place!

 

(I just want to drive your car for 50 miles) :lol:

 

sasquatch.jpg

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3 hours ago, edinmass said:

Tcslr- not trying to pick on you......that urban legend has been going on for sixty years...........why would one want a Pierce without fender lamps? It would be like buying L V luggage without the initials on the bags!

The same reason the President of the Champion Spark Plug Company wanted a Cord with conventional headlamps mounted in a bucket, (amongst some other special one-off features).  He felt it looked 'naked' without them.

 

Now I'm just waiting for the President of Airstream to special order a brand new aluminum body F-series pickup PAINT DELETE  to match his trailer!!  Think Ford will honor his request??

 

Craig

37_Cord_Ex_Hdlp.jpg

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43 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

A pox on whomever stole that Pierce's hood ornament Wednesday night.

 

72101541_2538863322866752_5957086001368137728_o.jpg?_nc_cat=100&_nc_oc=AQnXWdW7iVLHrc5DkAL5pO9x2SoGxpFuvzURdcnIx5w1yJGP6WZfmMvA6NfebVHO6Tg&_nc_ht=scontent-ort2-2.xx&oh=25e67fb8f0332b874228c2a849f54eda&oe=5E312C9B That sucks big time! Maybe its time to set up motion detector cameras with floodlights around the cars. 

 

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I had my rad cap secured with a chain to a bar in the top tank of my car 30 plus years ago.  They broke the chain and  one headlamp housing in stealing it. Less than a month later it was listed on e bay.  I notified the police, they proved it was mine because I still had the broken feathers.  I don't know or care what the thief's penalty was.  I do know it cost me more to buy a stainless replacement than my Grandfather paid for the car originally.

Tar and feathering or digit amputation does come to mind as a deterrent for this type of crime.

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As to the lowlife filth who stole the radiator cap, sometimes I think those Arabian folk have at least something right. Unanesthetized amputation of the intake hand. Ugh !

 

I did talk to the owner of a beautiful early '30s P.A. with conventional headlights several years back. It was originally a Canadian car. That was the reason given for its configuration. Interesting to see in real life. Variety, you know.    -    Carl 

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12 minutes ago, Laughing Coyote said:

What happened to respecting other peoples things. Look with your eyes and not your hands. The nerve of some people these days. Sad, just sad.

It is sad...there are people that don't care or respect people's property.... back in 2011, I took my just completed restored Impala to a car show here in the Northeast, long story short, the following morning, while checking to make sure that the tie downs were secured, I saw that someone went down the drivers side and over the trunk lid leaving a scratch in the clear coat - could not believe it... lesson learn. Next time it will be in a enclosed carrier. 

 

Steve

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I hate to think how many years ago this was, almost fifty! A couple good friends went together and bought a 1925 model 36 (?I think?) seven passenger limousine. We all lived in the San Francisco area, and the car was down near Los Angeles. It was not restored, more than a bit rough, had had some poorly done work on it, and barely ran. I went along to help bring the new baby home. An attempt was made to tow the big beast. But it quickly let us know that was a very BAD idea. It was too heavy and wanted to control everything from behind. So, we pulled it slowly to a good friend of Ed's that lived in the area. We worked on it for several hours. Did a bunch of general maintenance and service, and combined pieces from the two independent ignition systems to make one single system work well. We then drove it the 400 miles home through he night!  Then to a swap meet about fifty miles from home and back again. What an incredible experience that was! I drove it up an over the grapevine.

Why do I mention this? Because it was one of the few. It had the biggest, most beautiful drum style headlamps I have ever seen on any nickel age era car! I wish I had a photo of it. The two fellows that bought it played round with it for awhile, eventually selling it to someone that owned about a dozen Pierce Arrow automobiles. I have no idea where it went after that, or what ever became of it.

I have seen probably four or five Pierce Arrows with such headlamps since, and always think back to the one I drove. Those cars are fantastic! And I love them whichever headlamp style they have.

 

I have heard the New York story about those headlamps nearly all my life. Never really quite bought it myself (although I have repeated it as a legend a few time myself). More and more, in recent years, as I study so many hundreds of era photographs showing automobiles in their day, I have noticed quite a lot of pictures showing Pierce Arrows with the standard fender lamps. And a lot of those pictures were taken in New York. So, I have trouble thinking they could not have been sold that way in New York. I would like to hear something really definitive about it. Although an opinion by ED in Mass is pretty close to definitive.

 

Sure is disgusting about that beautiful Pierce's radiator cap being stolen! Cannot say what I really think about it on a family friendly forum. Unfortunately, that sort of thing does happen, always has, probably always will, even in our wonderful hobby. I have lost a couple items at shows myself. However nothing as valuable as that cap! (I do still miss my Homburg hat. It was old era, perfect condition,and fit me perfectly. Stolen out of a friend's '26 Buick four-door sedan because we thought it would be safer there than in my open model T! In forty years since, never found another one that worked for me.)

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12 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

A pox on whomever stole that Pierce's hood ornament Wednesday night.

 

72101541_2538863322866752_5957086001368137728_o.jpg?_nc_cat=100&_nc_oc=AQnXWdW7iVLHrc5DkAL5pO9x2SoGxpFuvzURdcnIx5w1yJGP6WZfmMvA6NfebVHO6Tg&_nc_ht=scontent-ort2-2.xx&oh=25e67fb8f0332b874228c2a849f54eda&oe=5E312C9B

 

Quartered

(the only word that comes to mind)

 

Owner gets dibs on which section goes first as he or she sees fit. 

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5 hours ago, wayne sheldon said:

Sure is disgusting about that beautiful Pierce's radiator cap being stolen! Cannot say what I really think about it on a family friendly forum. Unfortunately, that sort of thing does happen, always has, probably always will, even in our wonderful hobby. I have lost a couple items at shows myself. However nothing as valuable as that cap! (I do still miss my Homburg hat. It was old era, perfect condition, and fit me perfectly. Stolen out of a friend's '26 Buick four-door sedan because we thought it would be safer there than in my open model T! In forty years since, never found another one that worked for me.)

I only wish a separate thread was started on this incident.  What could, and should be an interesting thread has unfortunately deviated into a sad occurrence that we all must constantly remind ourselves to be aware of at old-car show, including not leaving one's car unattended, and making sure the venue has excellent security on site for the entire duration.

 

Too bad a report of what some eff-ing lowlife did intruded and ruined the start of an excellent thread topic.

 

Craig

Edited by 8E45E (see edit history)
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11 hours ago, C Carl said:

 

I did talk to the owner of a beautiful early '30s P.A. with conventional headlights several years back. It was originally a Canadian car. That was the reason given for its configuration. 

 

Could there have been some Canadian regulation which would have made the unique Pierce Arrow headlights unacceptable ?  -   CC 

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I am not one to hang around my own cars when parked on the street downtown while at dinner or at shows (lots of other cars and people with them to see) and not to say I am mistrusting, but if you have ever tried to take off a 200 degree RR radiator ornament you will know why I drove around with my Scottie Dog on the car verses the "Flying Lady" that stayed with the car since 1932 and that I intended to have stay with the car during my ownership.  Plus, I just liked the  Scottie Dog better.  

 

As a sidenote, that is my nephew and his best friend in the backseat - they folded down the opera seats and declared them the best foot rests ever matched to the back seat "better than a recliner"  - they were catching  up on their iPad time.

 

  21150219_10155832085917189_8367757086640480237_n.thumb.jpg.17c220a683090d220724f2b196f175e8.jpg21586726_10155892619992189_3773826217136459555_o.jpg.254ebfdea0e846caae5cbbf102596165.jpg

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)
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5 minutes ago, C Carl said:

 

Could there have been some Canadian regulation which would have made the unique Pierce Arrow headlights unacceptable ?  -   CC 

Canadian headlight regulations have never been as strict as US regulations.  For example, sealed beams were not 'law' in Canada as they were in the US, which didn't allow composite headlights until 1984.  Various Citroens, Peugeots and Saabs in the 1970's were sold in Canada with their Euro-spec lenses utilizing the H4 bulbs.

 

Therefore, I could not see Pierce Arrows being sold in Canada without the integrated fendertop headlamps.  

 

Craig

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I suspect it was purely an owner preference thing. There were plenty of people who didn't like the Pierce-Arrow fender headlights but appreciated the Pierce's other virtues. Just as you could order a Pierce in just about any color you wanted, they were likewise happy to oblige the buyer who didn't care for the headlights. They probably didn't like it, but a buyer is a buyer and if you're operating in that rarefied atmosphere you give him what he wants. 


Fortunately, not many guys opted for it. In my experience, many more of the brass era Pierces had separate headlights than '30s cars when it was becoming more common and less unusual.

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As much as I admire PA's engineering I've never thought those "frog eye" headlights were attractive and would have been one of those buyers who wanted traditional separate lights. They wouldn't keep me from owning one (should I be so lucky) but if I had a choice I'd take the car with the separate lights.

 

But, I don't like Cords either so chances are my tastes are not exactly "mainstream."

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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By the way, I really like the Pierce Arrow Convertible Sedan with the free standing headlamps and fender parking lamps (a unique parking lamp too), but personally I would stick to the signature Pierce Arrow fender mounted headlights and crossbar parking lamps - it is they styling that a Pierce Arrow is all about. 

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To me the car with the separate headlights looks ordinary. Seeing it from the side it could almost be anything. It goes from being distinctive to blending in. Isn't that what we hate about today's cars? They all look the same. I wouldnt be able to tell you what that car is without looking close at the grill. That isn't what I expect from a pierce.

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while I like both, I think Pierce was in a bit of a styling quandary, trying to balance new and old.  The head lights in the fenders and streamlined pod parking lights were leading edge in the mid thirties, but some of the other Pierce trends, like often using wire or artillery wheels, were trailing edge.  The overall effect seems to be that Pierce and Lincoln tend to look fairly streamlined, but not as much as Graham, Hupp, Cord.  In the luxury market, the leader was the conservatively evolving Packard (don't bring up the Dietrich aerocoupe, it was an exception).

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