1934 Barn Find – What do you think?

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    Let’s do something a little different and maybe have some fun. Everyone likes looking at a barn find!

    Last weekend I looked at a Piece- Arrow project. Before I saw the car, I was told that it was a 1934 836a. I believe the car to be a 1934 840a, correct? This one has a completely painted radiator shell (no chrome face plate with chrome shutters). It has painted shutters. Is that correct?

    The owner passed away a year ago. Twenty years ago the engine was reportedly worked on (new rings, valve job, bearings checked, etc.). There are no receipts for work and the only sign of possible work is an empty box for perfect circle rings, a visible replacement head and pan gasket and 20 year old black paint on the engine. The body and fenders were painted at that time. The hood is there, but it has not been painted.

    The transmission and rear end have not been rebuilt and I have no idea if the brakes have been touched.


    The interior has been stripped out of the car.

    Can anyone post or send me a couple of photographs of what the finished inside of the front and back door should look like? The original inside door panels and the panels under the rear quarter windows are not with the car. I am concerned that wood trim pieces and arm rests are missing.

    The seat springs and window moldings are with the car. The two rear seat vanities are there, but the lighter is missing. The clock and wood piece around the clock for the back of the front seat is there. The foot rest is with the car.

    Known missing or broken items:

    1 hood handle broken (latch mechanism is there)

    2 hood vent spears (hood has two rows of two vents per side)

    Original fuel pump (20 year old, non-ethanol proof electric pump installed)

    The lower grill round Pierce emblem

    1 broken inside window handle

    1 inside door handle escutcheon

    1 inside window handle escutcheon

    2 robe rail pivot pieces and bar or cord is broken and missing respectively

    1 rear pot metal hood center mounting piece

    The original archer has a piece missing that is a bit smaller than a dime just ahead of where the hood center chrome strip ends. Can the pot metal archer be repaired? Does the hood center attach to the archer in some way ( slide over the back of the archer base)? If so, great idea to mount a one ton hood with two pot metal pieces!

    The passenger side engine pan.

    The amp gauge is not a Pierce-Arrow gauge.

    The correct temperature gauge is with the car, but the glass tube is broken.

    The steering wheel based control knobs are broken. Are these knobs for the lights and idle control like my 1931?

    The light control main assembly at the bottom of the steering column is missing.

    Did 1934 Pierce-Arrows come standard with a heater? The car had a heater at one time mounted to the passenger side cowl, it has been removed and is missing.

    What on the dash is missing and incorrect? The glove box doors are with the car, just not installed.


    In the photographs, the car is resting on a homemade dolly that could support a house!

    The car shows 74,000 miles.

    The paint is decent driver quality, but there is some pinholes and bubbling on the passenger side door bottoms. The damage is where dirt would be held between the wood and metal door skin. The rest of the metal is in great condition on this car. No wood on this car needs to be replace, little or no door sag and the top wood is good.

    The bumper chrome, parking lights and horns are original chrome and are driver quality. The interior plating, especially the steering column plating should really be redone.

    The original three piece muffle is on the car, but basically shot.

    The tire are new, 25 year old, multiply, 750-15 tires with no age cracks. The wheel trim rings are there and in good shape.

    The top insert material needs to be purchased and installed.

    Then hubcaps all need new skins.

    The glass is good in the car.

    So, as it stands, what do you think this car is worth? Are most of the missing items available for the car?


    Second Photograph


    Third and Last Photograph


    Just a thought:

    The rear tire mount say 836A. Most of the 840A’S had 2 fenter mount spares. The Serial and motor numbers will tell you the story.

    Try too get them and check with the PA Roster.

    Thanks for the post,

    Bob Lind


    I believe this is an 840, you could order it with the rear mount, the ’35 coupe I used to own had a rear mount…and wasn’t the 836 grill stamped, not shutters?


    The 836A did have a stamped grill and I would like to find a good one for my car.


    This is not an 836A. My 836A has a built in trunk that opens out

    from the top. It also has different tail lights and grill. If it’s not

    an 836A, it must be an 840A. 845’s are very similar, but your head

    light lenses look 1934. Be careful with them or you’ll be very sorry.


    Mr Lind’s comment about a rear spare denoting an 836A revives

    an old question in my mind. I have an 836A in my garage with a

    rear spare. Two out of The P-A Roster’s listed 13 remaining 836As

    have rear spares. The 836A was the cheapest P-A ever built(except

    some 1 cyl. ones).Why, in the depths of a depression, would you

    buy a car, trying to compete with a Series 90L Buick, price wise,

    and load it up with side mounts, and optional right tail lamp, and

    whatever else they offered? Why not just buy the 840A and get a bigger

    engine thrown in? My 836A even has the audacity to have a front seat

    in black leather or leatherette. Towncars of the time were so equipped

    to remind the professional driver of his place in society. How does

    Plain Jane rate such up-grades?



    For all the reason you listed, I agree 100% that this is a 840A sedan.

    Okay all you 840A owners, remember beauty is in the eye of the beholder…

    I personally like the look of the 836A sedan to this particular car. If this car came with a chrome radiator shell and chrome shutters, I might feel differently. I know that for $2K more, I probably can make that happen!

    I am surprised that Pierce offered a painted shell with painted shutters, a painted shell with a chrome front piece and chrome shutters and a chromed shell and chrome shutters in the same model.

    Can anybody provide any representative interior door panel photos and address the ballpark cost of some of the missing and broken parts for me?

    I am trying to come up with a reasonable offer for the family. The guy trying to help sell has a good understanding of restoration costs and realistic value. The widow, not so much…




    What a tough thing to estimate…for one thing, the chrome bill would be high, as you mention even the steering column on these cars was chrome, and although some is driver quality, you’re going to spend some…interior $10K or more….paint $10K minimum and probably more….a questionable engine adds to the bill, as does an $800 hood ornament…yes, the hood strip attaches to the back of the hood ornament and then to the “tail of the arrow” on the cowl, viewed from above the hood center strip is an arrow…..although the shutters could be bought from factory painted to match car, it’s very unusual, figure chrome on shell and shutters at $1500-2000… .this is why project cars are such a tough buy and a tough sell….

    Going out on a limb, and of course people can disagree, I’d say you could go out and buy a wonderful restored 840 sedan for $35 to $50K, depending on a lot of other conditions. If you bought this one for $10K, you’d have $40k-50K or more in it by the time you’re done….

    Not trying to be negative, just realistic….but if the car speaks to you and you want to save it go for it….


    Hi John,

    The 34 catalog has interior photos, drawings actually. The AACA Library has a copy in our collection. Chris Ritter will send you a copy for small fee.

    The extra wood on the doors and under the quarter windows is part of the Salon package I believe. You will find cars without it.

    Happy Motoring,



    For 1934 the side of the radiator shell is painted body color. Shutters painted black were standard. Chrome plated shutters were an extra cost option. A rear mounted spare tire was standard. Fender mounted spares were an extra cost option. Order a copy of the Dealer Data Book for 1934 from the PAS Library (item DDB-32 or DDB-33) The book gives information on both standard equipment and what options were available. It should answer a number of your questions.


    I have decided not to pursue this car further.

    It would be nice to see it go to a society member and at an upcoming annual meet. If interested, please contact Bruce Bowen at (607) 387-3918. Bruce is helping the widow sell the car. Please feel free to use my name when speaking with Bruce.

    John Dillman


    John; could you post the location for the members? Ed


    The car is located in a small town about 10 miles west of Ithaca, New York.

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