Pierce Arrow 840A Convertible Sedan

Car producer : 

Pierce Arrow


840A Convertible Sedan





To publicize the new twelve, Pierce-Arrow arranged for the race driver, Ab Jenkins, to drive a Pierce-Arrow on the Bonneville Salt Flats. An unofficial, 24-hour run was done in 1932, with an average speed of 112.91 miles per hour. In 1933, Pierce-Arrow repeated the run, this time with AAA observing and conducting the run. This time, Jenkins drove 3000 miles in 25 1/2 hours, averaging 117 mph. This trial broke 66 official AAA speed records. In 1934, another run set a new worlds speed record of 127 mph for 24 hours. The virtues of the Pierce-Arrow twelve continued long after Pierce-Arrow ceased production. The basic engine, with some modifications, was made well into the 1970's for use in Seagrave fire trucks.

The mechanical virtues of the Pierce-Arrow in the early thirties would be enough to secure Pierce-Arrow a page in automotive history. However, just as impressive as the eight and twelve cylinder engines was the Pierce Silver Arrow. Original built for the 1933 New York Automobile Show, the cars were also a hit at the 1933 Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago. The cars features streamlined styling that included an all-steel top, and side mounted spare tires concealed in compartments in the front fenders.

In 1929, Pierce-Arrow began producing cars with greater styling flare that challenged the best. The 1933 standard models continued that tradition, while also becoming more streamlined. 1933 would also become known as the last year of the “classic” look at Pierce-Arrow. The characteristic Pierce-Arrow headlamps featured a curve inspired by the flowing lines of the front fenders. The new convex headlamp shape harkened back to the original shape first seen in 1913. The radiator was more dramatically sloped and vee-shaped. Horsepower was increased in 1933, up from 140 thanks to a larger fuel manifold and the fitting of a new dual downdraft carburetor and a higher 6:1 compression ratio.

The introduction of successful hydraulic tappets was an industry first. A failure in the past, Carl Voorhies of Pierce-Arrow developed and patented the self-adjusting hydraulic tappets in 1932. The Stuart-Warner power, four-wheel mechanical brakes were another innovation. This was a system similar to that used by Rolls-Royce and other European automobiles, but it was a first on an American car.

Other 1933 standard features included tinted safety glass, cross-beam headlights, automatic choke, synchromesh transmission, freewheeling, an adjustable steering column and 17-inch wheels.

There were two V12s – a 398 cubic inch unit for the 137-inch wheelbase cars and a 429 for the larger models. The smaller one performed no better than the eight and was soon dropped. For 1933, a 462 cubic inch, 175 brake horsepower powerplant was unveiled, the largest the marque would ever see.

For 1934, Pierce-Arrow brought out a new line of automobiles. The 1934 models had more rounded bodies with less chrome. The triple tail light that had been used since the mid-1920's was replaced by tail lights formed into the rear fenders, similar to the trademark Pierce-Arrow headlights. Ten body styles were available on the eight-cylinder model 840A. The models 1240A and 1248A used a twelve-cylinder engine. Nine factory body styles plus custom Brunn bodies were available on the twelve-cylinder chassis.

In late 1934, the model 836A was added to the line. The 836A was a lower priced Pierce-Arrow aimed at capturing a larger market than the bigger, more expensive cars. The 836A was targeted at a larger audience. Priced from $2195 to $2395, the 836A was available in a two-door Club Brougham or a four-door Sedan. The 836A was powered by a 366 CID straight-eight engine mounted in a 136 inch wheelbase. It also used a different grill design than the other 1934 cars. It did not have the Pierce-Arrow archer on the radiator shell

Pierce-Arrow brought out their last all-new model in 1936. The bodies were redesigned, with still more rounded styling. The 1936-38 cars have a distinctive arrangement of four "headlights". An overdrive transmission and vacuum-boosted brakes were standard equipment. The 1936 Pierce-Arrows were among the finest cars the company had produced. The 1937 and 1938 cars were minor modifications of the 1936 design.

In late 1936, Pierce-Arrow introduced the Travelodge trailer. Offered in three models, the Travelodge trailers had an aluminum skin over a steel frame. Hydraulic brakes were standard. Inside, the trailers offered the convenience and luxury one would expect from Pierce-Arrow. The birch and gum wooden interior had a dining area, ice box, gas cook stove, wood heating stove, water tank and a sleeping arrangement. About 450 of the Travelodge trailers were produced.

Since 1907, Peerless had been championing the slogan “All That the Name Implies,” the implication being that Peerless had no peers, the other members of the “Three Ps,” Packard and Pierce notwithstanding. From 1908 to 1911 this was certainly true, as Packard had no six. But while both Pierce and Peerless had a similar range of comparable sixes over the period to 1912, closer examination shows Peerless as excelling in suspension (platform as opposed to Pierce’s three-quarter-elliptic) and use of electric lighting. The prices of the two makes were equivalent, which Peerless, in the 1912 catalog, argued was irrelevant: “The three elements in the satisfaction which a good motor-car affords its owner – mechanical efficiency, comfort, and beauty – are all founded in quality. It is impossible to obtain these when there is the slightest tendency to allow quality to be dominated by cost, either in the product as a whole or in its least conspicuous detail."Peerless production was modest in its day, just over 1,700 cars in 1912, fewer than either Packard or Pierce. Production of the Model 36 did not reach 450 cars, which explains why they are seldom seen today. About 15 48-horsepower Peerless cars of all types have been known to exist since 1952, but the whereabouts of only five are known today.By 1913, Peerless had fully grown into its slogan “All That the Name Implies.” Three models of sixes and two fours carried over from 1912, but the more-or-less sequential model nomenclature had caught up with the cars’ horsepower ratings. This caused some confusion, so the sixes were now designated 38-Six, 48-Six and 60-Six, according to their taxable horsepower ratings. The four were called 24-Four and 40-Four, in like manner. There were few mechanical changes save for a shift from dual to single ignition, which eliminated one set of spark plugs. The makers explained that since most driving was done on magneto, the plugs for the battery ignition system were rarely fired, resulting in carbon build up that rendered them unusable when called upon. The gear-driven cooling fan was replaced by a belt-driven type, and Truffault-Hartford shock absorbers were made standard equipment on front axles. Peerless had been a pioneer in automobile electric systems. Gray & Davis generator-charged lighting had been adopted for all models in 1912. For 1913, electric starters, six-volt Gray & Davis units, became standard on all six-cylinder cars. The two-unit system contrasted with Cadillac’s Delco equipment, which combined the starter and generator into a single compound-voltage unit. The two-unit system eventually won out in the marketplace and even Cadillac adopted it after 1925.Not content with being battered by Pierce, Peerless launched a behemoth of their own in 1912, the Model 60. At 826ci in six-cylinders it tied Pierce-Arrow for the honour of the biggest of the big.The engine was a T-head design with cylinders cast in pairs. It had a cylinder bore and stroke of 6" x 8" and fed through two giant valves per cylinder. A central carburettor on long brass runners would feed the enormous engine. The engine just squeezes in under the top of the hood. Far less known today than the famous Pierce 66 the Peerless 60 is equally refined and well-engineered. In 1912 at $6000 the model 60 it was actually priced slightly higher than Pierce-Arrows astronomical figure of $5750. This is likely a factor in why the Peerless are less common then the Pierce Arrows. During World War I, Peerless manufactured military vehicle chassis and trucks.In 1929, the entire Peerless range was redesigned to compete with other vehicles produced by Stutz and Marmon. This move saw increased sales, and for 1930 another design refresh was undertaken. However, the Great Depression that began in 1930 spelled the end of luxury automobiles. Peerless stripped-down production and attempted to market one line of vehicles to wealthy Americans who were not affected by the depression. In 1930-31, Peerless commissioned Murphy Body Works to design what the company envisioned as its 1933 model. The task was assigned to a young Frank Hershey, who produced a remarkably clean, elegant vehicle. A single V16-engined 1931 Peerless was finished in June 1931, the last Peerless ever produced.Peerless remained an idle business until the end of Prohibition in 1933 allowed the manufacture of alcohol. Peerless then revamped its factory and gained a license to brew beer under the Carling Black Label and Red Cap ale brands.Hershey's single prototype remained in Peerless factory until the end of World War II and it is now owned by the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum.The following Peerless vehicles - 1925 Series 67; 1926 — 1928 Series 69; 1929 Model Eight-125; 1930-1 Custom 8 and the 1932 Deluxe Custom 8. However, all Peerless vehicles are considered collectible.

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