Jump to content

Looking to purchase a Pierce Arrow - Advice and Help welcomed


Recommended Posts

Hi everyone,


My company is looking to purchase a fully restored Pierce Arrow to display for a few years. We have no business in the car business, let alone the pre-war era cars like this. Needless to say we have no idea what we are getting ourselves into.


We have a listing in mind but would appreciate some advice before pulling the trigger. Is there any paperwork that I should request with the sale? Anything that could hinder the value when we go to resell it? Why are some selling for $30K and others are $150K (like the one we are looking at). Would a professional valuation be worth it?


I would be happy to share the listing that we are looking at via a private message if anyone is interested.


I have read some of the comments and I see Edinmass seems to be a local legend / resident Pierce Arrow expert. Ed, if you read this, could you reach out with a private message I would really appreciate it.


Kind Regards,



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks @KPaw they keep me out of saloons.  I buy what I like and drive the snot out of them.


While we're waiting for Ed (now he's sending you a PM):

Desirability in the marketplace accounts for much of price differentials.  Open ("convertible") cars usually bring 3 or 4 times as much $$--perhaps more--than 4-door sedans built on the same chassis.  For higher-end cars like Pierces, custom bodies (by coachbuilders rather than factory) command a higher price even with the same body style (factory-built town car vs. custom coachbuilder).  Provenance, especially for rare cars:  For example, the original body has been documented to have survived without being converted to a truck during WW2 and a new original-style body fabricated in the 1970s or later; Ed speaks of "floor sweepings" for cars once trashed now put together from multiple parts cars, others call them "bitsa" (a bit of this car, a bit of that car).  Please keep the discussion going here.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My advice as someone who buys and sells a lot of cars to people with varying degrees of expertise in the old car world would be not to spend the $150,000 on a high-end, semi-exotic car. You may or may not get your money back but even more importantly, who's going to do the maintenance? Sitting and doing nothing is surprisingly hard on old cars and if it's a high dollar Pierce, you could either face diminished value for an inop car or a surprising bill to get it ambulatory once you're done with it. The purchase is only the first of many checks a new owner writes on an old car, and the more expensive the car, the larger those checks tend to be.


In broader terms, right now the old car market for desirable, valuable vehicles is somewhat overheated. A car like a brass-era Pierce might be less susceptible to market trends, but I have a hunch that everyone who has bought a car in the last 20 months or so is going to be upside-down by about 25% in 2-3 years. It just can't stay this hot forever and there are already signs of things slowing down. What I'm saying is that buying a $150,000 car in today's market might mean you own a $110,000 car in a few years when you're done with it, regardless of anything else you do (or don't do) to it. Cars like the Pierce have had their big run in value; there's no financial upside to buying and holding old cars.


Old cars are not investments, they cost money. Some cost more than others, but almost none will pay you to own them. Would the company be pleased with a Christmas display in the lobby that cost $1000/day in electricity? Probably not. A substantial collector car can potentially have the same effect. Sitting static doesn't mean nothing changes over time, both with regard to the car itself and the market in which it lives.


Whatever course you choose, I hope it is the right one for you and the company. I think it's a fantastic idea and I'd be very impressed by a company displaying something magnificent like a brass Pierce, but if the company is dispassionate and focused on the bottom-line, then it will be a tough argument to make regardless of the potential marketing upside.

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What Matt and George said.


without knowing a lot more information, what you’re asking sounds like a bad idea. When you talk to Ed on the phone I’m sure he’ll explain it to you.


also, as the previous poster said, the public doesn’t know the difference between a model T and a Duesenberg.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the feedback everyone.


Spoke to Ed who seems to live up to his legend status, and mentioned a lot of the same points re: maintenance, cost, loss in value, etc.


I have a lot to think about now.


At the end of the day we need a Pierce Arrow as the car will be displayed in a building that we are restoring that used to be a Pierce Arrow show room, but maybe purchasing may not be the best option. It is only a short term display so maybe renting is a better option.


I really appreciate the feedback from everyone.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

On the other hand, if your company is developing the former Pierce-Arrow factory HQ building in Buffalo, you need a Pierce-Arrow and nothing else.  If you're willing to share with this congenital (I mean, congenial) group your company's Pierce-Arrow connection, I'm sure we can help you focus.


As I was typing, you replied explaining that your building was a P-A showroom.  If you can share the year in which the showroom/building was built, we can probably help.  A fairly opulent large series sedan of that (or close) year would be the best bang for the buck and also minimize the chances for people to try to climb and experience the luxury firsthand.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@jfranklin - my thoughts exactly - someone wanting to show off their collection. Maybe I can even charge them a storage fee 😉


@grimy - I believe the building was built in 1930 - Send me a PM and I can share the website that details our plans and also the history of the building. Interesting stuff!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...