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pierce for sale-patina...........


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A few years ago a friend in Texas asked me to look at a Packard for him, for sale by a well known dealer. It was about in the same condition but I was treated to pitch on how "survivor" cars were what everyone wanted ... etc. etc. etc. I had the impression he thought I'd just fallen off a turnip truck. I don't think anyone is more tolerant of shabby but otherwise original cars than I am but this is carrying the survivor thing to absurdity.

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Yup. I'm with you, JV. Patina ? PATINA ? That ain't patina, that is severe, expensive damage. The interior is insufferable. Survivor? Someone say survivor ? I say "Emperor's New Clothes". Hey, remember that exquisite '29 that Ed and John went through and sorted to turn key transcontinental capability.? Remember that interior ? The scrumptious perfection of that original interior was probably, what, $35,000 or more away from what it would take to put this sad sack in such comfortably gracious shape.And even then, it would never be original. If Ed's '29, (which I fell eternally in love with), was, IIRC 30 some grand and change, what justifies 20 grand for this thing. Oh,'that's enough for now. Yeah : "Emperor's New Clothes".       Expletives deleted,    -    Cadillac Carl 

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well, I for one like it just the way it is.

 

Not everyone wants a 1000 point show car, but I am tolerant towards that desire.............

 

there are 100s of acceptable ways to collect in this hobby. What makes it so great.

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Some say it is great some even spend as much as it would cost ,for correct paint work . to have it look like  that I guess I am not some !

One of my  cars has original paint work ( worn through)  I am going to paint it

kerries phone 083.jpg

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7 hours ago, mercer09 said:

well, I for one like it just the way it is.

 

Not everyone wants a 1000 point show car, but I am tolerant towards that desire.............

 

 

I have zero interest in "100 point show cars" or just about any show cars - or car shows for that matter. I prefer a great car (which this is) in worn condition but largely unmucked. But this one, with its rusted out valances and rodent infested interior, is beyond much use "as is". Were I 20 years younger I'd undertake a project like this but not for $20,000 and not with the goal of making the proverbial "100 point car."

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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I’ll add my adventures here for comparison...

 

I paid $15k on eBay for my 31 model 43 which needed the following work:

   1. A complete brake job, $250 in parts and several days labor (thankfully I had the tools)

   2. Tires, tubes, and flaps... $1600 more labor plus several good swear words for the cuts and bleeding 

   3. Complete wiring harness, $1200 plus several days work including a wrenched back from playing contortionist...

   4. The biggie, engine work, new gasket set is $600, new valves are $580 plus shipping, re-Babbitted connecting rods $1750 plus shipping both ways, new Ross pistons are approximately $1500 (less for EGGE, more for Aires), plus numerous small pieces that seem to either be unobtanium or priced as such. The rods won’t be done for another 4 months and allow around 5 weeks for the pistons once they are ordered. Not to mention any labor...

 

On the other side though, mine is perfectly solid and the interior was redone at some point and is quite comfortable. Since then, there was a second car similar to mine with side mounted wire wheels and a slightly rough original interior that sold on eBay for $22k

 

The one currently on eBay is a higher quality model than mine which might make it more desirable, but going only by the two I mentioned above I think it’s a little high price wise. Of course I have been told to expect to pay around $1000+ to replace my slightly chipped headlight lens, so there’s $2k right there...

 

 Ed can comment more about it, I already love mine and that was driving it with a poor compression engine...

 

 

6FFF5603-B993-42C0-9B5D-00E9FD683AC4.jpeg

EA8F93A2-B1E4-4C30-BDFB-743B1177F625.jpeg

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4 hours ago, 1950panhead said:

Have any Pierce Arrows sold in similar condition the past three years ?

Is $19k reasonable or crazy ?

Interior looks pretty bad.

What say ye Ed ?

 

image.png.d9373c3ffd1a4e99da1e41321e344d


 

I use to own an identical car.......condition is up to the purchaser, and what they will or will not live with. I don’t want to rain on the seller parade, so so won’t comment on it. Best of luck with the sale. 👍

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3 hours ago, Mark Wetherbee said:

I’ll add my adventures here for comparison...

 

I paid $15k on eBay for my 31 model 43 which needed the following work:

   1. A complete brake job, $250 in parts and several days labor (thankfully I had the tools)

   2. Tires, tubes, and flaps... $1600 more labor plus several good swear words for the cuts and bleeding 

   3. Complete wiring harness, $1200 plus several days work including a wrenched back from playing contortionist...

   4. The biggie, engine work, new gasket set is $600, new valves are $580 plus shipping, re-Babbitted connecting rods $1750 plus shipping both ways, new Ross pistons are approximately $1500 (less for EGGE, more for Aires), plus numerous small pieces that seem to either be unobtanium or priced as such. The rods won’t be done for another 4 months and allow around 5 weeks for the pistons once they are ordered. Not to mention any labor...

 

On the other side though, mine is perfectly solid and the interior was redone at some point and is quite comfortable. Since then, there was a second car similar to mine with side mounted wire wheels and a slightly rough original interior that sold on eBay for $22k

 

The one currently on eBay is a higher quality model than mine which might make it more desirable, but going only by the two I mentioned above I think it’s a little high price wise. Of course I have been told to expect to pay around $1000+ to replace my slightly chipped headlight lens, so there’s $2k right there...

 

 Ed can comment more about it, I already love mine and that was driving it with a poor compression engine...

 

 

6FFF5603-B993-42C0-9B5D-00E9FD683AC4.jpeg

EA8F93A2-B1E4-4C30-BDFB-743B1177F625.jpeg


 

So much of the hobby is subjective. And how to fix it can also be a series of choices based on monetary considerations. The Model 43 looks very nice and in my world is worth the time, effort, and expense to save it and enjoy it. The main car that started this post requires other questions and options. Always buy the best car you can afford.......it’s cheaper in the long run. I have driven much worse than the car that started the post...........if your having fun is the most important consideration.

 

 

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My understanding from my friend the Pierce guy is that there are important differences between a 29 and a 30 and a 31 and a 32.   Each year there were progressive mechanical improvements but the car maintained the open fender esthetic we all seem to love.

 

Ed, what if I have the exact same body, what is the premium each year?   2500?   So that an identical 32 is worth 10k more than an identical 29?

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I know this is petty, but why the heck didn't they just adjust the plate bracket to fit the holes in the front license plate, rather then drill another hole. That is a fairly rare plate and  the extra hole really hurts the value.

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12 hours ago, alsancle said:

My understanding from my friend the Pierce guy is that there are important differences between a 29 and a 30 and a 31 and a 32.   Each year there were progressive mechanical improvements but the car maintained the open fender esthetic we all seem to love.

 

Ed, what if I have the exact same body, what is the premium each year?   2500?   So that an identical 32 is worth 10k more than an identical 29?

 

 

Let's put it this way........29 & 30 are very close in price and drivability with the 30 definitely  a better driver. 1931 is a 25 - 35 percent price premium  at minimum. 1932 the eight engines get smaller with introduction of the V-12, but they have a better transmission. Styling from 31 to 32 is completely different. With three different size eights, four different chassis lengths, two different steering boxes, three different carburetors.......there is just too much to cover in a short post. Also, the 31 & 32 cars are much rarer than the 29's and 30's. So here is my choice for all Pierce eights from 1929 to 1932. Twelves NOT included.

 

1- 1931 Series 42

2-1931  Series 41

 

3&4 - 1931 Series 43 or 1932 Series 54

5&6 - 1930 Series A and 1930 Series B

7&8 - 1929 Series 133 and Series 143

9 - 1930 Series C

 

NOTE - All are great cars, and drive better than 90 percent of what was available in their day, the opinion is based on upgrades that make the car better drivers, easier to service, production and survival numbers, parts availability, ect. What have I owned as a perminant keeper in my garage, my "not for sale" cars............1931 Series 42 for 33 years, and a 1932 Series 54 for 12 years. I have owned countless others, but they were all accidental  or flip cars that stayed for a short time..........except the all origional 1929 Series 133 that we had for four or five years....which we drove the wheels off, it took us that long to sell it, otherwise it would have been gone sooner. 

 

 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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33 minutes ago, edinmass said:

1- 1931 Series 42

2-1931  Series 41

 

3&4 - 1931 Series 43 or 1932 Series 54

5&6 - 1930 Series A and 1930 Series B

7&8 - 1929 Series 133 and Series 143

9 - 1930 Series C

 

 

Thank you.  One question:  I thought the 41 was the catalog custom coachwork chassis.  Why is it ranked after 42?

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7 hours ago, mercer09 said:

so what would you really pay JV?

 

be honest.

 

It's really too new to be of much interest to me but were I advising someone else I'd say that the real deal breaker would be the rodent damage to the interior. I don't mind the worn appearance and I presume there would be mechanical issues to address but I don't see how you could make the inside reasonably nice without doing it over and, even disregarding the expense, it would then look out of place. That said, if it was an iron head PI, I'd think it was a great buy.

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My 31 Pierce has seat covers over an alright interior. The exterior was painted a gaudy bright blue in the 70s and looks like a circus, but the whole drive train was thoroughly gone through and rebuilt, so I think I made a score.

Maybe one day I will repaint it, but I doubt it. I enjoy it for what it is....... and the price was right- to me.

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" re-Babbitted connecting rods $1750 plus shipping both ways, ..."

 

For comparison purposes here is the receipt for rebabbiting and boring to fit (crank was not turned) the rods for my dad's 1933 Model 836 in 1962.. they came back individually boxed and wrapped like little jewels.

 

 

IMG_0004.jpg

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If I ever am able to get a PA - or another PI for that matter, it is bound to be something like this. But, I'd rather deal with mechanical problems than the interior. I was a big enthusiast for untouched original cars long before they were "survivors"... Back in the early 70s, when I had a really well preserved '27 Cadillac, one of the questions I was constantly asked was "when are you going to restore it"? I always answered "Why."

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I too have been in the hobby since about 1970. It really bothered me then how people would take the best original survivor car they could find (regardless of marque, a Pierce or a Nash, whatever), and completely restore that wonderful as it was car!. I nearly always knew of a solid car with some damage here and there, interior falling apart, not running but complete and in decent condition, that was left sitting because so many others were restoring the best they could get! Today, true survivor cars are way to rare, only because fifty years ago the cars that should have been preserved were being completely restored whether they needed it or not. Way too many of those decent solid complete cars wound up sitting outside for another decade or two too long and never did get restored. 

The fact then was a thousand dollars could buy that nice survivor, while the car that needed restoration could be had for about four hundred. The difference in the cost for a full restoration WAS NOT that much more for the car that needed it. A complete interior was a complete interior. A full mechanical rebuild was basically the same. A few dollars might be saved on body work before painting, but at that time the cost difference was nowhere near the six hundred that was spent for the better survivor.

It is basically the same today. Only people now want twenty thousand for a car that fifty years ago would have been a parts car and probably never restored!

How many more wonderful cars would exist for the hobby today if the lesser cars had been restored and the better cars preserved fifty years ago?

 

I have owned more than a dozen antique cars over my years. And I have restored at least ten of those. Every one of the cars I restored NEEDED restoration. About half of them would have never been restored if I hadn't taken on the project. And I have two more coming up.

 

I do hope somebody takes on the OP Pierce. If they choose to keep it for its glorious patina? I could live with that. I wouldn't do it myself, but if it is their car, I would enjoy seeing it in all its rat infested glory at a show or tour. However, personally, I would hope someone gives the car the full restoration that it needs and deserves. But that is just my opinion.

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6 hours ago, vermontboy said:

" re-Babbitted connecting rods $1750 plus shipping both ways, ..."

 

For comparison purposes here is the receipt for rebabbiting and boring to fit (crank was not turned) the rods for my dad's 1933 Model 836 in 1962.. they came back individually boxed and wrapped like little jewels.

 

 

IMG_0004.jpg


Today I would expect the bill anywhere from 1200 to 1400 dollars. That doesn’t include new rod bolts, or small end bushing replacement. 

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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12 hours ago, edinmass said:


Today I would expect the bill anywhere from 1200 to 1400 dollars. That doesn’t include new rod bolts, or small end bushing replacement. 

 

That was a high estimate based on having the rods balanced if they needed to be. Should be less (I hope) but need to be prepared for the worst scenario...

 

Also, as I suspect you know, there’s no bushing on the small end - it’s a locking bolt style. 

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29 minutes ago, Mark Wetherbee said:

 

That was a high estimate based on having the rods balanced if they needed to be. Should be less (I hope) but need to be prepared for the worst scenario...

 

Also, as I suspect you know, there’s no bushing on the small end - it’s a locking bolt style. 

 

Yes, I know.......but many cars have bushings, so I added the comment. Later Pierce cars don't have the locking bolt for the small end.

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This looks to be a better buy:  http://www.vaultcars.com/1930-pierce-arrow-model-a-7-passenger-sedan-144m  @$ 49,500

 

My critical eye - some of the belt moldings are a touch off in alignment from the doors and the doors appear a touch off in paint color from the rest of the car.  And Maroon wheels would be stunning with the grey. 

 

IMG_5947-1.jpg

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, John_Mereness said:

My 2 cents - odd spots for a car to rust and that leads me to believe such was related to mice damage - and interior says same thing to me via mice and moths going hand in hand (I could be wrong, but this PA probably needs the "smell test"). 

 

Yes, and mouse urine is very corrosive so I'd be worried that there is extensive wood and metal damage to the body that isn't immediately visible. I'll bet the interior stinks and there is no effective way of fixing it without pulling it all out.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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Friends had a 1927 ? Chevrolet Touring that they ultimately sold as he could not get the mice smell out - he tried hard too and was a chemist to boot.   And, we sold an otherwise near perfect original maroon 1941 Buick Super Sedan as on a damp day ....   I took 5 tin garbage cans of mice nests out of a car once - a 1970 Stutz Blackhawk.  And the story goes on and on,  on and on, and on and on.

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3 hours ago, John_Mereness said:

This looks to be a better buy:  http://www.vaultcars.com/1930-pierce-arrow-model-a-7-passenger-sedan-144m 

 

My critical eye - some of the belt moldings are a touch off in alignment from the doors and the doors appear a touch off in paint color from the rest of the car.  And Maroon wheels would be stunning with the grey. 

 

IMG_5947-1.jpg

 

I couldn't find a price in this ad.

So, better buy? How would one know?

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There are those of us who will never be able to afford a finished car whether it's a good buy or not. Yes, I get the arguments in favor of them but my choice would be a car that needed work or no car...if I had to settle for something in the 50s, 60s or 70s just to get one that was "show ready" I'd quit and do something else.

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2 minutes ago, JV Puleo said:

There are those of us who will never be able to afford a finished car whether it's a good buy or not. Yes, I get the arguments in favor of them but my choice would be a car that needed work or no car...if I had to settle for something in the 50s, 60s or 70s just to get one that was "show ready" I'd quit and do something else.

 

Fortunately, those aren't the only choices. I once wrote a big, long dissertation written about the problems with terminology ("survivor" and "original" and "unrestored") and it would be relevant here, I guess. There are plenty of good cars out there that are enjoyable cars that are also far from perfect. I think it's a misnomer to call this Pierce anything but "unrestored" and even that feels like a stretch. A "survivor" to me means a car that has always been loved and maintained. Original means most of that to me, too. But this Pierce is a car that someone got tired of, parked somewhere that wasn't protected, and then abandoned it. Decades later, someone dragged it out of its hole and decided to sell it as some valuable artifact--like the people in some future dystopia movie that find a relic of our civilization like a broken flashlight and it becomes some kind of treasure. This poor Pierce was neglected at best, abused at worst, and isn't what we should be calling a "survivor" or even "original" at this point. I'll accept "unrestored" but only because of the dictionary definition. The right word is "neglected."

 

That said, I really like cars that aren't perfect. I prefer them. I like cars that haven't been taken apart. I like cars with scruffy paint and dirt on their chassis and oil on their engines because they've been used as intended. But they need to show some love, and this Pierce doesn't show any love. Nobody has loved that car for decades. You could maybe make it run and drive, but you've still got a moth-eaten interior to live with and nobody's going to confuse that with "survivor." Patina is fine, but eventually a car crosses the line and becomes "deteriorated" instead of "original." My '41 Limited is somewhere in the middle of all that--some restored, some original, but a decent car that drives great and has been used its entire life and has never been abandoned or abused. I like cars like that because they're affordable, fun, low-maintenance, and tend to attract more attention at shows than the perfect, shiny cars. Signs of use and enjoyment appeal to me--I think of the guy who put those nicks in the paint and the smiles he must have had doing it. Why shouldn't it be me?

 

You don't need to own perfection, but don't sell yourself short thinking that a neglected, abused car with extensive needs is all you can hope for. Hell, I only paid about 20% more than the Pierce's asking price for this...

29Cad1.thumb.jpg.b8103122c502eef52908470a7aeed7b4.jpg

 

And you could have had this, which was running and driving, for $1000 less than they're asking for that Pierce:

007.thumb.JPG.67b455f6c90cb4746f9dc07352fdf23e.JPG  050.thumb.JPG.59470f97ce6448c3194146595429484b.JPG  065.thumb.JPG.ecade75b18438a38ebd9c51bfc67adcb.JPG

 

Don't think that a heap like this Pierce is your only hope if you aren't wealthy. You should be pissed off that sellers are treating you like a fool because you think that's all you deserve.

 

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