58L-Y8

1927 Pierce-Arrow Series 80 sedan

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1 hour ago, 58L-Y8 said:

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.  


 

I shall keep conspicuously quiet.................

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52 minutes ago, edinmass said:

 

I shall keep conspicuously quiet.................

Why, its it likely to start a range war...?

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Be sneaky. Put a Studebaker engine in it and an audio pickup under the fender.

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For a Model 80 with a sick engine but too good condition to part out, my choice to replace the engine would be a postwar Packard 288 cu in straight eight, though fit might be an issue.  Other choices would be six cylinder postwar Hudson 262 and 308, Packard 245, Studebaker 245, and Mopar 251. 264

Edited by 58L-Y8
added six cylinder options (see edit history)

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22 hours ago, 58L-Y8 said:

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.  

My opinion:  If you want a Packard get a Packard and if you want a Pierce Arrow then get a Pierce Arrow, but I never have viewed either marque as something that is competitively shopped against each other as to a "best choice" between the two aka you are either a Packard owner or a Pierce Arrow owner more or less.   I hear it all the time - I can get an X for a lot less than an Auburn - well, probably you can get an X cheaper, but most every Auburn owner I know went out hunting one or happenstanced into one and fell in love with it, but I cannot point to a single person that has one that comparative shopped for it (maybe a few out there, but I have never heard their stories). 

 

As to cylinder heads, if the car is you then figure it out albeit my experience is the first casting of anything like that is a painful and 10K + proposition. 

 

I dealt with a 1929 Packard 640 head for a friend - it looked to me like the thing had cracked in half at some point in time as the the weld was as ancient as the head - I sent it out for resurfacing and had a pinhole repaired, they pressure tested it, and two years and 1K miles is still working (and soooooooooooooooooooooooooo glad it is not my car). 

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On 5/23/2020 at 1:52 PM, 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. 

There was a similar 26 sedan in Kalamazoo, MI years ago. It was an older, tired but still impressive restoration.  Word on the street was that car recieved  similar era Studebaker power so the owner could use the car. Something like that might be the way to go with this car, but only if authenticity is very much of a secondary concern. 

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30 minutes ago, John_Mereness said:

"My opinion:  If you want a Packard get a Packard and if you want a Pierce Arrow then get a Pierce Arrow, but I never have viewed either marque as something that is competitively shopped against each other as to a "best choice" between the two aka you are either a Packard owner or a Pierce Arrow owner more or less."...

Thanks John for your views.  True, I doubt whether anyone 'cross-shops' the two makes when pursuing cars of the period.  The preference is either for one marque or the other, as in old brand loyalty of years ago.  My question is based on those cars being of the same price-class and general features when new, albeit with the Pierce-Arrow the more costly of the two.  General drivability, difficulty and cost of parts and repairs, what were their relative strengths and weaknesses.  

 

30 minutes ago, John_Mereness said:

As to cylinder heads, if the car is you then figure it out albeit my experience is the first casting of anything like that is a painful and 10K + proposition. 

 

The Model 80/81 cylinder heads becoming 'unobtainium' to all but those well-off enough to bear the expense effectively excludes potential owners of more modest means, condemns the closed cars to be come static displays or parts cars.  The authenticity would be compromise with another make engine but might also allow an individual with more modest means to take conservatorship and derive use and enjoyment rather than have the car collect dust as fully original.  Certainly a trade-off to consider.

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An issue with any engine substitute in a Series 80/81 is that there is but 1/4-inch clearance between the rear of the block and head and the engine side of the firewall, meaning that there is a very tight longitudinal fit.  Torquing the back row of cylinder head nuts is a real adventure.  Further, the long crank handle snout of the 80/81 engine protrudes through the sheet metal apron below the radiator, meaning that the sheet metal apron must be detached from the front frame horns to allow the cast aluminum crankcase to be removed from the chassis, posing a problem for front sheet metal treatment for any substitute engine.  The cast iron cylinder block is relatively easily detached from an in situ crankcase in the event that bearings do not need to be addressed.

 

Despite all the negativity here, in my experience most cracks in S80 heads can be successfully pinned, but don't use the DIY kits--have it done by professionals.  On the other hand, the one-year only S81 engine, and the last 500 S80s of 1927, are equipped with cast aluminum heads which have not survived nearly as well as the iron heads.  I'll wager a guess than almost half of the S81s extant currently wear iron heads from 1925-27 S80s.  A facility in El Paso has offered new-manufacture aluminum heads to fit both 80s and 81s, but I do not know of a single one that has been actually delivered in the past 12 years despite their requirement for up-front payment--consider that a word of warning.  The networking available within a single-marque club is essential when you need parts or reliable service vendors in this kind of situation.

 

@58L-Y8  Sorry, I can't compare the Packard Single Six (later, just Packard 6) and the Series 80/81.  I did haul a Packard 6 parts stash for a friend 15 years ago, and helped him decipher the Perrot front brake controls, but he sold the 1927 runabout before I got a chance to drive it.  The Packard 6 came first, and even we Pierce folks agree that PAMCC was attempting to copy the Packard and gain market share and cash.  As I've previously mentioned, initially the DeLuxe S80 was $650 more than the Packard 6, body style for body style, and thus not truly competitive on price.  Recognizing this, the PAMCC introduced the $650-cheaper Coach series in only 2- and 4-door sedan variations.  My own opinion is that the "cheapened" features of the Coach series saved the company no more than about $100 per car, meaning that PAMCC was taking large profits from the DeLuxe series.

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This kind of sounds like George Washington's famous axe: the museum has replaced the head twice and the handle five times over the years, but by God it's still the same axe George Washington used!

 

Is this car really worthy of the hassles of an engine swap and getting the transmission to fit and all the other systems to cooperate? Even if you manage it, you still have a bitsa that's worth a fraction of what it would otherwise be worth with a Pierce engine. If someone wants one of these desperately enough to consider an engine swap on this poor soul, I bet there are some reasonably-priced examples that are available and fully operational.

 

If a cylinder head is truly unobtainium, this is now a parts car.

 

 

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If everything else fails you just put a SBC in it.....

After I just said that, a Packard engine doesn't sound so bad anymore! 

 

 

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Thanks for your responses, this was just a hypothetical, no urge on my part spend the family fortune on this Series 80.    An 80 running with a different year and make engine wouldn't have much value other than as a fun driver, albeit still a rather slow one.

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