Studebaker influence or copy of P.A. 8 ?

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    When Studebaker bought out Pierce they set to design a new engine.They didn’t want the P.A. purchasers to think they were getting a Studebaker engine!However,The P.A. engines were cast

    in a Studebaker factory(with P.A. engineers upgrading the ingredients

    to a tougher level).The Stude did have 9 main bearings(my ’37

    President 8 has 9 main bearings, too).Ab Jenkins set 12 world

    records with that 8.Only experts can distinguish a Stude 8 from a Pierce 8 (29 to 30).I have a friend with a Pierce engine in his

    ’30 Stude Roadster(the design of the rear looks like a Pierce factory

    job).Nobody is the wiser.Marc Ralston says that the engine was planned before the merger and was completely P.A. developed.He also

    states that the car was brought out in less than half a year,leading

    historians to wonder how much Studebaker was in a ’29 P.A. Many insisted that the new P.A. was basically a Studebaker President.

    Tony Costa


    There has been quite a bit written about the Studebaker influence on the Pierce Arrow Eight.The eight cylinder Pierce Arrow engine was designed before the Studebaker purchase took place.Obviously the infusion of money helped Pierce Arrow to bring the new car out when they did.Pierce Arrow took advantage of Studebaker’s casting facilities when having castings done to Pierce Arrow standards and yes,some general parts were common to both engines like I believe valves.This would make economic sense.The two engines are quite different and it has been said that the new Pierce Arrow Eight engine of 1929 was the best eight cylinder automobile engine of its day.Pierce Arrow in my opinion needed to have this eight cylinder engine some four or five years earlier in order to stay abreast of trends in the luxury car market but the company did not have the cash to do it.I might also mention that the 1929 Studebaker President had seven main bearings where the Pierce Arrow had nine.I believe it was 1931 that the President got nine main bearings.Certainly engineers from both organizations discussed automotive design which would make good sense.Pierce Arrow block castings were aged way longer than those of Studebaker.



    I think the ’29 Presidents were FIVE main bearing engines. Seven mains will not configure correctly for a straight eight.




    My mistake!Five main bearings compared to nine main bearings is quite a difference.My thoughts are Studebaker borrowed Pierce Arrow designs when they redesigned the President Eight engine.



    I recall finding and purchasing engineering reports that showed the interchange of parts between the small Pierce engine and the Studebaker engine. This caused quite a stir in the club at that time. I believe the late ’60’s or early ’70’s. I gave the stuff to Bernie, perhaps he remembers or still has it. He does not compute,contact him by snail mail.


    Some small parts I believe may interchange between the Pierce Arrow and Studebaker engines but these would tend to be purchased parts like valves,valve springs etc.There are also some parts that interchange between Pierce Arrow and other makes beyond Studebaker.The engineers at Pierce Arrow in 1928 certainly could have studied all current automotive designs out there in coming up with the new eight cylinder engine.I do know in late 1930 that in order to keep a lid on costs Pierce Arrow shared some small general parts with Studebaker in some instances.Items like valves were purchased outside the organization so by using these same parts in both engines,money could be saved.A very good source for information in this area of interchange is a very early issue of Hollanders.


    Perhaps easier to find than an old copy of Hollander’s is PASB 83-1. This has 6 pages of part interchange information between Pierce Arrow and Studebaker. This PASB is available as a “back issue” on this PAS website and also on the PASB CD’s that have been produced by the PAS.

    This is interesting reading to see what was interchangeable, along the lines of what Bill is saying above, in the engine, electrical system, chassis, etc. 2 pages of this article deal with the UU2/UUR2 Carburetors. As many of you already know, by finding a UU2 or UUR2 at a swap meet, or buying one on Ebay, that they have many variables like main jet size, by-pass jet size, venturi size, throat size, etc., as these were used on multiple makes of cars with different engine displacements.

    The other thing is that the Studebaker President was a fairly rare car in itself, so having these “common” parts adds a few additional possibilities for parts, but it is not quite like have a part in common with a Chevy 6 cylinder or Model A Ford!

    Happy Motoring!

    Chris Diekman

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