1932 model 54 value

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    My cousin is selling her father’s 1932 model 54 and she is planning on selling via auction in Auburn, Indiana in early June. We have had a hard time putting a value on the vehicle because we can not find any comparables on the internet. As far as anyone knows, the car has not been restored. The vehicle is located in Muncie, Indiana and was owned by Loyd Riggin for over 40 years. My cousin is over 90 years old and has just now been able to part ways with her father’s pride and joy.


    The serial number 1050017 and has been owned by my cousins family since 1960. We did take for a drive last weekend and i was surprised at how smooth it drove and how quiet it was.


    The hood ornament is stored separately.


    The experts here would need more information about the car.

    Does it run and drive well?

    When were various mechanical services performed?

    Has the engine ever been rebuilt and if so, by whom?

    The more details and pictures you can provide, the more likely someone here would venture to put a value on the car without inspecting it in person.


    My cousin can not remember much about the service history of the car. Sometime last month she had a mechanic for a tree service company work on it and all I can tell that he did to it was put fresh fuel in it and installed new spark plug wires. She paid him $2,400 for his services. The pictures I have been posting are all from last weekend and i will be posting more pictures that I took today. We drove it up to 30mph down a side road for approximately 2 miles and I was surprised at how smooth the ride was. The engine had a little trouble starting because of lack of fuel but once it was started, it ran like a sewing machine. The engine does have some oil leaks. Mice have chewed though the headliner above the sun visor. It has always been stored on jack stands. The temp gauge is missing, it has a old philco radio mounted on the steering column,and my great uncle added an in-tank fuel pump.


    Another pic











    Looks like a nice driver quality car that could be put on the road with some careful attention from someone knowledgeable about Pierce-Arrows. Please bring it to the Annual Meet in Pokagon State Park near Angola to find an market for the car. Meet dates are June 11-15. See info on the website. At the meet you can get very good advice on the actual values in today’s market. Also put an ad in the online Emporium. Selling the car through the club is the best way to find potential buyers who appreciate Pierce-Arrows. It is the best way to get positive results for both the buyer and seller.

    Most auctions will not do justice to a Pierce-Arrow like this and your cousin will be disappointed with the result. Unless the auction is predominately for Full Classic cars of the 1930’s it will be undervalued and unappreciated by the potential buyers in the room.

    If this is an Auction with a normal assortment of 1950 to 1990 cars the result will be the worst possible outcome…going to a dealer at a very low price less more expense for the seller.

    Dave Stevens


    Hi Ryan, a car in this great condition could very well be a candidate for the R. Vale Faro Trophy at our upcoming meet in Indiana.

    We would all love to have you and your family visit the PAS national meet in just over a month.



    While I appreciate that you’re asking for value information, it’s a real minefield for someone to give you a value based on looking at a few pictures. Car looks very nice, but could be hidden issues the pictures don’t show.

    It would be more helpful if you stated something like “the family thinks that it’s worth at least $xxxx”, and then we could give you our opinion of that valuation.

    The minefield comes when the family thinks it’s a $100,000 car, which it’s not, and someone here states that it’s worth X, much less than what the family thinks. Then, hard feelings ensue.

    I look at pictures and I can think of a range of value for the car, at least in my mind, but again, if I told you that figure and your family thinks it’s worth two or three times that, then the danger is your family thinking “darn Pierce Arrow folks, trying to undervalue and steal our car”…..

    So, my best advice to you is to come up with a dollar figure your family thinks it’s worth (and everyone has a number in mind, in my experience), let us know what it is, and we’ll tell you if it’s reasonable. If it is in the reasonable range, then you might even sell it here and save transportation and auction fees.

    If you think the $2400 maintenance bill was bad (which does sound high, unless he dropped the gas tank and rebuilt carb and so forth), wait until you see what it costs to run a car through a major auction…..


    I agree with David’s comments 100 percent. I will add that that auction is a poor venue for that car…….and will likely make it bring a lower price than some others. Best of luck with the car….


    Nobody in my family has a clue as to what the value may be. Another cousin has contacted R.M. Auctions and they suggested a reserve of $46,000, but no one has yet to pay the entry fee so it is not officially in the auction. I am having a hard time trying to convince her not to put the car in the auction and I am trying to get help from other family members to convince her to take it to the PAS annual meet.


    Let’s try this…


    And this…


    Please don’t hire an appraiser and use his “value” as an asking price.

    I have very little respect for appraisers. They tend to inflate the value of a car in order to make the customer happy, to justify their fee.

    Then the poor family advertises the car at the appraised value or higher, stating that this is what it was appraised for. And the car is on the market for years.

    An appraisal is only good for maybe insurance purposes. If someone says what they think your car is worth, THAT is worthless unless he is willing to pay you that price. I can say your car is worth $85,000 but am I willing to give you that money? . . . . “Oh, if only I had the garage space, or if only my kid didn’t need college tuition or grandma need a new kidney. ” Excuses are worthless.

    Two things I would do:

    Get it to the Pierce meet in/near Angola, Indiana. Not far for you. Let people talk about it, and solicit opinions on its worth, keeping in mind these are opinions.

    Put it through eBay. Maybe with an optimistic reserve, just in case. Nobody sells cars on eBay but at least you will get some idea of what people are willing to pay. Will cost a few bucks but you don’t need to transport it to a big auction and pay their exorbitant fees. And you will learn something.

    But if the family just wants it to go to a good home, put a reasonable, very fair, almost bargain price on it and sell it to a PAS member who will give it what it needs and enjoy the car. I think that’s better than holding out to the last nickle and waiting six years to get some high price. Advertise it here. This is a very good bunch of people. Will be a good legacy to the owner.

    Sorry to sound critical, but I’ve seen this scenario too many times.

    Best of luck. Hope everyone is happy in the end.


    Thank you for those who have posted with sound advice and who corrected my upside down photos. Don’t worry about being critical, I have been critical of my family’s handling of the situation. I soon as I heard that the car was going up for sale without anyone doing some independent research, I was trying to stop the process and I immediately began looking up the PAS. I love the car and was wanting to buy it from my cousin but she insists on getting “fair market value” for it. I asked her how she was going to determine what that was and she said, “by sending it to the auction”. I have tried to explain to her that there is no guarantee of getting a “fair value” by taking it to auction. I told that I have been to many house auctions and have seen houses worth 50,000 to 60,000 sold for just 10,000 because nobody was there to bid on them. I believe that it is more than a coincidence that within a month of my cousin’s decision to sell the car, the PAS is having it’s annual meet just 2 hours from where the car sits.



    Your home sale experiences are similar to this case. You found no good comparables because most Pierce-Arrows are bought and sold within our small P-A community. Only exceptional model in pristine condition will do well at auction. Most cars will not. Sedans hardly never do well!

    Here’s a recent Auction experience example. A good friend passed away and his children decided to sell the nice open Pierce with a good history and nice older restoration. They advertised it in the club, a bunch of car trader magazines and Hemmings at over $170,000. I had told them their expectations were at least a third over the market value.

    Two years later they called with a question about the car and told me they were sending it to a major auction because nobody had responded to their ads. I advised they wouldn’t get what the very prominent auction company was telling them and pushed them for their bottom line to save the auction expenses. I told them I’d likely get them an offer for that amount within 24 hours. The next day they accepted that $100K cash offer from a Society member. A few days later they got greedy, backed out and signed to send it to the auction. With the detailing, prep and the auction fees they cleared barely over $60K, losing out on almost $40K. And that was at a very high profile auction with lots of Full Classics.

    I have two great Pierce-Arrows that were purchased from Society members and both sides got very fair values. When the time comes we will sell them through the Society…probably to the first member with a serious interest at a reasonable price.

    Your cousin should pay attention to the probably disappointing value advice of several members and sell it to you to keep her Father’s memory alive in the family. And you should pay her a fair price for doing so! I hope to see you and the Pierce at the Annual Meet.

    Dave Stevens

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