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Engineering vs Esthetics in a first purchase of a CCCA Classic


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I have no idea why all but the very, very special Pierce Arrows sell for much less than comparable or lesser Classics or non-Classics.

Drive a well sorted Pierce and you will fall in love with their road manners, feel and composure on the road. Also, their factory body construction was better than or equal to even the best of the custom coach builders at the time.

I know looks are subjective but Pierce Arrows do hit the mark with overall looks and majesty.

Sit in a Pierce Arrow and look at the interior fit and finish, the quality of the materials, and then sit in another comparably priced car.

The difference is staggering.

I own a mid-line 20's car, Rickenbacker, and a Pierce.

Parked side by side there is no mistaking the Pierce is special.

Drive each one and the differences are even more obvious.

Keep in mind, my Rickenbacker has had the engine and drive train redone over the years while my Pierce is 100% original and it still stands head and shoulders above my Rickenbacker.

And the Rickenbacker was no slouch for its time - A Car Worthy of its Name.

Edited by zepher (see edit history)
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19 minutes ago, zepher said:

I have no idea why all but the very, very special Pierce Arrows sell for much less than comparable or lesser Classics or non-Classics.

 

Don't shoot the messenger because I love Pierce Arrow but they are relatively unattractive apples to apples.

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3 hours ago, alsancle said:

 

Don't shoot the messenger because I love Pierce Arrow but they are relatively unattractive apples to apples.

 

I don't know, I've always loved the Pierce Arrow styling.

Maybe I am a reincarnated business mogul from the 20's but I love the understated grace and lines of a Pierce.

 

And I'm not sure AJ deserves another ride in my Pierce. 😝

Edited by zepher (see edit history)
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18 minutes ago, alsancle said:

 

Don't shoot the messenger because I love Pierce Arrow but they are relatively unattractive apples to apples.


 

With a comment like that.......your car is never going to get finished. As a matter of fact, it just had a major and very expensive breakdown.......tomorrow afternoon. 🤬

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Just now, edinmass said:


 

With a comment like that.......your car is never going to get finished. As a matter of fact, it just had a major and very expensive breakdown.......tomorrow afternoon. 🤬

 

Lets not be rash.   I realized my comment might ruffle feathers,  but the Pierce Arrow is an over engineered master piece,  but not a Mona Lisa of looks.     Just like some cars look great and run like crap.

 

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Although,  the 30/31 cars are tremendously attractive,  especially with the catalog custom Lebaron bodies.    I'm thinking more of the production sedans,  34-37.     I do LOVE the 3 window coupes.

 

IMG_4246.jpg.76ee11e59840b5b675aec0e68f5537b0.jpg

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TexRiv,

Yup, that's Sandy's Buick parked in his driveway,

That's the one he took me to lunch in back in 2011.

Had a bit of gear whine in first, but she would get up and run !

I sure miss stopping by his place when I make sales calls up in Ft. Collins.

 

O.K. guys, enough of hijacking Mr. Bloom's thread. Lets find him a CAR! So we can all chip in and tell him what he has to do to it !

Matt, what do you have in the barn for him, that is not too expensive, and just requires some cosmetic polishing. Please not a Pierce.

Can't you find him a 4 door Buick or an Imperial in the low 5 figures ?

 

Mike in Colorado

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7 minutes ago, edinmass said:


 

With a comment like that.......your car is never going to get finished. As a matter of fact, it just had a major and very expensive breakdown.......tomorrow afternoon. 🤬

Ed is this the car you got all the parts from that you listed on eBay as Free and you would even pay the shipping to get rid of them?  

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Just now, SC38DLS said:

Ed is this the car you got all the parts from that you listed on eBay as Free and you would even pay the shipping to get rid of them?  


Yes, that’s the one...........like most of his cars, it’s tired, beat to death, serviced by every hack tractor mechanic East of the blue ridge, and incomplete. No worries, I have plenty of people buying wanting the parts.

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8 minutes ago, alsancle said:

Although,  the 30/31 cars are tremendously attractive,  especially with the catalog custom Lebaron bodies.    I'm thinking more of the production sedans,  34-37.     I do LOVE the 3 window coupes.

 

IMG_4246.jpg.76ee11e59840b5b675aec0e68f5537b0.jpg

 

I'd chop the top 4" and I think I have a SBC laying around.

 

We're wandering again.

Our goal here is to find Mr. Bloom a CAR !

 

Mike in Colorado

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I am grateful for all the input and advice, just hit the ground back in Chicago 10 minutes ago after visiting my 84 year old dad who has been locked down in an assisted living facility in Clearwater Florida since March. I was going down once a month till Covid hit, but hadn’t seen him for 6 months.   
 

chuckling about the banter back and forth concerning the looks of Pierce Arrow........   my dad told me many years ago “never tell someone they have an ugly baby “

 

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4 hours ago, zepher said:

I have no idea why all but the very, very special Pierce Arrows sell for much less than comparable or lesser Classics or non-Classics.

Drive a well sorted Pierce and you will fall in love with their road manners.

This may be true, but I have noticed for years how much of a value that Franklins seem to be. I see nice drivers for 10-14 grand and some very interesting more upscale versions of the marque that are under 20k. They don’t have that sexy look that some other comparable makes have, pretty conservative, but I hear great things from their owners and they seem to have strong club support. 
if you haven’t been to the Franklin museum in Tucson, Tom Hubbard’s estate, put that on your list. I stumbled on it about 20 years ago and I hit it once or twice a year. A hidden gem.  

 


 

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If great looks in a Pierce-Arrow are a criteria, check out the 1933 836, either the club sedan or club brougham.  Look for those without side-mounts, it emphasizes the hood length relative to the close-coupled passenger compartment.   The 1932 Model 54 is close to the same in proportions as well.  

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5 minutes ago, 58L-Y8 said:

 

'33 Pierce-Arrow 836 club brougham.jpg


I prefer them with side mounts.......have an original one with wire wheels, dual side mounts, ect. Sold new in Berkeley California to the mayor who drove it every day into the late 50’s. 

 

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1 hour ago, John Bloom said:

This may be true, but I have noticed for years how much of a value that Franklins seem to be. I see nice drivers for 10-14 grand and some very interesting more upscale versions of the marque that are under 20k. They don’t have that sexy look that some other comparable makes have, pretty conservative, but I hear great things from their owners and they seem to have strong club support. 

 

Franklins are another very underappreciated marque.

The sidedrafts cars are very sporty and responsive, as well as bring great driving cars.

I have an uncle that has owned at least 8 different Franklins over the years and he absolutely loves them.

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7 hours ago, zepher said:

 

Franklins are another very underappreciated marque.

The sidedrafts cars are very sporty and responsive, as well as bring great driving cars.

I have an uncle that has owned at least 8 different Franklins over the years and he absolutely loves them.

I have had the privilege of driving a number of Franklins as well as many same era Lincolns and Packards. The Franklins flat out run the wheels off the Lincolns and Packards.  I don't know Pierce as I've never driven one but have seen enough on tours to believe they are every bit as good as everyone says they are. My vote John, go for a Pierce or Franklin. 

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20 minutes ago, ericmac said:

I have had the privilege of driving a number of Franklins as well as many same era Lincolns and Packards. The Franklins flat out run the wheels off the Lincolns and Packards.  I don't know Pierce as I've never driven one but have seen enough on tours to believe they are every bit as good as everyone says they are. My vote John, go for a Pierce or Franklin. 

 

I have never driven a Franklin so I can't speak to that,  but the 30s cars are very stylish and very affordable.   For style and value I would absolutely consider them.

 

Aside from my crack about Pierce styling,  I'm a member of the club and it is very active and supportive.   I think the Pierce will be more money for a similar car, and a Packard even more money.

 

If you cold stretch a little bit,  I would go buy this Caddy which is a 32 not a 31 and Ed tells me that makes all the difference in the world:

 

 

https://content.invisioncic.com/r277599/monthly_2019_07/P1020143.thumb.JPG.8f4b0a9e68401c109ef395eb589d08b2.JPG

 

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13 hours ago, edinmass said:

You better flatter me a lot more than that............ I think some of your wheels are going to fall off also.

 

See previous post where I act like I'm listening to everything you say.  What more flattery do you want?

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Probably not the car for John but someone should give the Franklin Mike West just listed a new lease on life.  Really great lines and right in the specific years being discussed.  I wonder if their is enough club support, parts availability for an at home restorer to do a decent job on that one..  Ed always says Classics have up to 5,000 more parts than low priced cars of the same era.  Dont know from experience but Franklins seem like they could be middle ground, lighter weight and air cooled = some simplicity?

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4 hours ago, alsancle said:

 

See previous post where I act like I'm listening to everything you say.  What more flattery do you want?

 

When your digging a hole, and you can no longer see out, maybe it's time to stop digging................

 

Mike in Colorado

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On 10/5/2020 at 5:50 PM, alsancle said:

 

Don't shoot the messenger 

My guess as to Pierce Arrows is that is is the same scenario to a point as Franklin = There are a high population of sedans and a very low population of convertibles (in a Franklin the sedans were lower priced than convertibles - so fewer convertibles to begin with matched to low survival rates of those) and it tends to be the convertibles that drive up the prices of the sedans.   As to attractive verses unattractive - my opinion is a PA stands on its own in comparison to any of its peers.  

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On 10/6/2020 at 8:48 AM, Steve_Mack_CT said:

Probably not the car for John but someone should give the Franklin Mike West just listed a new lease on life.  Really great lines and right in the specific years being discussed.  I wonder if their is enough club support, parts availability for an at home restorer to do a decent job on that one..  Ed always says Classics have up to 5,000 more parts than low priced cars of the same era.  Dont know from experience but Franklins seem like they could be middle ground, lighter weight and air cooled = some simplicity?

The Mike West car is a 1931 Franklin 152 Sports Sedan - it is a series of car in itself - Series 152 (basically it is a cross between a Series 151 (which is a mechanically and cosmetically modified carry over 1930 matched to components of a 153 (the new high end car for 1931).  I am no longer brushed up on its mechanical uniqueness, but as to cosmetics, they  have a several inch factory top "chop" to the windshield, doors, and rear roof.  Their survival rate is also relatively low) and probably not many built to begin with as well).  The concept started in 1927 with the introduction of something called a Tandem Sedan (a wickedly low close coupled sedan - also rare as hens teeth).   The problem of course is that you have to rewood a car matched to some incredibly expensive canvas top work (ex. the top originally was trimmed out in "Chrome Pin Weld Bead").

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Just now, John_Mereness said:

The Mike West car is a 1931 Franklin 152 Sports Sedan - it is a series of car in itself - Series 152 (basically it is a cross between a Series 151 (which is a mechanically and cosmetically modified carry over 1930 matched to components of a 153 (the new high end car for 1931).  I am no longer brushed up on its mechanical uniqueness, but as to cosmetics, they  have a several inch factory top "chop" to the windshield, doors, and rear roof.  Their survival rate is also relatively low) and probably not many built to begin with as well).  The concept started in 1927 with the introduction of something called a Tandem Sedan (a wickedly low close coupled sedan - also rare as hens teeth).   The problem of course is that you have to rewood a car matched to some incredibly expensive canvas top work (ex. the top originally was trimmed out in "Chrome Pin Weld Bead").

As to home restoration - The Franklin Club is very geared toward such and parts availability can be had with some work, but you have to be able to talk with people as it will be a lot of phone time and visits - parts rarely show up on swap meet tables as that is not how they trade hands.   Just because it is a sedan though, do not assume it will be cheap to restore - I bet you have over 10K easy in the Haartz canvas top and chrome bead weld/welt trim for one, acres of chrome, beautiful wool interiors, a wood rework, and .... 

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On 10/6/2020 at 7:53 AM, alsancle said:

 

I have never driven a Franklin so I can't speak to that,  but the 30s cars are very stylish and very affordable.   For style and value I would absolutely consider them.

 

Aside from my crack about Pierce styling,  I'm a member of the club and it is very active and supportive.   I think the Pierce will be more money for a similar car, and a Packard even more money.

 

If you cold stretch a little bit,  I would go buy this Caddy which is a 32 not a 31 and Ed tells me that makes all the difference in the world:

 

 

https://content.invisioncic.com/r277599/monthly_2019_07/P1020143.thumb.JPG.8f4b0a9e68401c109ef395eb589d08b2.JPG

 

Quote

Franklins are fine, but the engineering is not for everyone and scares off most people - that said the VW Beetle still probably ranks up there as a best selling car and the principals are really no different.  Dad was in rare form last evening - I saw a copy of the Hemmings Classic Car featuring that 1927 Stearns Knight Sedan that recently sold and he was quick to reference people being afraid of the sleeve valve mechanics.  A Stutz can be intimidating too. And, ....

 

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51 minutes ago, John_Mereness said:

As to home restoration - The Franklin Club is very geared toward such and parts availability can be had with some work, but you have to be able to talk with people as it will be a lot of phone time and visits - parts rarely show up on swap meet tables as that is not how they trade hands.   Just because it is a sedan though, do not assume it will be cheap to restore - I bet you have over 10K easy in the Haartz canvas top and chrome bead weld/welt trim for one, acres of chrome, beautiful wool interiors, a wood rework, and .... 

Yes, interior and top along with wood.  Still a pretty special closed car for not much more than my unfinished T speedster sold for to put Mike's ask in perspective.  Needs it all though.  Sold T, which I was holding for when I have more time, due to space.  If I had a slot for this one it would be a worthy one to put aside and gather parts for while anxiously awaiting retirement, now in sight...  Body looks good. But wood is the scariest thing here, not mechanicals once you understand cost involved in trimming it out...

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On 10/5/2020 at 7:49 PM, John Bloom said:

the looks of Pierce Arrow........   my dad told me many years ago “never tell someone they have an ugly baby “

MY dad had a friend who obeyed this rule religiously.....he thought all babies were red and wrinkled, and any time he'd be forced to look at one, he'd say "Now THAT'S a baby!"....the perfect remark....

 

Yeah, I'd say that Pierce Arrows are really an eyesore...I'm so ashamed of mine I'm thinking of taking it to the crusher just to get rid of it....

 

Keep looking, a nice Pierce Model 54 just sold VERY reasonably....

IMG_2793.jpg

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2 minutes ago, trimacar said:

MY dad had a friend who obeyed this rule religiously.....he thought all babies were red and wrinkled, and any time he'd be forced to look at one, he'd say "Now THAT'S a baby!"....the perfect remark....

 

Yeah, I'd say that Pierce Arrows are really an eyesore...I'm so ashamed of mine I'm thinking of taking it to the crusher just to get rid of it....

 

Keep looking, a nice Pierce Model 54 just sold VERY reasonably....

IMG_2793.jpg

I have a crusher in my backyard and I will give you double the going scrap steel rate!  I’ll even come and get it so you can save that expense. 
dave s 

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Oh hell, there's a 1931 Elcar for sale in the  Hemmings I got yesterday. Buy it. It's a CCCA Classic. Poor pictures in the ad, but online(HMN) there are more...even this one with the plastic tarp off of it. Listed as a 4, but it's a 115 h.p. straight-eight Lycoming. As with Peerless, they're not just under-appreciated, but stealth cars{don't appear on the radar}.
 

 

Screenshot 2020-10-07 at 9.54.25 AM.png........

 

and the engine room:

 

Screenshot 2020-10-07 at 9.57.52 AM.png

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

 

 

Yeah, I'd say that Pierce Arrows are really an eyesore...I'm so ashamed of mine I'm thinking of taking it to the crusher just to get rid of it....

 

Keep looking, a nice Pierce Model 54 just sold VERY reasonably....

IMG_2793.jpg

In case it wasn’t obvious, let me clarify that my ugly baby comment was not at all directed at Pierce Arrows. I think they are gorgeous!  I was reacting to some who were giving Ed a hard time about his “babies”.

 

 

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22 hours ago, jeff_a said:

Oh hell, there's a 1931 Elcar for sale in the  Hemmings I got yesterday. Buy it. It's a CCCA Classic. Poor pictures in the ad, but online(HMN) there are more...even this one with the plastic tarp off of it. Listed as a 4, but it's a 115 h.p. straight-eight Lycoming. As with Peerless, they're not just under-appreciated, but stealth cars{don't appear on the radar}.
 

 

Screenshot 2020-10-07 at 9.54.25 AM.png........

 

and the engine room:

 

Screenshot 2020-10-07 at 9.57.52 AM.png

I personally would never recommend too far of an off brand car (ex. Elcar) to a newby to pre-WWII cars. 

Edited by John_Mereness (see edit history)
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The bulk of CCCA cars are Sedans and while some are attractive, there certainly are some that are not - if is difficult to say what one person will find attractive verses another though.  That said, as to 20's CCCA sedans, I will walk up to them and for the most part consider them to be the "Boxcar School of Design" and yet will call some out as being attractive and can have long discussions about why one is more attractive than the other/next.  

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35 minutes ago, padgett said:

Many smaller makes would use common drivetrains (e.g. Continental). Know A Lot used Delco ignitions and starters.

There is an advantage to commonality of drivetrains (ex. A Kissel for example), but it is also very isolating to have the limited number of Club members and support thereof.   Also, often hard in smaller groups to be the new one on the totem pole.  My advice would be to start with something more mainstream and then adjust later if needed or wanted.  

 

You may be surprised to find that when someone who wants to get into the hobby when they come to Shawn or I, I am quick to tell them to get a very nice Porsche 356 or 911 and/or perhaps a Mercedes 230/250/280 SL, as they are drive-able, serviceable, and if we find you one and you get a rust free one from new, I can resell it in a day to allow you to move on.   I would never suggest a CCCA car to someone who has never had serious exposure to one (especially if the someone had never had a pre-1960's car before and probably pre-WWII for that matter) unless they were dead set on one and then I would recommend it to be a mainstream car, a convertible if they can afford one, and ....  I think most people reading know that dad and I started with a 1931 Cadillac and that is a rough experience for anyone, even a seasoned collector. Personally, I would direct people to Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club - great cars, hugely diverse demographics, active, and ... - all the right things in a club and a car for generally anyone can be found (keeping in mid though that Duesenberg's are pricey and a challenge and Cords are a particular challenge).  

 

I think people also make the mistake of not being open to making mistakes - ie. if X proves not right for you then bail on it and go for a Y or a Z.  

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It is said there is a seat for every a**.

Must admit are two cars from the thirties I like - the SS-100 and the  Supercharged Squire. Have had a few GALBs but never really cared for them. So will just have to settle for a pair of Allantes. At least replacement center stacks are still available.

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