V12 Power: 1935 Pierce Arrow 1245

This grand old sedan was built near the end of the line for Pierce Arrow and one of less than 900 built that year. They were the only luxury car company that didn’t build a cheaper car during the depression, so they didn’t have the money to continue developing new models. This Pierce Arrow is listed on eBay in Sharon Springs, New York. There is no word when restoration was started but the car has been apart for 25 years and reassembled to sell. It is mostly complete and original except for the Seagrave engine, but the original engine is included.

The interior looks much nicer than you might expect for a car this age.

Here’s the Seagrave engine. After Pierce Arrow failed, Seagrave bought the tooling to manufacture the V-12 engines for their fire trucks. The original engine as well as a spare engine and transmission are included.

It looks like it wouldn’t take much to make this Pierce Arrow drivable, but I’m sure there’s a lot more work than is apparent. It would be a wonderful driver with very little cosmetic work but it might take some very expensive mechanical work. Sale prices for Pierce Arrows like this one are said to be over $30,000 on the low side, but last year a beautiful sedan like this one sold on Barrett-Jackson for only $22,000. Bidding is over $12,000 so it’s not likely to go much higher. It’s sad to see one of Pierce Arrow’s most magnificent sedans worth so little money. Many of us old car guys could only dream of owning a car like this, much less restore and maintain it.


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  1. 68 custom

    A real classic, with a cool paint scheme. hard to believe that these cars are no longer coveted if it was a Duesenberg the sky would be the limit . needs to be restored and left completely factory equipped. IMO..

  2. motoring mo

    Want to look at it and bringing the cash,
    Waiting to hear back from owner.

    • David Lundquist Member

      Motoring Mo. Keep us posted! Envious!!

    • Puhnto

      Good luck! That’s the real deal. An awesome car.

  3. Dairymen

    Now that’s what you call a car! gorgeous but it’s to bad that nobody wants to spend money on those car anymore. Comfort wise this car can beat a lot of cars in today’s market (except for AC).

    • Ed P

      Dairymen, that is not a car, it is an automobile.

      • Dairymen

        You are right Ed! I own several mid 30’s luxury automobiles and they make an undeniably statement.

  4. Dairymen

    BTW what happened to the thumbs up & down? To many snowflakes got their feelings hurt and needed crayons, hot chocolate & puppies to get over a thumb down?

    Like 1
    • Josh Staff

      No we updated our server and the software for thumbs up/down isn’t compatible. We are working on a solution though.

      Like 1
      • Red'sResto

        👍 Thanks Josh!

        Like 1
    • GOPAR

      Dairymen, I’d give that remark a thumbs up if I had a thumb!!

      Like 1
    • Horse Radish

      Thumbs up on this one for sure !

      Like 1
  5. geomechs geomechs Member

    I’m impressed! Although I’m not a big fan of these behemoths I would still enjoy making it great again. It would be original for sure; no resto-mod.

  6. grant

    Love it love it love it. Personally I don’t mind that it’s not worth a fortune, maybe someday I can have one. 12k is something the average guy could shoot for. Motoring Mo if you get this car please keep us updated.

  7. Fred W.

    Wow- somebody at Barrett Jackson got the deal of the century…

  8. Rabbit

    Fun fact: The Pierce-Arrow factory in north Buffalo not only still stands, it’s now an industrial park. And, it’s only about 3 hours from where this car lies.

    • SSPBill

      In my college days I worked at a business in the old Pierce-Arrow complex. Try as I might, I could not find any hidden treasures.

  9. Doug Towsley

    I would not say “NOBODY” is willing to spend the money on these,,, Its just that often they are not marketed correctly. Its always a crap shoot on matching up a buyer and seller, On eBay alone (Not the best example but works for this discussion) I can sell a vehicle and buyer flakes out (Deadbeat) for whatever reason. Relist it and 1, maybe 2 auctions later it sells for WAY more money and the buyers amazed they got it as cheap as they did, (Would have been willing to pay even more). This car would be ideal for winery, Estate or upper end B&B. We have a family up the road who converted their country mansion into a wedding venue and B&B and this would be an ideal addition, I can think of others as well. To these people, they dont worry too much about the bottom line. Its the quality and experience that is the issue.
    Just a question of finding the RIGHT buyer at the RIGHT time. But wealth doesnt equate logic. I have had clients who were extremely wealthy and obsessive about pinching every penny to the point they produce copper wire.. I have had low income people who were extremely generous. So, Never assume.

  10. Paul

    A beauty – love this era, had a 1935 Ford Flathead Convertable – regret having sold that car and would one day like to find a new 1930’s with sweeping lines and running boards.

  11. Wayne

    IMO the headlight and taillight treatment is ugly.

    • Andy

      The headlight treatment was a Pierce-Arrow trademark going way, way back. They started fairing in their headlights in 1913! Sticking with that look cost them in styling flexibility, but it meant you could tell a Pierce from a hundred yards away.

      • Woodie Man

        Funny I was going to say I love the way the headlights are faired into the fender. Yup…you can’t mistake a Pierce Arrow for anything else. They had a Silver Arrow here at the SD Auto Museum some years ago……unbelievable!

  12. olddavid

    I couldn’t agree more, Doug T. I remember when Bill Harrah died, my Dad said the values of cars in his wheelhouse just lost 25%. He was right. Given the $22k price of the restored one at B-J, this has already exceeded a reasonable sum. Imagine cruising in this, at speed, on the highway. It would be an epic experience. I still remember my first ride in a V12 Lincoln. Sublime. If this plant will push a firetruck, it should get this going at a good clip. Those headlights are instantly recognizable.

  13. Mark S

    It’s to bad that this excellent early example of automotive history has been been aloud to deteriorate to its present condition. These were plush cars owned by the wealthy of there day. But with age group that are interested in these cars drop like flies i can see why there is no value in them. My hope is some forty year old guy will take this car on not because he wants to flip it but rather wants to own it. Bring it back to its former glory and show it off.

    • nessy

      Mark S, you say the same thing everytime a pre war unrestored classic come up on the site that the people who want these cars are getting old and dropping so I will say what I keep saying, I am 40 and my favorite cars of all time are pre war 2 classics. In fact, I have a 36 Pierce-Arrow in my collection along with a few pre war 2 senior Packards and a V16 Cadillac. A number of my friends in my age group also love these cars. The reason the price is not insane on this car is, although it’s a 12, it’s also just a club sedan model. If it was a big limo, the price would be higher. If it was an open car, it would still bring big money, just as it is. Oh, never mind the BJ example that everyone thinks sold for only 22k. It did not and it’s been back online for sale again at 70k.

      • A.J.

        I’m 52 and only collect prewar big Classics. I agree with everything you said with the exception of the “limo” bringing more than a club sedan. I think the club sedan has a bigger market, unless you are talking a coachbuilt limo and then the price is higher because of the coachbuilder, not the body style.

      • nessy

        Oh, I forgot one thing, do what you have to do and bring back the thumbs up and down. The site is not the same anymore without them and we all know it. AJ, yes, I was talking about a custom built limo, maybe even an open front Town Car with a divider. With that said, for the most part, the closed club sedan models on any pre war 2 car do not seem to bring as much as a regular sedan. I’m not sure why but past sales do show this.

      • Doug Towsley

        Thumbs up for Nessy,

        ” Mark S, you say the same thing everytime a pre war unrestored classic come up on the site that the people who want these cars are getting old and dropping so I will say what I keep saying, I am 40 and my favorite cars of all time are pre war 2 classics. ”

        I get really annoyed with those kinds of statements and anymore when I hear them I just cut people off and tell them BS. I am in my 50s and while I appreciate stock stuff more than when I was younger, I know a lot of young people who if given the chance have a great deal of respect for the really early stuff. Most just cant afford it.
        I am in a number of vintage vehicle clubs as well as volunteer at a museum complex with 12 museums on site. I hear this rant about aging out vehicles all the time and have zero patience for it anymore.

        There are many many examples of why this is wrong, But one of the most graphic was our local vintage MC club is full of some people that are not exactly welcoming or easy to work with. They wonder why membership and participation is dropping off. Some years back some 20 & 30 somethings started doing some events on their own. Wildly popular now, similar events cropped up around the US and corporate america and over seas have taken notice and gladly hand over huge sums of money to be sponsors or involved. These Young’ns did not solicit BMW, HD, Indian (Revived company) or the beer distributors or many others for sponsorship. The companies asked to be involved.
        3-4 years back I saw the senior leaders of our vintage club at this event wandering thru like 6 grade cool chicks who are suddenly no longer the cool kids. Tightly bunched together and confused and befuddled.

        “Why dont these people join our club? Why doesnt anyone listen to me anymore? Where did all these people come from?”

        I see it in a LOT of organizations. Its not that younger people are not interested, its just that many older people fail to connect. So, Whenever I hear that favorite old chestnut I just shut people down.

      • nessy

        Thumbs up for Doug Towsley if we only had the darn thumbs up back…. You see? Here were have another example of a young guy like myself who is into the pre war cars. How many others do we have here in their 30s, 40s and 50s, maybe even 20s?

      • Doug Towsley

        Nessy, Jim, Et al, thanks for the comments, All I can do is try, But my Father in Law has been instrumental in teaching anyone who will listen, and we have a lot of family, kids and friends who know a lot more because of people like him. The guy is severely allergic to paying someone to fix something. He refuses to accept there is not something he cannot learn or research. (He worked at Boeing, The power company-Electric, and as a detective he and his partner had the highest case closure rate in homicide div history, possibly in the state) But there is a LOT of cool guys like my FIL, which is why I support and volunteer here at this museum, 1 of 12 on site. See: http://www.nwcarandcycle.com/

        When you open the site click on the toolbar for the Speedster program. This has been going for years now and each year our museum takes a group of kids, many who are at-risk kids, and mentor them using Model T and Model A vehicles and they build them. We have parts, lots of parts and they build what is called a “Speedster” Period customs. Along the way they learn metal working skills, how to build a motor, trans, differential, brakes, cooling. Paint, Tool and machine shop skills. They have to write reports, do research, And drum roll please.
        Many of these kids come from a 50% drop out rate schools,, (At risk in many ways) EVERY SINGLE Kid in our programs each year graduates from school, & EVERY SINGLE kid also goes on to either college or a technical school. Often they are gifted tool sets, or other items to help them. So, instead of telling people WHY they cant do something, spend your energy telling them why they CAN do something. Please consider making a donation to our program. You can specify how you want your money used. Or better yet,, Start or help support a program like this in YOUR area. I refuse to accept people who tell others that this is all a exclusive club. Share your knowledge and skills.

        Like 1
      • Mark S

        Nessy walk into any high school in the US or Canada and ask a gym full of kids if they have ever herd of a Pearce Arrow, Franklin, Cord to name a few is. You might get one kid who knows, and only because his dad or more likely grand dad is a Hobbiest now ask the same group of kids which would they rather have a pre wwii car or the latest in gaming eguipment and likely you are going to get a large show of hands for the gaming eguipment. And likely one or two that want the pre war car and that kid will have the gear head dad. Now to add to that I’d like to say never mind the high end stuff like the Pearce Arrow if there this hugh interest in all these old car why are so many of them rotting away in fields or ending up in the crusher. You sound like you have a good thing going and are ingaged in passing the interest and knowledge along, and for that I tip my hat to you. The problem is your the exception not the rule and as a result I believe that over time the only old cars, trucks you name it will be found in museums. We are on the dawn of the age of driverless cars and more and more mass transit so I ask you this, that kid with that picked new gaming equipment will be more interested in the new driverless car than just about anything before it, he won’t even care if it has windows in it to see out because he or she will have their eyes focused on a screen playing a game while the car drives them to the destination. I predict 20 to 25 years from now there will be very little interest in this whole car hobby. The world will have moved on. Take a look at the current trend at estate sale grandads pride and joy is either bought by a flipper or ends up on a Copart lot. (WHY) my answer is the children aren’t interested and the grand kids are even less interested. I ask you this Nessy what happens to a car that on a Copart lot to long regardless of what it is or what condition it is in, it goes to the crusher and is gone. Look around your own country and you find that the small rural wrecking yards are disappearing very quickly and with them many needed parts to keep restored cars going. If you come up to Canada ( at least out west) these yards ar few and far between. I remember when I was a Kid if you went on a drive in the country you’d find cars sitting around every where now you rarely see one just a couple of years ago a big yard here in Alberta was liquidated because the land was worth more than cars on it. there were over 500 cars there and only a hand full were saved the rest were crushed right on site and hauled way. So I say even if there is a small amount of interest the inventory of unrestored cars is shrinking fast.

      • Keith

        Ok I’m going to jump in on this as I fit the demo (42) and have actually had quite a few old cars. But I’m going to reference the 2nd classic I had, a 1946 Hudson Commodore 8 4 door (suicide) car. I LOVED the style of the car. It was a project to be sure. Most of the interior had been removed, and the chrome was badly, badly pitted (it was a Pennsylvania car). What I quickly learned was finding parts was
        a) next to impossible and
        b) horrifically expensive when found.
        The result was that I had an awesome car that I really liked to look at, but rarely moved out of my garage.
        Don’t get me wrong, the Hudson club was awesome in technical help and sorts. But after about 8 months or so, I sadly gave up and sold it at a loss. I didn’t want to spend the next 2-5 years trying to locate parts, and spend umpteen thousands of dollars on re-chroming, custom interior, and Hudson specific mechanicals (any of you ever heard of the Drive Master transmission? Yeah….i thought not). The interior, while there, needed to be completely redone, and since it was leather and mohair (no kit available to buy kiddos!) it would have taken about 6 months of my salary to have that done. I do a lot of my own work, but re-chroming and crafting leather & mohair interiors aren’t in my wheel house.
        I went on to buy more “common” old cars, 60’s Mustangs, Chryslers, and a few oddballs that got me boo-ed out of car shows. But my point is this: when I see a project Hudson, P-A, Studebaker, Imperial (God help you if you wanna buy parts for 60’s and earlier Imperials!), I think “wow, an awesome car, but I don’t want to have to go through the cost and time of finding parts and such”. I want something I can get in, drive, and enjoy. If something breaks, I don’t want to have to spend 3 months trying to find the part which always ends up being in Marty’s Gouge and Pull in Moose Jaw, Canada.
        So as much as I do like the cars from the 40’s and earlier, I think that the project ones will all but disappear in the next 10-20 years.

    • Jim

      This is for Messy, Doug ect. I’m almost sixty, I grew up in love with 50’s, 60’s and 70’s muscle cars, drag racing and some road racing. My dad’s love of a Hudson Hornet exposed me to older and pre war cars and I learned to appreciate the technology and the manufacturing techniques as they evolved. One car that really hooked me was the quality of a late twenties unrestored Packard that I saw a few times, doors opened and closed perfectly, grease fittings everywhere, engine ran as smooth as I’d ever seen, beautiful woodworking and riding in it was a great experience. I’ve exposed my son’s to these older cars and I know they now see them as I do and I’m sure there’s a prewar car on our list when we complete present projects. I think it’s up to us old farts to help the younger crowd appreciate the technology and styling changes if the older cars, after all if you don’t understand the history you can’t understand how we got here. One thing I want to add is someone offered that only five guys in the country are qualified to build the V12, I say bs, any decent experienced engine guy with an assembly manual should be able to, it’s not a “magic” engine or alien technology.

      • A.J.

        You guys are calling BS on me with regard to rebuilding the 12 engine but I’m wondering what it is that gives you this confidence in your opinion? Have you actually ever had a Pierce 12, Packard 12, Marmon 16, Caddy 16, Duesenberg or other American exotic engine rebuilt? The Pierce is the cheapest of the group to do, and is still a lot of money. There is a reason for this. I’m a big believer in the “knowing from doing” principal. That means you know what you are talking about because you have done it.

        Btw, when you call the Pierce club for help rebuilding your engine, they are going to tell you to send it to one of the 5 guys I told you were qualified.

  14. A.J.

    There are plenty of guys that would LOVE a Pierce Arrow, especially a V12 club sedan. Here is the issue, that is a 45-50k engine to rebuild. Every part on the car is expensive to restore. When you are done spending 200-300k, you have a 100k – 125k car.

    • Doug Towsley

      I briefly looked online for parts, and dont have the time to chase down all the websites or peruse all the forums discussing these engines, but I am having a hard time believing the $45-50,000 price for a rebuild.
      Certainly possible if you seek out some high end shop, But most people I know take great pride in doing these jobs themselves and unthinkable to pay someone else. What I DID see is there are many sources for these engines and possible to track down the bits. I know many vintage vehicle specialists and no lack of people who are sitting on stashes of parts or reproducing them when they get scarce. I am a volunteer at a vintage car & MC museum which is part of a complex called “Antique Powerland with 12 museums on site and over 70 vintage clubs affiliated. From tractors to trains. One large group of obsessive enthusiasts. The real trick is networking and finding your sources.
      I have rebuilt everything from Tactical acft in the Air Force to Obscure turn of the century farm equipment. With the varietys of these engines in different applications I am certain a true enthusiast would have this thing up and going for a reasonable sum. (The V12) On a different tangent, 1983 Texas, North of Dallas I stopped at a wrecking yard that caught my eye. They had one of these V12 motors out front supporting their business sign and mail box. Against a fence was 1/2 of a Corvair that was up against the fence and splatter-shred marks painted on the fence to simulate the car had gone thru the fence Wily-Coyote and RoadRunner cartoon style. I have pictures of them in a old photo album. Does anyone know of this old wrecking yard or does that sound familiar? I didnt have much money but they had some cool muscle cars from the 60s-70s but this was 1983 so to be expected.
      This was not far from Addison and Lewisville.

      • A.J.

        Doug, a V12 Pierce engine is not a Flathead V8. There are a 1/2 a dozen guys, that are qualified to rebuild that engine. A backyard restorer or local engine guy would have about a 90% chance of screwing it up.

      • Doug Towsley

        Sorry AJ But I firmly believe you are incorrect.

        ” Doug, a V12 Pierce engine is not a Flathead V8. There are a 1/2 a dozen guys, that are qualified to rebuild that engine. A backyard restorer or local engine guy would have about a 90% chance of screwing it up”

        Based on what? Special tech from outer space or Lockheed Martins Skunk works made out of Un-ob-Tain-ium ?? You are going to have to do better than that. Back it up that the basic engineering of a 1930s engine is so far advanced most mere mortals are not capable.

        The Rio Grande Southern Railroad converted five Pierce-Arrow automobiles (and a couple of Buicks) into motorized railcars, effectively buses and trucks on rail wheels.

        The factory equipment used to make Pierce-Arrow V-12 engines was bought by Seagrave Fire Apparatus, which used it to make engines for fire engines.
        These Fire engines had these motors installed well into the mid 60s. There was 2 sizes. One a larger version and a smaller one largely the same as the car engines. (Torque and smoothness being the point, just a like a Jag 12 cyl So, based on experience that means these motors saw fire dept service well into the 1970s.

        EXPLAIN how theres “Half a dozen guys” qualified to work on these engines? Im sorry, but I spent a career in maintenance and met a lot of talented and skilled people, but a lot of pretty simple folks as well. Some dumb as a box of rocks but can build a really nice 18 cylinder Radial engine that will make many people scratch their heads. Who worked on all those fire trucks?? Your statements just dont hold water.

        I did my Airmans practical test rebuilding the ignition on a 18cyl radial, When I had it done, we fired it up and smooth as a radial can possibly be. The FAA evaluator asked me “Does it run this well because of you or In SPITE of you?”

      • A.J.

        The 45k number was for a nice CCCA level caravan car. It will run 65k for Pebble Beach quality. And I mispoke, there are actually only 5 guys in the country really qualified to rebuild a Pierce V12. Consider just a couple of things:

        1. Do you know how to correctly check the pierce lifters for leak down?
        2. Not knowing what you are doing, the engine will be built with too much oil pressure causing valve lift and skips, happens in 60% of every engine not done but the above 5 guys.
        3. Do you know where to get cam bearings? They are made of unobtainium.
        4. The lifter blocks look symmetric but they are not. Do you know what happens if they are not put back exactly right?

        Just a few of many. The smartest aircraft engine guy in the world would screw up his first Pierce V12 engine just like the Pierce guy would screw up the radial. You only know from doing, and practicing on one of these would be a costly mess up.

      • Doug Towsley

        A.J, I stand by my comments. What you might not realize is the first job any aviation tech has to do is fully RESEARCH the machine before he turns a wrench. That means review the tech data and look for changes, updates or service bulletins.
        In the aviation world there is no use for someone who memorizes by rote the bolt specs or lifter blocks for some obscure application. What is mandated is that you follow logic and established practices.
        So, no lack of vintage vehicles that require what is known as “Tribal knowledge” I teach classes on obscure tech and we offer multiple seminars per year at our museum, We try to pass on this material or get it documented.
        I hear the same drivel and garbage about other makes. Sorry, these are not that special little snow flakes. You still have not addressed how all these same engines in firetrucks and other industrial applications managed just fine without calamity or seizure.
        There is a Pierce Arrow club and I understand they are willing to help and share info. The fire engine groups have a very diverse membership as well as a very large swap meet and show in Michigan ever year.
        Over the years I have printed up tech guides, service bulletins and old factory parts books and workshop manuals and have sold thousands of them for vintage cars and motorcycles. I am not the only one doing this.
        While the first hand knowledge is dying out, and important to share, save and pass on this knowledge, their has been no better time in the history of these vehicles for a new person to get involved and work on them.
        That is what we do at our museum. Passing on this knowledge and Education is our purpose. Sorry, but your arguments and points dont fly.

      • olddavid

        Doug, your museum is about 35 miles from my place. If the moderator will allow, please advise where and when so I can give you guys a hand. My retirement is much better when doing a collective good.

    • Mark S

      I’m with Doug on this one the reason we have service manuals and technical up dates is so average skilled mechanics can take there knowledge base and with the aid of service manual information can navigate there way through a rebuild and assemble. As long as you put the engine back together carefully and pay close attention to clearance and torgue specs as well as order of assemble there should be no reason you wouldn’t have complete success. AJ this idea that 5 people on the planet can do this is utter BS. Are going to have to back track a little on your first one yes of course you are but buy the time your on your fifth one your going to know them pretty well. What is so special about a Pearce engine,I’ll bet it’s got pistons, connecting rods, cam and crank shafts, valves, etc the list goes on and on. They have all the same things as any engine torgue spec clearance specs order of assemble so don’t tell that a back yard guy with full certification couldn’t dismantle a Pearce engine send it out for machining buy all the parts needed to bring the engine back to spec and reassemble it. That’s really all your doing in the end anyway is respecing the engine for a second run life. It’s not rocket science.

      • A.J.

        I’m willing to bet that most if not all of you would not know a Pierce 12 if it hit you in the head. I’m not sure why you are taking it as a person affront that somebody who has never done one of these engines would probably screw it up. Go down and read Ed’s comments at the bottom of the page.

        Better yet, buy this car and do the engine and check back with us in a couple of years. Would love to hear how it turns out.

      • Doug Towsley

        AJ, I tried to reason with you, and logic. But the simple matter is let me emphasize In my world there is no use for people who recall the torque spec for a 1932 Wombly Rambler, Or which way the Thrunging sprocket goes on for a Hurley Pugh double gentlemans combination (The TT version of course). What matters is teaching and learning critical thinking and the skills sets to apply that. At any time in the aviation world or when I ran my shop doing vintage cars and motorcycles any number of machines I never worked on before would come in the door. I never turned anyone away and In aviation you would be laughed at. “Im sorry,, I have never worked on that before-go away!” Would my hero Smokey Yunick turn away a project? Instead,,its a challenge. You research, you learn, you network and you go and do it.
        Your language and attitude I take exception to. You imply that only the “Cool kids” can play with these toys. BS. I have been associated with some very high end restoration experts in collector cars and yes,, those who compete at the highest level such as Pebble beach. There are many who spend all their time competing with their Jags, Rolls, and Bentlys and accumulate points traveling to each event to see who ranks where. I have heard all this drivel before, Zymol masturbators fondling their cars with exclusive hand harvested Yak wax from the steppes of Siberia. Wah wah wah…. Go sell crazy someplace else. We are full up here. Instead of Whinging about how exclusive your net work is, redeem yourself, document this top secret info and provide it to the world so this knowledge does not die out. Its a 1930s engine design. Get real.

      • A.J.

        Doug, anybody with half a brain would agree that experience with certain exotic engine types is probably a good thing. Since I’m sure you work for free, your customers wouldn’t mind all the on the job training it would take for you to fix your screw ups on your first try. I learned a long time ago that the smarter people tell you they are is inversely proportional to how smart they actually are.

      • Jim

        Mark, Doug, you guys have explained it well, a talented, experienced and clear thinking mechanic who takes his time should have no trouble learning the particular quirks and idiosyncrasies of the V12. We’ve all worked on things for the first time without disasters occurring. Some guys are going to hang onto their statements like a life preserver regardless that it’s filled with concrete. Doug I’m glad you mentioned Smokey Yunick, he’s also a hero of mine, like Zora Duntov and some others, they understood the entire vehicle, how all systems interacted, also aerodynamics, tire technology and more, deep thinking individuals who helped the industry advance. I’m sure he could have rebuilt the V12 and probably added another carb so it looked factory!

  15. Jim

    She’s a beautiful car, and a V12! Someone hopefully will give it the love it needs to be a fun usable car again. As much as I liked modifying cars to my taste this should be kept as original as possible.

  16. Jw

    Interestingly that pierce arrow from Barrett Jackson is listed on Hemings right now for almost 70k.

  17. Bill McCoskey

    The engine shown is not a Seagrave. Yes it’s true that the fire engine manufacturer bought the rights to the engine, however they made many modifications, including several that are easy to spot: Dual ignition; different cylinder heads with 2 spark plugs per cylinder, the exhaust, intake manifolds & carbs are different, and there should be 2 distributors side by side. None of these changes are visible on the engine shown. That said, it’s possible they have put all the original Pierce parts on a Seagrave block.

    Back in the early ’80s when neither were worth significant money, I had both a ’39 Seagrave pumper and a ’35 Pierce 8 with a missing engine. I had wanted to put the V-12 into the Pierce, as the big 8 and the 12 were basically the same car. But I didn’t do it, sold both vehicles.

  18. Ken Carney

    I seem to remember that a long time friend of our family had a ’27 Pierce Arrow when I was very young. Dad told me that Mr. Bitner paid between $50 to $100.00 for it back in the early ’50’s and drove it home! I got to see the car after he finished restoring it. He often drove it in parades and other
    functions like weddings etc. He also had a a 1934 Deusenberg SJ dual cowl phaeton. a ’37 Cord 812 convertible, and a 1902 Cadillac runabout.
    The latter he acquired by trading the farmer who owned it a brand new
    industrial engine for the car, which was being used to run a portable saw!
    He had many other cars in his collection as well. Dad told me that they
    doing, Dad was paid well for each trip he went on. That’s how Dad supported my grandmother and my aunt at a time when jobs were scarce
    and every penny counted. Seeing this car reminded me of our friend Mr.
    Bitner and his wonderful Pierce Arrow.

  19. Robert White

    I could go for a restoration like this if I had the shop & disposable income. It looks like original paint too. Worth at least 14k IMHO.


  20. Howard A Member

    While I don’t have a lot of interest in the car itself, I’d love to know the story on this. Apparently, Sharon Springs was a spa and recreation spot for the hoi-paloi in the 30’s. This was no Ford or Dodge, so who knows what “beer baron” may have drove this thing. Interest ( in general, not here) is fading for these great automobiles. Quite frankly, I’d be scared to death to drive this today. Driving this, or any V-12 automobile, for that matter, would be a thrill, no doubt. Probably best at 7am on a Sunday morning. Museum worthy, for sure.
    Question: is that a radio ( control head, not the radio itself) in the gauge cluster on the left of the speedo? Looks like a Diamond T dash.

  21. Blake Young

    I love the car but don’t have funds or time. I will take issue with the statement that a half dozen guys are qualified. I could find fifty or so from the HAMB in about an hour. They might not want to mess with it but they could. I have never seen a Pierce-Arrow in person and I have utter confidence that I could rebuild the engine with parts sourced. It might take a while to get all the research done, but I could do it.

  22. 68 custom

    I think just about any old and made to last forever big motor like this can be put together by more than 6 persons in the US. It will be helpful to know a Babbitt Bearing guy , and maybe a few other skilled techs who may have dealt with something similar, who knows maybe they will answer a text!. but common-sense is the builders best friend, if it dont seem right ask around and do not get to impatient.

  23. David Skulstad

    I just found this same car, that sold for $21,000 for sale on Hemmings for $68,900.00. After buyers fees, they will make about $45,000 on this one car. Now THAT is the deal of the century. https://www.proxibid.com/aspr/1935-PIERCE-ARROW-1245-SEDAN/29601853/LotDetail.asp?lid=29601853
    Read more at http://barnfinds.com/v12-power-1935-pierce-arrow-1245/#XTmAgdwymlraQb55.99

  24. Fast Eddie

    A Pierce Arrow V-12 sedan can cost 15 grand, or 3.2 Million as one SOLD for last year. A correct concours rebuild of JUST the engine, 65 thousand. I know the car well, and have inspected it in person. A checkbook restoration at a top shop on this car would run 450-550 thousand dollars. AJ is correct, only about five people who could PROPERLY do this motor in any reasonable time frame….say one year. AJ knows what he is talking about. I trusted him enough to drive our 1931 Duesenberg Murphy Roadster on to the green at Pebble Beach last August. Here is a photo of the 36 Pierce Roadster we won a trophy with in the American open CCCA class. Multi cylinder CCCA classic cars restoration costs routinely run 750 to 950 thousand.

    • Fast Eddie

      You can see the Model J Duesenberg behind me and the Pierce in the first photo. Here is is last week out in the snow……

      • puhnto

        And another big thumbs-up for the Duesenberg in the snow because: Dusenberg! Snow!

    • puhnto

      There you go. There’s a big thumbs-up, right there!

      • puhnto

        (This thumbs-up was supposed to be before the one above it. Sorry.)

  25. Fast Eddie

    And as far as the firetruck motors being the same……dream on. I have owned more Pierce Arrow cars than you could imagine. Also a bunch of Seagrave fire trucks. Almost nothing interchanges. NOTHING. As to source parts…….that would be me, and one other guy, who shares a building with me. There is NO technical information available on these engines. We make almost all the reproduction parts available, except pistions, which we have Aries make for us. Everything else we make in house. There are more than thirty Pierce Arrow engines in our building currently. Photo is my 1936 V-12 Club Sedan, driven up Mount Washington auto Road in September. The restoration was done in 1990 to 1993, in our own garage, and costs then exceeded 300k.

    • puhnto

      And one more big thumbs-up because of the beautiful blue Pierce Arrow out for a real drive somewhere nice, and I’d say, because this comment should finally end the great who-can-fix-a-Pierce-Arrow-engine discussion! (Maybe two thumbs-up for that!) Thanks for sharing the photos.

  26. Tyler

    I’m sure it will make someone a nice car, but not really something I find appealing. There are actually very few automobiles prior to the mid 60’s that I find appealing. That 56 Continental, ok, I get it, a 56 T Bird or Vette, no so much.

    I’m 52 years old & have been tinkering with cars, trucks, or tractors literally almost my entire life. But at this point, I have very specific interest, 55-56, 2 door post Chevy’s, 65 Impala convertibles, 2nd gen Corvairs, 69-73 Mustangs, with an affection for a certain Mustang II, & Chevy or GMC trucks from 50-87, especially the 81-87 models as of late. Anything else, meh, I may look at it, I may like it, but with very few exceptions, like that 340 Challenger from a few days ago, or mid 60’s Caddy or Lincoln convertible, I don’t really want to own it.

    One of the reasons I don’t want to take on things like this is my unfamiliarity with them. Could I tackle the V12 with confidence? Maybe, eventually, with enough research, & with enough specialized equipment, but I’m not really interested in becoming an expert on Pierce V12 engines. At this stage, I have to go back to the reference books for a Chevy inline 6. Nor do I want to spend hundreds of hours on the Internet, & spend thousands of dollars for a certain part that is absolutely required, that is not reproduced, been there, done that, more than once already. Did I mention the personalities that some of these people have that you have to buy these parts from? Sheeesh, forget it. It’s not like you can run down the junk yard & grab a door handle off a wrecked one, you’re lucky if you can do that with 72 C10 these days. Something about scrap prices skyrocketing a few years ago. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made some good friends over the years buying & swapping parts with, but I’ve delt with about 5 times as many jerks who felt like their badly pitted 67 only GMC fender badge was made from platinum & didn’t care if they sold it or not. I have seen the exact same Corvette 427 tripower intake & carb setup sitting on one vendor’s table at swap meets for at least 5 or 6 years now, & the marked firm price has steadily risen. But who am I to say what his stuff is worth, luckily I don’t need it.

    Then you have to find a shop that will take on the kind of bodywork & paint required of a car like this. Sure, there are speciality shops that do these jobs, but they are out of the average man’s budget. And before anyone jumps in & says that a person can do a lot of the work himself, that may be true to an extent. I can weld in a new floor pan, line a door or fender, & some other generalized body work, but I have also been known to run primer into a puddle in the floor. And working body filler is some kind of witchcraft.

    There is a good reason cars like these end up as restomods, convenience. It’s much easier, & cheaper, to adapt that body to a S10 or Explorer frame than to rebuild the original. Ditto with a late model fuel injected LS engine. As long as you have the free space to store the original parts somewhere in case someone ever wanted to return it to original, no harm, no foul.

    Sacrilege? Maybe, maybe not. Depends o. If you want to see the car running down the road, albeit with a rack & pinion, coil overs, 4 wheel disc brakes, & a LS3 with Vintage Air, or sitting in the shop, collecting dust, because the owner can’t find someone within 500 miles to rebuild the starter or carbs for that V12, or decides not to pay the lofty sum a guy on eBay or HAMB thinks the magnito is worth.

    That’s my 2 cents. I’m sure I would get hammered into a “hidden because of low rating” if the thumbs were still working, oh well…

    • Robert White

      Totally agree with you. Pull the drive train, and throw in a rat motor, sand, prime, and paint.

      And new boots too.

      off to the races!


  27. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Boy, if I didn’t know better I’d swear that I was on a what’s better, Chevy or Ford Forum. Anyway, she sold for $16,302.00. 48 bids. Great pics Fast Eddie, thanks.

  28. peter

    My reading about Pierce-Arrow is that either the rolling chassis or bare vehicle was driven on a test track for some distance and then the engine was dismantled and checked for wear. After which, the vehicle was finished and sold to the new owner.

  29. EightIsEnough

    I am doing a Pierce straight eight now, at a qualified, professional shop, I hope it comes in at about $1500 per cylinder, and it was running OK just worn out. Radiator was $2800. Etc.

  30. Ed

    Sounds like a workmanship type rebuild, in the lower end of the spectrum. Depending on what they are using for pars, now or used. Current parts prices: Pistons 2000, valves 800, bearings 3000, gaskets 750, timing chain and gears 800, oil pump 500, and you still have labor, machine work, paint and materials, and none of this includes water pump, generator, starter, carbs, fuel pump, correct oil filter set up, oil cooler, Ext. These are expensive engines to do correctly, and the learning curve can be difficult.

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