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auburnseeker

So what's this Pierce Arrow Engine really worth? (from Craigslist)

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I found this ad and was wondering what kind of money this engine is really worth.  It's suppose to be a 1920's Pierce Arrow 6 That looks badly rusted inside. I notice the carb is missing and from wording the seller thinks it's a lucky lotto ticket. 

My guess is under 500 for pieces and parts.  I would bet those cylinders are going to need sleeving if the block isn't cracked as well. 

I see far more value in the  radiator if it's any good especially since it has a pretty clean shell. 

 

 

https://newyork.craigslist.org/wch/pts/d/albany-pierce-arrow-early-6-cylinder/7020320361.html

Barn find -- cylinders are rusty and it is stuck.

I believe it is in the range of 1921 - 1928 and may be a model 32 33 34 or 36. I can't find a serial number.

Has been stored under cover. Radiator might also be from an early Pierce arrow - Sold separately.

No trades. Worth several thousand +++ so no low ballers.
 

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I'm going to do my best Ed Minnie impression:

 

"Worthless".

 

Six banger Pierce Arrow is not the Ferrari market.   This engine is missing accessories and looks like it spent some quality time diving off the coast of Maine.  

 

Let's assume we are not talking Model J Duesenberg,  V16 Marmon,  V16 Caddy, etc.   Most incomplete engines minus their accessories and seized have little or no value.

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That's what my thoughts were,  I was just curious what the pros thought. I figured my price if someone needed the fan or a manifold and then maybe a couple hundred.  Everyone hears pierce Arrow and thinks big money,  not knowing the difference between the commons and exotics. 

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I would have said $500 is generous if you needed something that is there. I have my doubts it would be worth "several thousand dollars" if it were happily running, not burning oil and mounted on a piece of the original frame.

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22 minutes ago, auburnseeker said:

 I was just curious what the pros thought.

 

I'm not a pro but I can pretend!

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It is a boat anchor. That amount of rust in the bores is a lot to contend with to try to clean up or solve how to make usable. As mentioned the 8 cylinder motor is more in demand because of the popularity now of the era the cars they  were used in. Like most people who do not have a history with, appreciation of, and ownership of earlier cars any old car part is worth its weight in gold and can be sold for enough $ to give you an all expense paid luxury vacation to the "islands" . That is true if you want to go to Coney Island in Brooklyn and only live in the next county of Queens , N.Y. and are looking for bus fare. 🤩

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 I once attempted to remove the pistons from a 364 Chrysler engine.

 After years of soaking with penetrating oil, I sawed a hole in  top of the piston with a hole saw.

 I then proceeded to break away the rest of the top of the piston. I then took a cutting torch and melted away the sides if the piston making it into two pieces. I cut the piston rings in to two pieces.

 Then I tried to drive the pistons out from the bottom with a drift on the remaining piston sides.

 I did finally get the pistons out but damaged the rods in the process.

 To remove the cam, I had to use a 10 ton ram to push it out.

 I did save the block and the crank though. (Maybe)

 

 I suppose that I could have used gentler ways, but I do have other blocks and this was just a trial to see if I could do it.

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Reminds me of the Buick Doodle Bug I bought two years ago.

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Once I sold the engine accessories that are missing from the topic engine I gave the rest away.

 

Sometimes I think I am an exception. I ALWAYS put a price on things I sell.

 

BTW. I still have the starter. I like to take starters and generators to a shop and test them before offering. Yeah, I do believe in adding value.

Bernie

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It is indeed a 1921-28 dual valve, 414 cid Series 32/33/36 engine, as indicated by one=piece head and single-casting cylinder block.  Without checking for cracks (see below), meaning difficult disassembly required first, its value is minimal except for the radiator shell.  Carburetor, distributor(s) [through 1923 two "6-cyl" distributor called Dual Delco were used; later engines used what appears to be a 12-cyl distributor that is actually a dual-fire 6-cyl distributor], and other easily removable accessories would bump the value of the whole piece.

 

Re cracking:  Pierce dual valve engines have a propensity to crack at the exhaust valve seats because there is so little material between them, aggravated by the top of the bore making a sharp edge where it becomes the deck.  Best Practice for rebuilding these engines is to sleeve them back to standard or even 1/8-inch less than standard, then bevel those intersecting surfaces to minimize hot spots.  There will still be plenty of power.  So an uncracked block can be worth something to a person who needs one.  In this case, it might take a week's labor, plus even more elapsed time spent in Better Living Through Chemistry, to disassemble and clean the block so that a reliable crack detection process can be performed.  If there are visible cracks as it is now, the item is indeed a boat anchor.

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2 hours ago, Walt G said:

It is a boat anchor. That amount of rust in the bores is a lot to contend with to try to clean up or solve how to make usable. As mentioned the 8 cylinder motor is more in demand because of the popularity now of the era the cars they  were used in. Like most people who do not have a history with, appreciation of, and ownership of earlier cars any old car part is worth its weight in gold and can be sold for enough $ to give you an all expense paid luxury vacation to the "islands" . That is true if you want to go to Coney Island in Brooklyn and only live in the next county of Queens , N.Y. and are looking for bus fare. 🤩

 

 

We have a winner! Boat anchor is correct. I passed a barn find sedan series 36 that ran..........hard life barn find car........for 7500.00     Thus an engine thats rusty, stuck, missing parts, ect...........its worthless. The car this engine fits is not high on many collectors list of must have cars. They are great machines, but a correct rebuild of a running engine would be 50-60k to start. You can buy a 95 point sedan for 50-60 grand. If the engine were given to me and delivered for free....I would refuse it. Ed

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My dear friend Ed, you've been associating with ultra-high-end stuff for so long that you don't seem to recall that there are indeed Little People out there operating on strict budgets who may need an uncracked block, or a better-than-theirs radiator shell, for an otherwise pretty decent Series 32/33/36, and who might be willing to take a flyer on this thing if it were priced at, say, twice the value of scrap.  Not too long ago, you were buying up left-over or replaced parts caches for resale.

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Ed, your last line says it all . there is a point where no matter how old, nor what make or model a certain part comes from, it is just not worth the storage area or effort to move it around as the slim chance that it will ever be used to be rebuilt to preserve a worthy example of a vehicle that is in need or requires that part is nearly non existent. I think that we both in our decades long time of collecting ( more then half a century for me now) found, accepted or were given parts that after storing for a decade we just disposed of. I did this with worn out brake drums for a Franklin years ago after keeping them for decades "just in case" someone or I may need them.

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George.......I can have a block delivered to you that is not stuck, and a good core.......for a lot less than they are looking for on the mess above. The engines for a series 33 or 36 are not hard to find. It’s less expensive to buy a car engine that isn’t a rusty mess......you can figure 50 hours over a few weeks trying to get that thing apart and it’s probably not even a good core. 

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4 hours ago, JV Puleo said:

I would have said $500 is generous if you needed something that is there. I have my doubts it would be worth "several thousand dollars" if it were happily running, not burning oil and mounted on a piece of the original frame.


Spot on.......👍

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Well, I'm clearly in the minority here 🙂 but I would gladly pay twice scrap value (note:  not "thousands") for an earlier dual valve (48 hp, 3 heads, 3 pairs of cylinders), even in this condition, if you offer it to me.

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1 hour ago, edinmass said:

George.......I can have a block delivered to you that is not stuck, and a good core.......for a lot less than they are looking for on the mess above. The engines for a series 33 or 36 are not hard to find. It’s less expensive to buy a car engine that isn’t a rusty mess......you can figure 50 hours over a few weeks trying to get that thing apart and it’s probably not even a good core. 

The reason I haven't bought some old junk Cord engine yet.  No sense in buying a bunch of paperweights that everyone seems to want 1500 for that are what was left after a restoration,  so you know it wasn't a worthy engine.  I have found it seems Cord guys seem to keep every last scrap from every car they have ever seen. I would bet for every car out there,  there are almost twice as many parts still left.  I have 2 or 3 or more of a lot of odds and ends for my car. 

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If the seller  cleans  the head and make sure it is usable, he may be able to call a fair price. The situation as it is now he is not sure of the condition so ,to him , it is easier to entice the gullible. A sleazy way .

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The 1929 engine is different from later ones using the same block casting, one difference being that the 1929 engine uses timing gears only rather than a chain.  The market is limited to 1929 owners.  1929 was Pierce's highest production year ever, with almost 10,000 cars using that engine.  This engine has been on the market quite awhile as I recall, and I believe I saw it offered for less some months ago.  For that kind of money, or anything remotely close to it, I'd want to see very detailed build receipts.

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In one of the photos when you zoom in you can see the engine number starts with A- so it does seem to be a '29 engine.

But you're right, it is pretty steep for something that is not complete and has an unknown history.

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15k steep??? Ya think?

 

That is exactly what I paid for a complete, running 31 sedan! Granted I am working on its engine but 15k for an unknown short block seems ludicrously expensive IMO.

 

 

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If anyone would like a Pierce Arrow engine, I have about twenty eights and fifteen twelves in my garage. Along with twenty or so transmissions, and a dozen rear ends. In the last year, I have scrapped engines that are ten times nicer than the one that started this thread. The fact is, there are plenty of mechanical parts available. 

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I have over the years worked over and salvaged a lot of cheap parts for cars I have restored. I also have a 1919 Ford model T block that had three pistons stuck in it when I bought it (very cheap!) nearly fifty years ago. Over the years I have restored three model T Fords that I wanted to use that engine because it was the right year. I spent too many hours, too much various oils, mild acids,  moved it around and tripped over it. And still, today, it sits under one of my work benches, with three pistons stuck in it. I can fully imagine the effort it could take to get that thing apart without splitting a cylinder in the process!

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On the lower end of an engine rebuilt, most people I know (and they get fewer by the day) will quote out via "rule of thumb" a babbitt- ed engine short block for around +/- 1K to 2K a hole depending on obscurity and how difficult rebuild will be given such  - then if you want 100 point detailing there is a cost for all the nickel/chrome and ..., plus then you have gaskets sets, miscellaneous parts such as distributor caps and ...., starter, generator, distributor, water-pump, and .... rebuilding, and then you have whatever you are doing for the clutch and ....

 

So, that 15K block everyone thinks is high just may not be be 15K worth, but it is probably up there toward a surprisingly high amount. 

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)
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