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Power Brakes on mid-1930's Pierce Arrows


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Could someone give me a lesson on Pierce Arrow brakes from the mid-1930's? I know that they are a vacuum operated system but that's about all I know.

Are they reliable? Are they problematic? Looking at that little foot-shaped brake pedal does not instil a great deal of confidence for stopping a 5000 pound car.

If one acquires a mid-1930's Pierce with the power brake system, and if the brakes work now, are the brakes something to be perpetually worried about? I've heard that when they fail, you have nothing. Pretty sobering thought...

Thanks very much,


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  • 2 weeks later...

Pierce always used mechanical brakes. (I always laugh when I see the ads to rebuild and re-sleeve pierce brake wheel cylinders).

The Pierce power brakes from the 30's were very good and I wouldnt hesitate to purchase a car of this vintage because of brake concerns. They might need work, adjusting, relining of the power brake unit, but from a design standpoint, they were quite adequate.

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