Build Card

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    Is tĥere build cards for Pierce Arrow autos that can be sent to PA owners? Thanks, Dave Stephens

    St. Louis, MO


    I have recently purchased a PA model 81 5 passenger sedan, serial #8105253. It already has the AACA

    HPOF certification badge. Since I’m the new owner, does the HPOF certification stay with the car? And, where is the best place to display it on the car? Thanks, Dave Stephens, St.Louis, MO.


    David Stephens –

    I have been looking for factory build cards for some time but never found any, nor ever ran into a good lead about them. But from the great amount of original Pierce-Arrow information I continue to find, together with items such as some Packard Cuban records in a desk drawer in Massachusetts, I suspect some survive. But great determination is required to locate them, and most likely includes a trip to Buffalo. Some of Joe Koperski’s (I hope I am spelling his name correctly) factory photos were published in an Arrow years ago; wherever his work is now, I do not know, but it is about the Series 81 time period.

    I think it was Ron Blisset’s father who operated a dealership in Connecticut at the time of the Series 81. Dealers went to the factory every so often; he may have some knowledge of the production cards.

    I hope this helps

    Brooks Brierley


    Hi Dave, and congratulations on your new car. I’ve had a couple of HPOF cars over the years and the certification does stay with the car. I always put the badge as a tab on the corner of the front or rear license plate. I believe the AACA sells a brass mounting tab for that purpose.


    I just noticed your Series 81 used to be here in Florida. It is a great driver and used to attend Florida Region meets in Naples. So, recalling that was a reminder to check for early Arrow magazine references. I found these:

    Arrow #71-2 has a lot of material on the Series 81, and reproduced some data book pages and factory photos.

    Joe Koperski and the late 1920s Pierce-Arrow Photographic Department are discussed in Arrow #81-3.

    Arrow #00-2 has an abbreviated recension table of all Pierce-Arrow production.


    I’ve never heard of a ‘build card’ for a Pierce Arrow. I’m sure there was a clipboard or folder of information regarding the paint colors and fabric choices as well as the few available options to be added to this particular car.

    I guess it would be like a ‘build sheet’ that were left in some assembly-line cars in certain locations. Such as in ’60’s and ’70’s corvettes: Usually a build sheet is on top of the gasoline tank when the car reaches the dealership.

    For the Pierce Arrow, virtually all records, sale records, engineering paperwork etc was sold for scrap paper at the bankruptcy sale in 1938. So any data bank of information regarding our cars was lost.

    There are reprints and original owner/operator manuals, Salesman’s data books, sales literature, and parts manuals available either from literature sales websites, or PAS members, or from the AACA library.

    And of course, you can ask specific questions regarding the Series 81 cars here on the message board.

    Greg Long


    I’m glad you qualify saying all records are lost by adding the word virtually. Years ago, when I was researching “There Is No Mistaking A Pierce-Arrow,” I met the attorney who worked on Pierce-Arrow’s bankruptcy at the Federal Reserve Bank. Fortunately he was still there and we met at the bank. He mentioned attending the bankruptcy sale and bought one of the advertising drawings (which he showed me) and also a tool (I think it was a type of drill). After lunch, I looked through the thick bankruptcy file and found data fragments of the 1936-1938 car and trailer sales and production which I published in “There Is No Mistaking A Pierce-Arrow;” the red herring for the stock sale that I uncovered at the bank was reproduced in the Arrow, and the original is now in the Society’s collection.

    William Emblidge was Pierce’s last corporate secretary. He knew about the PAS and attended an early Buffalo meet. He is said to have saved a lot of memorabilia; which I understand is now being displayed in the Buffalo Pierce-Arrow Transportation Museum. I have not been there since they moved to the new building and can only wonder if any build records are there.

    So I would not give up on looking for original Pierce-Arrow records.



    I have some paperwork (files and such) and some factory-use forms that I’ve acquired over the years, as I’m sure many do, so not all paper goods were destroyed.

    It would be nice if it were all in one place for research, but that’s a tall order. Wonder if the Emblidge collection is “on loan” or was given to that museum, sure would be nice if PAS could collect it, or second best, the AACA museum so it would be preserved and archived correctly.


    No one has mentioned the Studebaker Museum in South Bend as a record source. The Series 81 was in production when Studebaker purchased control; the reorganization included new record formats. Some of those Pierce-Arrow records include monthly profit-and-loss statements listing vehicles by model (not body style), with the number produced and sold, plus details such as profit per model and factory sales branch costs.

    The profit-and-loss information compares current and prior year results: I do not remember what 1928 statements remain but 1928 numbers would be included in 1929 statements. Checking a recension table (Pierce’s master list of all car and truck numbers built from 1901, organized by sections of a model run) with the profit-and-loss entries may reveal the month a car was made.

    The University of Michigan’s Pierce-Arrow Collection is known for acquiring the bulk of Pierce-Arrow’s photograph and advertising art collection, but it also has some text records – such as one volume of the giant-size 1928 newspaper article scrapbooks. There may be more Series 81 information in there, too.


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