1930 Pierce on Ebay, engine question

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    This 1930 Pierce on Ebay now, by Significant Cars, the engine shows a later intake/exhaust manifold with downdraft carburetor. Do you think the whole engine is a later model, or does the downdraft setup bolt directly to the earlier engine?



    Be careful buying any car from a dealer and not the owner directly.

    I spoke to the owner who told me that the car has a knock of come sort in the engine. I know nothing more than that. I did not see the car.

    The dealer stated in a previous version of this ad on his website that the engine had issues — “a slight knock”, I think he called it — but that statement has been eliminated from the current website text.

    Perhaps the dealer will disclose this to anyone who asks or shows interest, But to say that the car “runs very well” is not the story I got from the owner. Unless a specific problem has been addressed and solved since I inquired, soliciting bids on eBay without this information is questionable in my opinion.


    I’m not interested in the car, and agree wouldn’t buy from such a dealer without a personal inspection. Was just curious about the manifolds and/or engine itself.



    This was Phil Marshall’s car. I saw the car about a year before Phil died, but did not hear it run. My understanding is that the engine is original to the car, but the original manifold assembly went bad. I believe that Phil worked with Bob Sands to retrofit the car with the later manifold and carb. assembly.


    OK, thanks for info!


    That is correct. It was a great running car then. Phil lived just a few miles from me. He became acquainted with the Pierce club transporting cars to PAS meets for me. He then joined the club and acquired several Pierce Arrows. Bob Sands knows that car well.


    I personally like this car, interesting colors and all…

    If I were actively after this car, I would ABSOLUTELY need to hear it run myself. If I heard ANYTHING that was troubling for me, I would need to have room on the price to have rod and or main bearing work done if needed. We all know that this type of work is expensive.

    Caveat Emptor (Let the buyer beware)!


    This car is like mine but much nicer condition, I have some questions maybe somebody can help with.

    1.The ebay car has a burl wood dash panel and as best I can tell mine is straight grain, were there optional wood grain choices?

    2.Is the amount of chrome on the engine and accessories correct or was that optional? Same with the interior, shift/brake levers?

    I’m not wanting to overrestore. Thanks in advance. Jim Livings


    Service Bulletin 72-3, page 9, is a good reference for engine finishes. Back issues are available.


    Hi Jim,

    Paul gave you some good initial advice. There are good guidelines in PASB 72-3. The example that you gave of the shift lever and hand brake lever is a good one. Many cars were built with “Japan Black” levers. There were also many cars built with chrome levers. Especially in the ’29-’31 era, it just kind of depended what was in the parts bins on the assembly line when the car was built. Another example that comes to mind is white faced instruments vs. black face instruments in this period.

    Under the hood, many of the chrome accessories were provided by the dealers in response to customer’s requests to Make their Pierce “special”.

    I have seen everything from a totally black engine with virtually NO chrome accessories on a 1930 Model C to an “over the top” restoration with too many things chromed and cast iron heads milled smooth like a head made from an alloy billet.

    To me, it is a matter of taste and authenticity. Chrome on the water jacket plate is a popular option, and looks nice under the hood. Chrome head bolts, under hood horn bolts, distributor tower bolts, ignition wiring loom mounting bolts, and chrome water outlet mounting bolts are typical. Many of the oil fill covers were chromed.

    Other items that are occasionally chromed under the hood are fuel line, vacuum line, fuel line elbows, exhaust flange bolts, ignition wire tube, and throttle linkage.

    There are things, that in my opinion, that should not be chromed if the owner wants authenticity, but if someone just wants to make a big chrome statement under the hood, it is still America and owners can do what they want. Things like distributor bodies, generator housings, starter housings, manifolds, cylinder heads, air filter housings were just not really chromed back in the day.

    Not to mention that the cost of chroming things is in an ever rising spiral, there is a “less is more” kind of philosophy that serves Pierce-Arrow restorations well with respect to chrome under the hood.

    One time, I observed my 1931 Model 43 parked next to a 1931 Cadillac V-12 at a car show at Hickory Corners. I remember remarking to someone how conservative the Pierce looked, with respect to the amount of chrome, when parked next to the Cadillac. Cadillacs just have a lot more chrome trim, fasteners, handles, etc.

    If you would like some pictures for reference of chrome items under the hood, let me know, I would be glad to send you some.

    Happy Motoring,



    Thanks Paul, I looked at ordering the set of 3 CDs of all the bulletins of the 70s,80s and 90s but I can’t find them on a order form. I must be missing them somewhere.

    Chris I would appreciate it if you would send some reference pictures. I have a 1930 Mod B 5 pass 4 dr sedan. Thanks to you both Jim.


    For Service Bulletin CD-Rom go to Back Issues, scroll down to PAS Service Bulletins Back Issues first paragraph.


    The Service Bulletin CDs have been replaced by a single USB drive containing all Service Bulletins available. It looks like the Paynes have removed the old CDs from the order form, but don’t have the USB version added yet.

    You might contact Jim & Barbara Payne at [email protected].


    Thank you Pauls. Jim


    For those looking to order the PAS Service Bulletins on a flash drive, just make sure you make a backup copy of your drive when you get it.

    Being in the IT field I have seen far too many flash, or ‘thumb’ drives, just quit working with zero hint of them going bad.

    One time you put it in your USB port and it works fine, next time you do the same thing and you can’t read anything at all. Most times there is no rhyme or reason for why the device failed.

    I even have backup copies of the 3 CDs I purchased back in 2006.


    The full set of Service Bulletins, 1966-2013, is available from Jim and Barbara Payne on a single CD.

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