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Looking for advise on Pierce-Arrows


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I am new to the Pierce Arrow Society and I am looking for opinions on the cars with the best driveability. 

I enjoy driving the cars more than looking at them in my garage. I own two 1941 Buick's. A four door touring sedan and a phaeton . I am on the road with one or two of them every weekend and really enjoy the drive quality. I became interested in Pierce Arrows when I was a kid. I thought then and still do today the 1933 Silver Arrow was the coolest car ever made. I have been lucky to at least see one at Hershey a couple of years ago. I also discovered that my wife’s great grandfather owned at least a dozen Pierce Arrow’s when they were new. I have never driven a Pierce-Arrow, but I like 1932, 1933 and 1936 the best.  I am looking for a driver over all else.  Also is a twelve that much better than the eight? Your opinions and recommendations would be appreciated.Thanks.

 

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Welcome to the PAS!  As you can see from my fleet in my signature block, I like 'em all--and I DRIVE them (those which are running, of course).  First, I generally prefer an 8 to a 12 for the years a 12 was offered (1932-38), but OTOH I've never owned a 12.  For an open or rare (e.g., production Silver Arrow) body style, there's about a $40k premium for a 12 over an 8, substantially less for a sedan, so because I am far from rich--other than in my friends--the 12 is not worth the premium.  Please also post your question on the PAS message board.

 

Some considerations:

 

* 1936-38 cars have a 30% factory OD with a 4.58 diff for about a 3.22 final drive ratio in OD, giving about 2700 rpm at 70 mph.  These cars have excellent vacuum-boosted mechanical brakes (P-A never went to hydraulics) with 342 sq in of swept area, about 50% more than a Cadillac V-16.  But the 1936-38 cars are also the heaviest--at least 6,000 lbs road weight.

 

* 1933-35 have the Stewart-Warner inertial-power brake, with a gimmick treadle (duplicate of gas pedal) in lieu of regular brake pedal.  The faster you go, the more boost, but backing downhill into a parallel parking space can be terrifying, especially the first time.  The brakes need to be adjusted every 3,000 miles (my own interval--easy to do, 45 minutes after the first time) because the brake pedal does not drop as the linings wear, meaning you have no warning that the brakes need adjusting.

 

* I find 1932-33 8s incredibly agile in their steering compared to other Pierces.

 

* Factory gear ratios for most Pierces 1932-35 (not counting deep gears in some  LWB cars) is 4.23 for 8s, 4.21 for 12s.  My 1934 8 is turning 2,950 rpm at 60 mph, so I prefer to cruise at 55 mph or a tad more.

 

I urge you to attend a PAS Annual Meet (next one is June 20-24, 2022 in Buellton, CA) where you can ride in, and likely be allowed to drive, various Pierces.

 

Please send me a PM if you want to discuss by phone.

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George is a good friend and fellow PAS member. We have toured and attended PAS meets, and I have been a guest at his home. We see eye to eye on most things............except where he is obviously wrong...........which is the subject of V-12 Pierce Arrow’s. I have owned virtually every year and series Pierce 8 & 12. And just about every body style. Personally, I prefer the twelve over the eight on all cars 1932 and later. That said, my trusty side kick and fellow Pierce Arrow owner, restorer, and collector John Cislak prefers the eight’s. He is well known in the hobby and is the most active person making reproduction parts and selling used parts. There is not correct answer when it comes to 8 or 12, just what’s right for you. I recommend you drive a variety of Pierce cars before you decide on what you want in your garage. Hands down, the PAS is the best single marque club there is. Welcome to the PAS, and enjoy your car search adventure. George and I will both be happy to express our unbiased opinions...........just remember, when he disagrees with me, don’t hold it against him for being wrong. 🥸

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The difference between the eight and the twelve is easy.   It just depends on your wallet.   If money isn't an issue get a 12.   For driving,  the later the car the better.   Ed and George have driven more miles in their garages than I have in my lifetime,  but I have driven a 35 and 2 different 36 12s.    They are awesome.    My only warning is don't make any sharp left turns on a late car or the vent window will cut your hand off.

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If I were looking for a Pierce driver, I’d go with a 36-37 Eight cylinder.  I only exclude 38 since there are only a few of them around.  Ease of steering, shifting, the automatic overdrive.

 

I found a 36 club sedan, sitting in a shed since 1952.  Got it running, had about 50k miles.  Original muffler, clutch, everything, and still one of the best driving pre-war cars I’ve ever driven, and I’ve driven quite a few.

 

I also exclude the 12 only due to maintenance and adjustment.  I owned a 12 production Silver Arrow, great power, just needs more attention (in my opinion, Ed!) than an eight. 
 

Second choice 34-35 eight, nice cars.  The 32-33 may be fine drivers, little experience with them.  I love my 31 phaeton, but it’s a bit small in the front seat.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for all of the input so far. Seems like I will need to figure out a way to drive some of the cars first. 

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  • 1 month later...

Yesterday was a great day on my adventure to drive a Pierce-Arrow. A fellow Pierce-Arrow society member invited me to drive his beautiful 1932 Pierce-Arrow. He was also very generous with his time in answering questions and explaining to me his cars operation. I certainly appreciated his patience. My first impression on the P-A was that it was a well engineered automobile, almost over engineered. Who else would have produced a car with two fan belts and industrial brakes?  It was a fun car to drive, not to mention the stares it received.  1932 is a definitely on the list. 

 

 

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1932 is my favorite year Pierce......and I have owned them all. My Series 54 Coupe was a fantastic driver. Fast, reliable, and good looking. My number is in the PAS roster if you wish to chat...........and get some additional information. Recently a friend purchased a 32 Club Sedan on my advice. He is very happy with the car.

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