1934 1240A

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    Okay, I am a newbie here, and I’m just curious if anyone knows anything about the nice 1934 1240A that is being offered at the Volo Auto Museum in Volo, IL. I think about that car a lot, and kind of wonder if anyone has had any experience with it. Don’t know if I’d be able to afford it right now, but I want to start looking into a nice car for my retirement. I’m pretty mechanically inept, so want to be rather careful. Another question, probably more general, is that I’m sure that this car will not fit in my garage. Right now a Dodge Magnum and a Chevy Tahoe make a very tight fit. I’m sure the Pierce is longer than the Tahoe, which would be evicted to the street to make room for a Pierce. Any suggestions on safe storage areas in the NW Chicago area? Considering the composite body, steel panels with wood framing, would temperature control be advisable?



    There are much more knowledgeable (is that a word?) guys and gals on this forum than myself, but the main thing to consider when buying a 12 is condition of engine.

    Previously discussed on the forum, so I won’t mention numbers again, but the difference between a well sorted, excellent V-12, and one that needs a rebuild, is huge…and your retirement fund will be stressed.

    Don’t get me wrong, great cars, putting your foot into a 12’s torque is amazing, I’ve owned one and driven one recently, and there’s nothing like it. Dollars and sense, though, just be careful….


    No, I see exactly what you mean. Same thing holds true for a car like a Rolls or Bentley. You can buy a 1990s vintage of either of these cars for a pretty reasonable price. If the car has been maintained well, the components are well engineered and will give great service. If the car hasn’t been maintained, it will cost you a fortune to fix it. That’s why I am interested in the history of some of these vehicles. While I don’t think I am ready to buy anything tomorrow, I want to make sure that I get the right car, and one that I can live with.


    Hi Ken,

    Looks like a pretty complete car, one that could be a nice driver, but not a show car w/o $$.

    Regarding your question on length, your Chevy Tahoe should be 204″ long, my ’34 Pierce 840A (139″ WB) is 210″ long, and the 1240A Limo (144″ WB) should be no more than 215″ long.

    Looking at the pictures on the Volo W/S, here are the little things I spotted that don’t HAVE to be changed, but would be $$ items if you wanted to make the car completely authentic from a judging standpoint: wrong h/l ($$) and aux light lenses, backup lenses should be amber, rear bumper is actually a front bumper (rear does not have dip in middle), LF door check strap missing, running board covers incorrect (too many ribs, no aluminum salon strips in every other slot), outside window w/s needs repl., extra handle under lower front hood doors, chrome and paint have age issues, wrong gas cap, pipe sticks up too high, gas gauge missing, temp gauge needs new convex glass (not a big deal), looks like firewall insulation missing (available), steering column floor grommet missing (avail.), headlight lever on steering column broken, clutch pedal pad wrong, upholstery looks like it might be corduroy instead of broadcloth, modern regulator, Startix on wrong side, wrong oil filter, pretty sure top insert molding wrong, with exposed screws. That said, not a bad car for the price if it doesn’t require engine work. I wouldn’t buy a car without a compression check. Does it vapor lock on a hot day after a long drive? Does the free-wheeling work? Are the brakes fantastic? (They should be.)

    Hope I didn’t dash your hopes – just wanted to point out items so you know beforehand.




    Ken- I don’t know anything about the Pierce but I did buy a car from Volo 18 months ago. There was a lot of communication and photos were sent, the sales guy I dealt with seemed nice. Had a lot of questions on the correctness and part numbers, they always responded well and sent pictures of the prices in question. It was a “survivor” that had never been modified, 90% original paint, only tires, battery and a fan belt had been changed. I was traveling for work and could not make it to Volo so I took a chance and bought it. The car was delivered the day I came home……yikes!

    Between the time the original photos were taken for the site and I bought the car, someone decided to “detail” under the hood with a rattle can. I was livid, called them back and told them I bought the car because it was untouched the paint was incorrect shade and looked like hell. The sales guy said he would make it right or take it back. Seeing the fizz can work was fresh it all came off with a lot of cleaners, solvent, q-tips and most of all time.

    I was satisfied with the results and they refunded me enough of what I paid to the point that I was rather happy.

    Would I buy from them again-yes. I would just ask the question, has anything changed since the photos were taken and have the sales guy look or actualiy go there to inspect.

    The Pierce I would definitely inspect in person or pay a knowledgeable person to do so on your behalf.


    Ken, Jim above just gave GREAT advice. Pay someone who knows these cars to look at it. I have not seen photos of the car in question. V-12 Pierce Arrows are great cars, they can take a bit to get them sorted, but once dialed in the run forever. Before you buy ANY Pierce have a expert look at it, it will be the best money you ever spent. Ed.


    Ok, just looked over the photos for five minutes. Ken, if you like, give me a call and I will discuss this car with you. I have never seen it in person, but see other things worth commenting on. I rather do so on the phone. I am in Portugal right now, but will be home by mid day Sunday. My number is listed in the roster. Ed


    I am literally overwhelmed at the response to my inquiry. I really appreciate all of the help. While this car is not exactly the Pierce I would want to own, it’s close enough where I would be happy with it, but on the other hand, if it would require too much work to be feasible for me I can hold off. I live in Chicago, so the ride out to Volo is only about an hour, but you all have given me a good idea of what to look for. I’ve been following Pierces in Hemmings for quite a few years, and have seen prices all over the place. This car seems to have been out a Volo for a while now. I’ll keep you abreast of what is going on. Thanks again, all.


    It’s been interesting to watch the values of Pierce Arrow cars over the years.

    While the value is not the driving force for me being in the hobby, and it was fairly meaningless for a number of years, current values have one talking to their banker and financial planner occasionally. This was not the case in the ’70’s and most of the ’80’s, you bought a car because you enjoyed it more than the money it cost.

    For a while, a Pierce (excuses to Rodney Dangerfield) “got no respect”. Put a Packard phaeton up for sale, put a Pierce phaeton up for sale, the Packard would bring two times or more the money.

    I’ve watched that change, as we all have. Early 30’s, there’s some parity, and the comparison becomes meaningless in the late 30’s. For example, I have a 1938 Super Eight convertible coupe, and it’s worth far less than the comparable (and only) ’38 Pierce of the same body style.

    I’ve also watched as closed cars have increased in value. For a long time, a closed Pierce was an inexpensive entry into the world of both PAS and Full Classic status. Now, a nice closed Pierce brings good money, and with the exception of certain custom bodied cars, in the Packard money or more.

    While one has to be careful these days to buy a good car, one also has to understand that they need to buy a car they really like, can enjoy, can use, and meet the wonderful people in our hobby.

    It always amazes me that people will give little thought to spending $40K on a new car, which is worth half that four years later, but to spend the same on a Classic….oh my gosh, I have to get my money back and then some if I decide to sell it….ignoring the fun, friends, places that the Classic can give to you….it’s an investment in memories, not for your estate..

    Whew, that’s a long step off this soapbox, but I’ll take it now…



    I live in Glen Ellyn and I have a running 1240A Convertible Coupe. If you’d like to come out and see it, hear it and ride in it you can contact me at 630-469-9138.



    Kenneth, I strongly recommend you take Bill up on his offer. His 1240A is fantastic.


    Hello Ken, I too would recommend you go meet Bill and Wilma in Glen Ellyn. Not only is their 1240A a wonderful car, but Bill has a wealth of knowledge regarding the authenticity and mechanical soundness of his cars.

    You might be able to go over some photos of the VOLO car with Bill to get his opinion.

    David : your last comment is right ‘on the money’. I too am amazed at the people who buy off-road toys, like quads, motorcycles, snowmobiles etc, and virtually have to give them away in 5-10 years, yet they insist that if they buy a collector car, it must be able to offer a return on their ‘investment’..


    always amazes me that people will give little thought to spending $40K on a new car, which is worth half that four years later, but to spend the same on a Classic….oh my gosh, I have to get my money back and then some if I decide to sell it….ignoring the fun, friends, places that the Classic can give to you….it’s an investment in memories, not for your estate..


    That’s a great insite into the collector-car mentality.

    Greg Long

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