58L-Y8

1927 Pierce-Arrow Series 80 sedan

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So this is one of those "ran great until it didn't" cars...Yeah, that might be a hard sell at that price point....

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1 hour ago, Matt Harwood said:

Did he misplace a decimal?

 

 

Wish your analysis was incorrect............

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Ed, what is a realistic price for this Pierce-Arrow 80 in non-running condition?

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Out of my area of Pierce Arrow collecting..........the market on that particular Pierce is very soft, and a similar two door car that looked a bit better, drove fine, took a few weeks to sell at a much lower price and didn't need any work. Parts for that car are tough........and a head is made of gold.......usually today nice cars like that with an issue only sell on price............and its usually way less than the seller wants. 

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There is  a head for  that  car on Ebay under  Pierce  Arrow that  states  that  the  head was  crack checked OK.

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The head I saw on eBay back a week ago  was a different series car and doesn’t fit. How. Much for a head? Easy, buy a car with a good one, and your all set. This is a small Pierce six......very nice car, very well made, but parts are very, very difficult. Pierce twelve parts are common compared to this car.

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Weld the crack with ni rod, grind it level, run a descaler over the welded area to give it that casting texture look, paint and then bolt it back on.  

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Yes  Ed,  my  mistake, I  thought  the  Series 80  was  a duel valve 6, now  I  know its  a straight 6.. Please  forgive  me , I  am a Hupp  Guy.

 

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2 hours ago, Joe in Canada said:

Weld the crack with ni rod, grind it level, run a descaler over the welded area to give it that casting texture look, paint and then bolt it back on.  


Nope, won’t work. 

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I've owned a 1925 S80 sedan since 1994, and owned a S80 coupe for 21 years, so for once I may have more info than Ed...  🙂 

 

Heads can be pinned (Lock-n-Stitch method, see their website), depending on where they are cracked.  Heads are tough to find, as Ed says, about $750 for an uncracked one.  A design defect, if you will, is that these heads from the factory had (arguably) a too thin mating surface to the head gasket--and we should expect that heads have been planed during valve jobs at least some times over the years, with the effect that the mating surface becomes very thin and not good at heat dissipation. On these engines, it is essential to spend an hour of tedious work with a dental pick removing the crud buildup where the studs exit the deck BEFORE installing a new head gasket.

 

A more critical thing to look for, IMHO, is whether the center row (front-to-rear) of head studs is still 7/16.  Often these heads have been overtorqued, pulling the threads out of the block where they enter the water jacket, and the studs are then drilled out and replaced with 1/2" studs.  If the center row studs are 1/2, run away, because even a bit of overtorquing can cause a crack into the cylinder walls, especially if the car has been substantially overbored over the years.

 

Because the listing seems to have no photos of either the interior or the engine compartment, I can't comment much on the asking price except to say that IF (1) the engine were running satisfactorily -- and we know that isn't true, and (2) there's is a decent, serviceable original interior, the car should be worth perhaps $15K as a driver.  I note that it is a Coach series (less expensive then the DeLuxe series, which was $650 more at the time) with squared vs radiused quarter windows, single-piece windshield, wood-grained steel (vs. mahogany) window mouldings, and lesser upholstery.

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George......I don’t think you can buy a good head for 750 any more...........there are just about none left. Many have bad repairs that can no longer be fixed due to poor repair attempts. There are many more cars than heads.....it’s common to find nice old sedans 100 percent complete except the head is missing. Three are two cars in Connecticut like this. There is a very, very nice roadster available for an asking of 38k, and that is the starting number on a 95 point car that’s turn key. In my opinion a head would cost you two grand today if you could find one, which I’m rather sure you won’t. As George will tell you they are nice but a bit slower as a driver. It’s not an open highway car. 

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I'll sell YOU a S80 head for $2K, Eddie!  Greg and I sold an entire engine 3-4 years ago for less than that with one phone call.

 

Build *quality* of the series 80 is just as good as the senior cars.  They are 45 mph cruise with the 4.45 (most common) differential, 36-37 mph with the deepest 4.88 set.  The Company specified gear ratios by the selling territory, so SF and Denver cars got the 4.88s.  I fit a Mitchell 26% OD with my factory 4.88s so can cruise comfortably at 50 now.  Cruising speeds are probably not much different from other cars in their price range--as you know from your Packard experiences.

 

An afterthought about the subject car: Seller says cracked head but I'd do a compression test to confirm, and ask whether head had been torqued before this happened.  Again, if the center row of head studs has been changed to 1/2-inch, flee!

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Well George, as you know we sell more Pierce parts than anyone on the planet. While we don’t often deal in series 80/81 parts, we do get tons of calls. The most common item requested is parking lights, heads, and tail lights. I have not seen a non repaired head for sale in over 15 years, and probably have had requests for twenty of them. Since you and Greg are the 80/81 gurus, I’m sure you can come up with one or two, or more. But a new novice owner doesn’t have the relationships to get impossible parts fast or easy. Then remember you sold an entire engine.......99 percent of the 80/81 guys don’t have the ability or the funds to ship an engine. And, did you sell the engine with a guarantee that the head and block were good? Most people want that today......because they simply don’t understand the realities of used 100 year old parts. We probably have virtually every rare and almost impossible part you could ask for for a 1929-1938 Pierce 8 & 12, but most of them are NOT for sale. Last October we had 17 good eight cylinder exhaust manifolds, with intakes attached and magna-fluxed. We listed three for sale and sold them in less than two days. The rest are not for sale. With no one making any reproduction manifolds 1930-1938 8 or 12 anymore, and the high failure rate, the price of them is very high. Since you and I go back many years, your a good guy, and we have tilted a few glasses at the bar, I would dip into my not for sale stuff for you. After all, your my favorite Uncle in California. And, just as a quick comment, a running and driving car that is down due to a bad head...........what’s the car worth is it doesn’t drive? While a barn find sedan is limited in value, the open cars are what’s mostly being driven today. The open car guy would dish out 2k in five seconds flat............for a guaranteed good head, as he has much more money on the line. I shipped a head to India last month for a 8. The purchaser had already bought two others, which were junk. He gladly paid for a head that was sandblasted, checked for cracks, surfaced, primed, and painted. It wasn’t cheap, but he got his part with confidence. Since 2/3 of the work is now done by restoration shops, the shop also prefer parts that they know are good, or their money back.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)

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I am a traditional uniformed buyer and it looked pretty good to me. Many times friends have told me I paid too much for a car or shouldn't have bought it at all. I have always moved the mistakes down the road and have no recollection of any financial disasters or huge frustrations on my part. At this point I think I am a little ahead of the game. And an impulse buyer.

 

Some great opportunities can be gained by listening to stories. Grimy, ask our mutual friend to tell you the story about the 1939 Buick 4 door convertible his friends helped him pass on. You will like it and it is an underlying thought in most of my purchases. I bet he told me 30 years ago.

 

Bernie

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4 hours ago, edinmass said:

Well George, as you know we sell more Pierce parts than anyone on the planet. While we don’t often deal in series 80/81 parts, we do get tons of calls. The most common item requested is parking lights, heads, and tail lights. I have not seen a non repaired head for sale in over 15 years, and probably have had requests for twenty of them. Since you and Greg are the 80/81 gurus, I’m sure you can come up with one or two, or more. But a new novice owner doesn’t have the relationships to get impossible parts fast or easy. Then remember you sold an entire engine.......99 percent of the 80/81 guys don’t have the ability or the funds to ship an engine. And, did you sell the engine with a guarantee that the head and block were good? Most people want that today......because they simply don’t understand the realities of used 100 year old parts. We probably have virtually every rare and almost impossible part you could ask for for a 1929-1938 Pierce 8 & 12, but most of them are NOT for sale. Last October we had 17 good eight cylinder exhaust manifolds, with intakes attached and magna-fluxed. We listed three for sale and sold them in less than two days. The rest are not for sale. With no one making any reproduction manifolds 1930-1938 8 or 12 anymore, and the high failure rate, the price of them is very high. Since you and I go back many years, your a good guy, and we have tilted a few glasses at the bar, I would dip into my not for sale stuff for you. After all, your my favorite Uncle in California. And, just as a quick comment, a running and driving car that is down due to a bad head...........what’s the car worth is it doesn’t drive? While a barn find sedan is limited in value, the open cars are what’s mostly being driven today. The open car guy would dish out 2k in five seconds flat............for a guaranteed good head, as he has much more money on the line. I shipped a head to India last month for a 8. The purchaser had already bought two others, which were junk. He gladly paid for a head that was sandblasted, checked for cracks, surfaced, primed, and painted. It wasn’t cheap, but he got his part with confidence. Since 2/3 of the work is now done by restoration shops, the shop also prefer parts that they know are good, or their money back.

Ed, I agree with you!  But we have different "business models."  You operate a business and sell with a guarantee, and have warehouse space to pay for.  Greg and I are amateurs and do the onesies-twosies, don't actively seek out cars to break up for parts, and we acquire excess to our own needs primarily on the basis of opportunity and close proximity.  In the case of the engine I mentioned, I happened to find a CL ad where the car was already broken up--100 miles away--which a couple of young guys bought out of an estate, an unfinished just-begun restoration.  We loaded my long bed dually above cab height, strapped everything down, and brought it to my place (overstuffed already).  So this was quick-turn merchandise, and we made a call on the way home to an experienced, knowledgeable friend in PAS who we knew was looking for a block.  The friend made a 12-hr run to pick up the accurately-described bare engine (carb and primer cups and already gone, no water pump).  For space reasons, we wanted the big hunk of metal out of the way.  Yes, that engine block is in his runabout now.

 

You deserve the compensation you get for having a large inventory, accurately described, and which has in many cases been cleaned, magnafluxed, etc.  Because "time is money" has never been more valid than now, you are entitled to get strong prices, especially for contracted-out restorations where nationwide searches are costing the owner $100/hr or better, or the owner values his/her time to the point that he/she doesn't need to haggle over every last nickel. .  Greg and I are the dinosaurs of the hobby, pretty much doing the parts exchanges like they were done 50 years ago among hobbyists who have networked.  And networking, at a bare minimum joining a marque-specific club and engaging with the ads and the knowledge transmitted in the technical pubs, is especially important for orphan cars like Pierce-Arrow.

 

BTW, I sent the water pump, four Houdaille cast iron shocks and links, and some smalls to Greg in a single US Postal Service large flat rate box weighing 56 lbs!  I told the clerk that in this shipment I was finally getting my money's worth!

 

And I greatly appreciate your offer of your "not for sale" stuff if I needed it.  Along those lines, I have a local friend who's doing a super-cheap refurbishment of a "field-find" (worse than a barn-find) Series 80 with sidemounts (first 80 I've seen with those as factory equipment) on a less-than-bare-bones budget, and Greg and I have individually sold him stuff at deep discount because it's a worthy project and he's a good guy.

 

 

Edited by Grimy
correct typos (see edit history)
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17 minutes ago, 60FlatTop said:

Grimy, ask our mutual friend to tell you the story about the 1939 Buick 4 door convertible his friends helped him pass on. You will like it and it is an underlying thought in most of my purchases. I bet he told me 30 years ago.

Thanks, Bernie.  I won't see the Godfather until this time next year.  Get him to bring you to our meet in Lancaster PA next June.

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Thanks for all the details and perspectives on the Pierce-Arrow Series 80/81 cars.  My conclusion is this 1927 sedan is condemned to being a static display in some museum or personal collection or maybe moving with power from another make engine if someone badly wants to drive it again.  But the seller will have to be willing to sell it dirt cheap. 

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5 minutes ago, 58L-Y8 said:

Thanks for all the details and perspectives on the Pierce-Arrow Series 80/81 cars.  My conclusion is this 1927 sedan is condemned to being a static display in some museum or personal collection or maybe moving with power from another make engine if someone badly wants to drive it again.  But the seller will have to be willing to sell it dirt cheap. 


 

Unfortunately a correct analysis. 

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25 minutes ago, 58L-Y8 said:

Thanks for all the details and perspectives on the Pierce-Arrow Series 80/81 cars.  My conclusion is this 1927 sedan is condemned to being a static display in some museum or personal collection or maybe moving with power from another make engine if someone badly wants to drive it again.  But the seller will have to be willing to sell it dirt cheap.

I agree.  I think most of us who have been around for awhile make offers based on if the engine doesn't run decently, it will need a full rebuild--that's the only safe way unless it's a car you just have to have for sentimental or other reasons.  The only way that seller could achieve 75% of his asking price is to cure the head problem first.

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This question is for those who have had intimate experience with both the Pierce-Arrow 80/81 and the concurrent Packard Sixes.  Your assignment, please compare and contrast the strength and weaknesses of each relative to the other.  

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