Bracket headlamps on the later series Pierce-Arrow 1932 -38

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    I am just curious, what headlamps was used, in the 1930’s for P-A’s to be modified to bracket in place of fender headlamps? I have seen earlier that Marchal lights were used. Were Biflex or Lucas P-100’s used? How late did P-A offer conversions at factory? Did most modified cars got to export? Or, were the conversions just dealer or owner modifications? Who has pictures, ideas, opinions etc.


    Just curious


    I know you are asking for 1930’s but here is a little support from Norway of a 1915 modell 38. Look at the headlamps – English? or Marchal?


    Here is a photo you can see on Ebay – a 1929 modell. The lamps look very ordinary.


    This one is from Sweden – a 1919 model. The lamps look like the same type they used on Rolls-Royce. I am not familiar with the Product name.


    Good Questions!

    Has anyone seen a post 1931 Pierce-Arrow with conventional headlights?

    I always though that the conventional headlights were just a matter of owner personal preference and not anything to do with export.

    I can’t address the maker of the conventional headlights. I knew a member that accidentally broke one of his conventional lenses on a 1930. He had a hard time finding a correct replacement!


    The bracket headlamps on the Norwegian C-3 appear to be possibly English C.A.Vandervell or of French origin.The lamps on the Swedish Series 33 appear to be the factory drum headlamps that I believe were made by Adlake

    or AGA.Most post 1931 Pierce Arrows when equipped with bracket headlamps were supplied by a US lamp manufacturer.Pierce Arrows delivered in other markets might be fitted with lamps or reflectors so as to have the lamps

    conform to local law and these would be supplied by a European auto lamp

    supplier.France required certain reflectors and later yellow bulbs.In more recent times US cars delivered in France and other countries were not allowed to use sealed beams and had to be fitted with Marchal,Cibie or other European Code units just like foreign cars sold in the US had to be equipped with DOT approved headlamps.


    Pierce-Arrow Society member Roland Scheuchzer who lives in Switzerland has a 1934 Model 840A 7-Pass. Sedan with bracket headlamps. I have a headlamp lens catalog that lists lenses for bracket headlamps through 1938. However, I do not know of a car later than Scheuchzer’s with bracket headlamps.


    Len Urlik had a 1932 Model 54 Convertible sedan with bracket headlights. He told me that the Bracket headlights were needed to comply with New York DMV laws when the car was first sold there. I have no idea if this is true.



    I seem to remember that bracket headlamps were a factory option at “no extra cost””. Refer to 1929 & 1930 factory catalogues. Cheers



    I believe the 1932 that Steve mentions was the one restored by B.B. Crump of Baton Rouge. It lived on the Gulf coast in Mississippi for a while, I had a chance to buy it, but not enough resources at the time to restore it. I never liked the bracket headlights, it seems to steal the soul of the Pierce, the distinctive fender headlights make the rest of the styling come alive in some manner….


    I understand that the New York DMV “outlawed” outboard lights alone somewhere in the later 1920s, as they were perceived as a nighttime traffic hazard (looked like two motorcycles coming at you).

    I think that it was a Packard plot.

    After that time, cowl lights and supplemental bracket lights became mandatory on Pierce-Arrow cars registered in New York State.

    It is all truly amazing, considering that Pierce-Arrow was manufactured in the Great State of New York.

    In any case, one did not NEED to have bracket headlights, just cowl or bracket auxiliary lights that were lit when the headlights were lit.

    I have cowl lights on my 1925 Series 80 (a family car since 1928 and a NY State resident for 80-years) and the lights are on a separate switch. I do not know if the later cars have the headlights and auxiliary lights on the same switch, as are my “city” lights and “country” lights.


    Thanks for the comments and thoughts regarding bracket lights on the later Pierce-Arrows. Does anyone have a picture of the Swiss car owned by Roland Scheuchzer? I would like to put Dave C’s. thought (taking the P-A soul away) to the test and see how bracket lights change the character of the later Pierce-Arrow cars. Do any others have pictures that they are willing to post? Seems a few years back, I saw a 1930-31 big series touring car with the bracket lights. I just can’t remember where so I could post it. I am still curious about these conversions being home-brew, dealer prepared or from the factory. Paul, does your lens catalog list anything about the light manufacture or just the lens? Not that it is a big thing, but this subject could be a nice base for an article in our publication.



    Here is a photo of the 1929 catalogue page with the headlamp options..


    Another go–jak.


    A little tip for the headlamp photo. Click on it to enlarge then save into My Pictures folder on your computer then you can read the printing. Cheers



    Thanks Jak for the picture. Do you have any similar literature or pictures that show later series Pierce-Arrow cars with bracket lamps or relating to factory suggestion of bracket lamps?


    Let’s see if these pics load.

    Don’t tell anyone, but I swiped them from the PAS website pics of the Lexington Meet.


    Here is another.


    Hello Peter, Thanks for posting the pictures of additional bracket headlamp equipped later series Pierce-Arrows. Do you, perchance, have any knowledge of the MFG. of the lamps on the Conv. coupe? I can’t quite tell what lens design they have. Now, I am also interested in the MFG of the fender lights. Bite my lip, they sure look like Studebaker items. Does anyone have a clue on the fender lamps? Though Studebaker may have been a player in Pierce-Arrow history, I see no connection with the bracket headlamps. More pictures and especially of cars later than 1932. My curiosity is elevated on this subject.



    Hello Alan,

    The 1929, Model 133 or 143, Convertible Coupe belongs to Robert & Betty Reenders of Michigan, or at least did at the time of the Lexington Meet.

    Find them in the Roster and asks them about the details.

    Good hunting.


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