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1934 Pierce-Arrow 836A on BAT


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I'm posting this so Ed can critique it.

 

https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1934-pierce-arrow-836a/

 

This 1934 Pierce-Arrow 836A sedan was acquired by the seller in partially-disassembled condition six years ago, reportedly after decades of storage in a body shop, and has since been recommissioned with replacement upholstery and glass as well as service to its electrical, fuel, and cooling systems. Power is from a 366ci straight-eight mated to a three-speed manual transmission with a freewheeling system as well as synchronized second and third gears. Additional equipment includes power-assisted mechanical drum brakes, a vinyl roof, and a bypassed Startix auto start system. This 836A is said to have been driven from San Francisco, California to Tucson, Arizona in 2020 and is now offered in Arizona with a Vermont registration in the seller’s name.

The faded brown body shows evidence of repairs to the right rear and both left doors, and the fenders and running boards have been repainted from body color to black. A period replacement headlight bucket was installed and finished to match under current ownership. Details include a fabric roof, chrome bumpers, dual taillights, and horns mounted to either side of the front grille.

The three-speed manual transmission features a freewheeling unit said to allow clutchless shifting into second and third gears as well as to enable coasting while in gear by disengaging the driveshaft from the forces of engine braking. The seller notes leaks on the underside, additional photos of which are provided in the gallery below.

 

 

1934_pierce_arrow_836a_16103128133c9b0cc

Edited by alsancle (see edit history)
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The 836A is a tiny, low end Pierce. Most Pierce collectors do not collect them. They are the red headed step child of the brand. Very short chassis, lots of down scale to save money and costs. In the club, they rarely change hands........many new people buy them at bargain numbers thinking they are getting a deal. What they get is a car that most Pierce collectors won’t buy. 

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48 minutes ago, edinmass said:

The 836A is a tiny, low end Pierce. Most Pierce collectors do not collect them. They are the red headed step child of the brand. Very short chassis, lots of down scale to save money and costs. In the club, they rarely change hands........many new people buy them at bargain numbers thinking they are getting a deal. What they get is a car that most Pierce collectors won’t buy. 

Ed, you're such a snob!  (but most of us knew that already.) "Tiny" "very short chassis" is 136 inches vs. the "real Pierce" short chassis of 139 (also 144 and 147).  The 836A had the previous year's engine (366 cid vs 385) and lacked hydraulic lifters.  Personally, I don't care for the body design at all.  Same build quality as the larger Pierces otherwise, prices started at $2,195 vs $2,995 for the "real" Pierce 840A.  The 836A stole market share from the 840A rather than from competitive brands, and I'm sure there wasn't $800 of production cost savings, so the Company whiffed on this one.

 

I wouldn't care to own one, mostly on looks, but the 836A is a good entry-level Pierce for the 1930s, just like a Series 80 or 81 for the 1920s.

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Having owned two of them, there were lots of differences. Even the water pump was smaller. It’s a long list of downgrades. And, construction of the body and interior were also lower quality. They were much more of a tin can than the bank vault like bodies of the regular cars. They are much less attractive, and the rear doors make them hard to enter and exit. It’s still a Pierce.........but they almost exclusively are purchased by “non” Pierce Arrow collectors. I’ll plead guilty to having a huge bias towards the high end land yachts of the era. 

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Pity the poor, unloved 836A, its Pierce-Arrow's reprise of the '32 Packard Light Eight 900...without the attractive qualities of the later.  But, it did the same number on its maker: diverted sales from more profitable models while it spilled more red ink on the ledger. 

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24 minutes ago, trimacar said:

That picture, to me, says more than all the above words combined.  A lot of sorting ahead for new owner….

 

You need to look past the 12V alternator and see the brand new fan belt.

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59 minutes ago, trimacar said:

That picture, to me, says more than all the above words combined.  A lot of sorting ahead for new owner….

I think Trimacar was referring to lack of a wire connecting the field of the alternator to anything else.

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3 hours ago, alsancle said:

I like the styling.   I might buy it so Ed can sort it out for me.

 

Unless you have Bill Gates check book, you're out of luck!

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2 hours ago, Gary_Ash said:

I think Trimacar was referring to lack of a wire connecting the field of the alternator to anything else.

 

Maybe, but regulators for those do exist for those particular alternators that do not require any connections. I thought the big ball of electrical tape on the charge wiring was a nice touch, as was the rear alternator bearing an inch from an exhaust runner.  I also note the bolts of various lengths holding that pulley assembly together. That may be a clever attempt at balancing.... or not.

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3 hours ago, Gary_Ash said:

I think Trimacar was referring to lack of a wire connecting the field of the alternator to anything else.

Of course. Factory alternators weren’t wired like that, remember Tesla probably consulted on that one.

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On 7/20/2021 at 10:42 PM, mike6024 said:

1934_pierce_arrow_836a_1610060883fc71c95134d4e42cfA8AD4EF8-8584-4F9C-80C6-0D1959AB7376-scaled.jpeg?fit=1536%2C2048

 

 

Ad says its a 6 volt positive ground alternator.

Ad also says the generator is there in the system as well ???

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Current bid 3500 dollars...........that’s about what I would give for it to cut it up. If it were within three hundred miles of me. 

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Funny enough , I like the looks of it. But I generally gravitate toward smaller cars.

Still, my all time favorite 1920's/ 30's  car is the Packard 126 / 226 Sport, not a small car!  Now if I could ever find one of those at a reasonable price I would have to go out on a limb and try to buy it .

  I agree the quality will be a downgrade compared to most PA's , but still Buick quality at least ? 

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33 minutes ago, edinmass said:

Current bid 3500 dollars.  That’s about what I would give for it to cut it up. 

 

You say this model doesn't have much in common

with the larger Pierces;  and true Pierce fans tend

to disdain them.  So where would the market be

for parts if the car is parted out?

 

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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Lots of small items, and hardware.......nuts and bolts from the 30's are hard to source. Just the nuts and bolts from stripping this car down are worth fifteen hundred dollars. Wheels, gauges, headlight switch, and other assorted things are identical. Most of the "special" modifications to the under hood and accessories can be altered to become the same as the large series car. No part of the body or fenders have any value except the front clip for a man cave wall hanger. I sold a fantastic body and all sheet metal to a collector who had a rusty one for 2k delivered 500 miles away and was glad someone wanted it before we cut it up. Today, I would probably cut the fenders and doors off instead of taking the time to unbolt them. Sadly, if it was a Ford T or A it would be much more desirable for parts. 

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Gotta wonder whether the ultimate outcome will be a few connoisseurs appreciating each others' perfect, high-dollar show cars while the rest of the world admires the imperfect more populist cars they can own, drive, and fool around with.

 

If I owned this car it would be the pole car in our fourth of July parade and I'd drive it the rest of the way across NY State and park it in front of the Pierce factory. Why not? It's unique and I'd be proud of it!

Edited by Peter S
word substitution (see edit history)
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3 hours ago, Peter S said:

Gotta wonder whether the ultimate outcome will be a few connoisseurs appreciating each others' perfect, high-dollar show cars while the rest of the world admires the imperfect more populist cars they can own, drive, and fool around with.

 

If I owned this car it would be the pole car in our fourth of July parade and I'd drive it the rest of the way across NY State and park it in front of the Pierce factory. Why not? It's unique and I'd be proud of it!


 

Absolutely nothing wrong with the car as a barn find type driver with its issues and flaws. Is it for me, no. Someone will be perfectly happy with it.........it’s a nice first step into big cars from the mid 30’s. There is no out, so you may as well jump in. 

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2 hours ago, edinmass said:

Absolutely nothing wrong with the car as a barn find type driver with its issues and flaws. Is it for me, no. Someone will be perfectly happy with it.........it’s a nice first step into big cars from the mid 30’s. There is no out, so you may as well jump in. 

That's a first from you, Ed!  Are some of us finally getting through?

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3 hours ago, Grimy said:

That's a first from you, Ed!  Are some of us finally getting through?


No George, my main concern is someone new to the hobby buying it thinking it’s a “normal Pierce” which it is not. Remember I have a 1915 T that’s all original? Which is interesting that it’s probably three to four times the market value of this 836A

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Ed,

 

It still has the 366.   Isn't a Packard 120 still a Packard?    Isn't a 20/25 Rolls still a Rolls?    If the car sells for under 10k and it runs and drives I don't have a problem with it.   Hopefully the buyer doesn't have dreams of "restoring" it.

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I’m trying to make the point you almost never see any Pierce collector with one, and they seldom show up at PAS meets. Last time I remember seeing one was probably 15 years ago. They drive fine like a similar series PA, what I am trying to communicate is that it’s considered similar to a LaSalle in the Cadillac world. I have only seen them change hands at way under what market value would be for the normal series Pierce. In the Pierce collecting world they just don’t get chased after. They all seem to make their way to parts cars when they are barn finds or are rough.

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

Eddy, the reason they don’t show up at PAS meets is fear of heading back towards their car and seeing you standing on the fenders urinating on the hood!!!

 

 

Never....only on Packards......

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5 hours ago, edinmass said:

No George, my main concern is someone new to the hobby buying it thinking it’s a “normal Pierce” which it is not. Remember I have a 1915 T that’s all original? Which is interesting that it’s probably three to four times the market value of this 836A

Agree with you on the T, but a few posts ago you seemed to be saying that the 836A should be broken up for parts.  That's always been our differing viewpoints:  I've maintained that substantially imperfect cars can be driven and enjoyed as part of the hobby, whereas you seem to be repeatedly saying that a substantially imperfect car that may not currently be worth the cost of a full restoration (i.e., bad ROI) should --virtually automatically -- be broken up for parts.  I was surprised and pleased to see you say, for once, that this one can be used and enjoyed for what it is.  (edit) It's not about the dollars....

Edited by Grimy
added a sentence (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, Grimy said:

Agree with you on the T, but a few posts ago you seemed to be saying that the 836A should be broken up for parts.  That's always been our differing viewpoints:  I've maintained that substantially imperfect cars can be driven and enjoyed as part of the hobby, whereas you seem to be repeatedly saying that a substantially imperfect car that may not currently be worth the cost of a full restoration (i.e., bad ROI) should --virtually automatically -- be broken up for parts.  I was surprised and pleased to see you say, for once, that this one can be used and enjoyed for what it is.  (edit) It's not about the dollars....

 

My issue is too many people start with a basket case, and then stall out and die on old cars. Doing a project is fine.........just start with something decent. The 836A at the top of the post runs.......but you can get a car five times better for a few bucks more and are actually going to have something of an out. Hell, I have cut up cars that were five times better than this one. And I don't have any issue driving a rolling junk yard....I have done it many times myself. But people buy cars like the above and don't realize what they have, where they are going with it.....and then get frustrated that no one will buy it when its for sale. I have owned a lot of Pierce Arrow's, more than most people realize and I find much better cars for a fraction of the price this one is currently at. It's not been more of a buyers market since the early 80's. I see fine restored open CCCA cars in the high point range for peanuts.......and often. I don't buy cars because they are bargains........I buy them because they interest me. That said, I will buy and Pierce Arrow I think I can do something with for a fixer upper and resale, because if I don't sell it, I don't care because I'm willing to keep it.......I like all Pierce Arrows. George....ever notice which P-A's I don't buy? That should speak volumes. The 836A is one I don't ever buy to resell, just for parts. Because I find they are ten times more difficult to sell.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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What "something decent" might look like:

5aa9715b9b488_1935LincolnKSedan-12.thumb.jpg.895aa3a34e149cdb5cfec9c5f13bfe62.jpg.233619af0ea071312b52fe2dcdf6aedd.jpg

 

What a "project car" might look like:

5aa9715b9b488_1935LincolnKSedan-12.thumb.jpg.895aa3a34e149cdb5cfec9c5f13bfe62.jpg.233619af0ea071312b52fe2dcdf6aedd.jpg

 

What a "parts car" might look like:

5aa9715b9b488_1935LincolnKSedan-12.thumb.jpg.895aa3a34e149cdb5cfec9c5f13bfe62.jpg.233619af0ea071312b52fe2dcdf6aedd.jpg

 

What "scrap" might look like:

5aa9715b9b488_1935LincolnKSedan-12.thumb.jpg.895aa3a34e149cdb5cfec9c5f13bfe62.jpg.233619af0ea071312b52fe2dcdf6aedd.jpg

 

How do you tell the difference?

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