Hints needed to verify identity of a 1936-37-38 chassis

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    I have, what I had thought to be, a 1601 chassis (8 cylinder). I have a question, for those of you with more experience than I. What items or differences, if any, can I use to verify the identity of the chassis? This chassis is a bare rolling chassis, no engine or trans. I would just like to know for sure, if possible, 8 cylinder or 12 cylinder. Your help and experience is appreciated.



    Who has had experience restoring both the 12 cylinder and also the 8 cylinder Pierce-Arrow cars? I would like to ask you a few questions.

    Thanks, Alan



    I do not know about the ’36-’38 chassis, but the 1934-5 12 chassis is the same as an 8 except for: The front springs have one more (12) leaf on the twelve, and the rear engine mount brackets are riveted in the forward holes for the twelve, and the aft holes for the longer eight-cyl engine.




    I had not heard that before. It does make sense to have the two sets of holes, one for the twelve and one for the 8. Common sense would lead me to deduct that a similar method would be carried over into the 36-37-38 frames. If you think of any other little differences please drop a line.

    Regards, Alan


    Hi, an eight would have none of the 4 through bolt holes in the rear end cover with the large nuts attached. A twelve would have the 4 large nuts showing. Unless the rear had been changed at some time. Ed


    Hello Ed,

    Thanks for your response. I must admit, I am curious about your comments about the rear end cover differences between an 8 cylinder and a 12 cylinder car. Could you please attach a picture that will graphically show the differences, that you suggest, or that I can compare with my chassis? I am now thinking I may have a 12 and not an 8 but I am just not sure. The rear motor mounts appear to be forward with room to move them back (as if it needed more length for an 8). Any help or further information would be greatly appreciated.

    Regards, Alan


    Here is a shot of a plain 8 rear end cover. Note there are no 4 large nuts on face of cover.


    Here is a shot of a 12 rear and you can clearly see one of the 4 large nuts. Hope this helps. Ed


    Hello Ed,

    Yes, the pictures you posted do help to identify my chassis. Do you also have any pictures of the rear engine mount area so I can compare that area also? Also, do you know what the extra 4 heavy bolts do for the rear axle of a 12 cylinder? I wonder why they did not keep them internal?

    Thanks again for your time.



    Hi Alan, the 12 rear is just heavier than the later style 8. Early 8 and 12 rears are the same. I rather not list the chassis differences from an 8 to a 12 due to people doing non authentic engine swaps on cars. Years later converted cars with seagrave engines get passed off as factory. There are at least a dozen different chassis differences from an 8 to a 12 an I rather hold the information close to the vest so it is possible to spot converted cars. Seagrave engines have MANY differences from a Pierce 12 and over the last 20 years I have been studying them. I can usually tell at a quick glance if a 12 engine is correct or not. Some people consider a Seagrave engine as an acceptable substitute for a factory Pierce 12, I do not. If you would like to send me detailed photos of your chassis I will be happy to identify it for you. My best, Ed


    Hello Ed, Not sure if I understand where you are coming from, in your last post, but that’s OK. My chassis is out in the snow right now. When I can get to it, I will post a picture of the rear motor mount and see if you can verify that my chassis is, by that motor mount area, an “8” or a “12”. I see that the rear end I have does not match that of a “12”. If the rear motor mount is as far forward as possible, hmmmm. Would that be a “12”? I am in this to understand and properly ID my frame, just as you mentioned in your posting.




    Hello Ed and other who may teach me some about identifying 1936-37-38 chassis differences between the 8 and the 12. I suppose it is a mystery to me but should not be a secret. Please find attached a couple of pictures. One is of the drivers side rear motor mount area and the second is of the drivers side front motor mount. I am ready to learn and await some teaching.

    Regards, Alan


    Here is the other picture.



    Does anyone have the measurement of an 8 cylinder from the front mount to the rear mount, so I can compare with the above photos?

    Thanks, Alan


    Hi Alan, I don’t have easy access to an eight chassis, but I have two twelve chassis sitting out in the open so I will compare the photos you posted to them. As far as the unlimited distribution of information on the differences from an eight to a twelve, here is a current example. Currently on Pre War Car there are 2 1936 Pierce Arrows for sale. A Limo with an eight and a Coupe advertised as a twelve with an engine missing. While I have never seen the cars I know several members who have, and they clearly identify the coupe as an eight. Basically the two cars combined could make one, correct eight coupe. Now, how would any non knowledgeable person feel if he purchased the cars as advertised? A bad Pierce Arrow experience for any old car hobbyist weather or not he is a current PAS member is bad for all the members of the club, and the hobby as a whole. As an owner and fan of the V-12 cars, advertisements and promotions of cars that are not correct cast suspicion on all authentic twelve cars. This is why I prefer to keep the information quiet and on as need to know basis. Ed



    I have a 1936 model 1601 8 cylinder, and I am a couple of years from finishing a frame-up rebuild. The motor is installed. So I used a tape measure. My measurement might be off by as much as a half inch. I measured 41 1.2 inches from the middle of the front mount to the spot in between the rear double mounts. This is on the passenger side.

    I hope this helps. Here is a photo.



    Mr Baird, thanks for the contribution to this ducussion. Looks like a nice project-the engine looks very fresh!


    Hello John,

    I also want to thank you for taking the time and dropping a picture of your work in progress. Just for the learning process, I will measure my raw chassis today and compare my measurement with yours. Did you complete the engine rebuild yourself? If so, what was your biggest headache in so doing? Have you also rebuilt your transmission? Same question, what was your biggest headache? My chassis will need some rust out removal before I get to the position of setting the engine in. I think I will build a cheapy cradle to hold the frame true and from creeping around during the weld repair and also to allow me into better weld position. Does anyone have ideas for a cradle? Thanks to everyone who has responded both on this forum and in private.

    Regards, Alan

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