I am new to the Pierce-Arrow Society, and yes, I keep an eye on the vehicles which appear for sale as I would like eventually, once I’ve educated myself, to acquire a Pierce-Arrow, and more importantly, drive it.
I’m paying close attention to the comments about where to acquire vehicles. Acquiring something with a known history makes sense.
I noticed the enclosed advertisement on Ebay today. While it looks like a very nice car, the lack of a bid says something as well.
There are a few things going on with that eBay listing.
The opening price on the car is a bit steep and no reserve (?).
The car has obviously been through a number of “collectors” and it sounds as though the seller is a dealer and not a Pierce-Arrow guy.
The seller does not list the engine or body S/Ns so there is no way to track the car through the PAS unless someone happens to recognize it.
It does appear to be a “nice” looking car but i would think that more info is necessary to get someone to make the first leap and offer the initial $80K with the prospects of getting into a bidding duel for the car.
I do not even know if it is “correct” because I am not a 1930-A guy.
Also, what color is it? in one pic it looks blue, in a few others, perhaps burgundy.
From some angles, the paint does not look well done.
I would want to touch it and hear it run before I thought about laying out $80 to $100 large.
If it is a good deal, the snipers will come out to snag it in the last 30-seconds of the auction.
If they don’t come out to snipe, it was not a good deal.
Come to the Buffalo Meet this summer and get to drive some cars so you can find out which you like.
Finally, welcome to the Society!
Anyone who wishes to purchase an open Pierce Arrow car would do good for himself to get an expert to inspect all aspects of the automobile.
The car is shown with the top down. Pre 1931 cars have the straight up windshield and “square top” with landau irons. To my taste, this style is not appealing. Of course the pre 1931 side curtain cars, or roadsters have a much more attractive top and windshield configuration.
Early convertible coupes just never have the good look of a roadster. Not to offend anyone who owns one, they’re still great cars and open! I recently acquired a ’27 Dodge Brothers fast four cabriolet, the first “convertible coupe” made by DB. Top up, it looks great. I had it at a friend’s recently, we decided to put the top down, yikes….we couldn’t move fast enough to get it back up, it was awful looking with the top assembly hanging everywhere….
Ed made a politically correct remark, but the message is that there are a lot of fake convertibles out there, not saying this is one…
“Anyone who wishes to purchase an open Pierce Arrow car would do good for himself to get an expert to inspect all aspects of the automobile.””
I concur with Ed “
I mentioned that I’m looking for a Dual Valve or earlier. . .
A while back there was a Model 36 Convertible Coupe or Cabriolet-type of car. Can’t recall the details — it was a light brown/tan color. Was advertised forever by a dealer, finally sold through an auction somewhere this past year. No idea where it went.
But I had the same thoughts about the “convertible” aspect of that car versus a genuine Roadster. It just didn’t catch my fancy. I’d rather have a Roadster or a Touring. No offense to convertible owners, that’s just me. But interesting to hear others voice the same thought.
Good luck finding a car, Michael.
Thanks to all of you for your thoughts. I’ve learned a lot these past few months reading this message board!
Unfortunately, as cars have become investments and collector’s items at ever higher prices, there is always a temptation for someone to turn a less collectible/less valuable vehicle into a more collectible one. This isn’t a new phenomenon in the collecting work. Years ago, it may have come about as owners tried to keep vehicles on the road and substituted parts from one model or year another, and people cared less about “matching numbers” and factory originality. These days, the incentive is more economic.
My view is that it is fine to pay a fair price for a vehicle which is sold as being what it is. I am too cheap to part with money for something which is sold (deliberately or otherwise) as something which it is not. I concur that if that type of coin will be spent, someone who knows about these vehicles needs to look in detail and opine appropriately.
I found this particular advertisement interesting for another reason: no pictures of the mechanicals which to me are always a Pierce-Arrow selling point.
Buffalo is on the agenda for the summer.
The temptation to turn a lesser car into a valuable one has been going on for a lot longer in the Packard world. Coupes turned into Roadsters, Sedans into Phaetons. Way back a local fellow (long dead) took a twelve cylinder engine and turned a 1938 Sedan into a ’38 Twelve Coupe. Did a wonderful job cosmetically — quite a feat if you think about it — but the Eight chassis wasn’t designed to support a Twelve engine.
The car came up for sale a few years ago through a dealer — and was sold dealer to dealer to dealer for a while. But no mention was ever made as to its history because dealers don’t know. And don’t want to know. Only locals who knew the guy, knew the car and knew what to look for could tell. It’s like forgeries of art work being sold from investor to investor to investor. Or passing counterfeit currency. Eventually someone will find out and the last guy holding the bill looses out.
I don’t know if this has happened as much with Pierces. For a long time they were comparatively undervalued. I think it’s a shame when dealers and investors invade a wholesome hobby to make a fast buck. But it’s a free country. All you can do is not buy from these type of people.
And if you have a car to sell, please try to keep it in the family.
The temptation to turn a lesser car into a more valuable one has been going on since the creation of Used Car Dealers!
BTW, when last I looked, the car was no longer listed on eBay.
Scott: I note you are in Troy, so I think I know the fellow you referred to. My understanding he just liked to use his talents to make what he desired, not to defraud people. I ma told he created a number of modified cars, at a time those big engines and (now) expensive cars were inexpensive. One of the cars was later touted, by a subsequent buyer, as produced by a famous custom body builder and the builder’s body tag affixed to the car. When another local, who knew the creator of the car, tried to blow the whistle, he was threatened with a lawsuit by the owner, who may have been a dealer.
Indeed. You are correct, Louis, on all counts as far as my understanding of the story goes. I never knew the man, but what I was told by those who did is exactly as you say — he was very talented and simply built stuff that he liked and enjoyed. And back then, these things were considered more “used cars” than expensive classics. Especially a car as late as 1938.
No, I’m certain that he had no intention to defraud, like many do. It’s just a fact of being a collector these days that the history of the cars can be long lost and it would take some careful sleuthing to uncover a checkered past.
In the Franklin Club, the founder Thomas Hubbard created a 1932 Twelve-cylinder Merrimac Phaeton from factory engineering drawings and spare parts. The car never existed. Tom had no intention what-so-ever to defraud anyone, just to create something the factory intended to produce but never could. The car is in a museum, will likely always be, but is well documented. At least today. If people collect cars 100 years or 200 years from now, who knows what someone will think should that documentation be lost.
Which is why I was taught as a young man getting into the hobby, always buy something you like. Don’t just buy for investment. That way if you pay too much or you buy something questionable, at least you have enjoyed ownership. And that’s worth something.
Scott, I sent you a PM.
I recently consulted on a different open car than the one being spoken of above. I asked the owner if he new the car was a “real” factory open Pierce. He asked if I thought the car had “issues”. I said yes I think it has “issues” but could determine if it were correct by looking at several items and parts of the car. He elected for me not to look, as he was not sure if it was “correct or incorrect”. The car has been sold. I don’t think the new owner is aware of the car’s history. ALWAYS consult an expert.