Frame off restoration in 1995. One of four known to exist. Documented ownership history and maintenance records. CCCA National First Prize and beautiful tour car.
This lovely 1933 Pierce Arrow Model 836 rumble seat coupe is one of just four known to exist and has a documented ownership history back to Day One. The 836 denotes an eight-cylinder engine and a 136-inch wheelbase, and it was technically Pierce’s “entry level” car, but in the early 1930s luxury car market, there was really no such thing as “entry level.” It’s interesting to note that an identical car was ordered new by Ginger Rogers, so it’s high style indeed, and like most Pierce Arrows with their fender-mounted headlights, it’s recognizable at a glance. You can see design touches from the groundbreaking Silver Arrow show car throughout, and parking this car next to almost anything comparable from the era, it looks very long, low, and sleek.
This lovely Pierce Arrow has been driven perhaps 5000 miles since the restoration was completed in 1995. It remains in near show-quality condition with only minor demerits for age and use, but nothing that requires attention or immediate repair. The restorer, Jack Heimovics, dug through the cars layers of paint and upholstery (samples of which are neatly included in a little booklet showing the various materials used originally and in subsequent re-trims) and determined that the car was originally burgundy, so that’s how the car was refinished. You will note that the fenders are a slightly different color, which is intentional, and while the bodywork is traditional solid paint, the fenders have a splash of period-correct fine metallic to provide contrast. Finish quality is excellent, which can be attributed to the excellent base stock as well as Heimovics’ work, and aside from some inevitable signs of age, it looks great under any conditions. At the same time, all the chrome was re-plated to show standards and still sparkles with no notable blemishes. The black padded roof is an unusual feature, but there’s at least one other 836 rumble seat coupe with a similar padded roof in a lighter material, so it’s quite correct and the original samples indicate that black long-grain leatherette was the correct material.
The black leather interior is expertly trimmed with simple pleats and remains comfortable for all-day touring. The door panels are gray wool broadcloth with correct map pockets and glowing wood garnish moldings that are just spectacular. All the gauges were rebuilt and remain fully functional, including the capillary-style temperature gauge. It is also equipped with a functioning Startix system that lights the engine almost immediately, but be ready to catch it when it fires because the hand throttle on the hub of the steering wheel is not connected. The rumble seat is surprisingly spacious and is trimmed in matching black leather with special fold-out leather arm rests and yes, the vintage 1930s golf clubs are included with the car!
Pierce Arrow’s robust 366 cubic inch straight-8 makes a rather substantial 135 horsepower. It was fully rebuilt at the time of restoration and as I mentioned, probably has about 5000 miles on it. It starts quickly and easily, although the automatic choke has been disabled and a manual choke added to the original Stromberg carburetor. The exhaust manifold was porcelainized, but as is common with cars that are driven, it has cracked and chipped over the years and it’s all but inevitable if you want to use the car as intended. It has been fitted with an electric pump for priming but it runs fine on the original mechanical pump, which also has its own priming mechanism.
Synchromesh had spread throughout the industry by 1933, and 2nd and 3rd gears are synchronized on the Pierce Arrow. The suspension is superlatively smooth, the steering is commendably light for such a massive car, and the brakes, while still mechanical, have a vacuum assist and an automatic hill-holder mechanism that both add confidence behind the wheel. It is fitted with six artillery wheels that are just beautifully finished with yellow pinstripes and a traditional Pierce Arrow hubcap, and it rolls on 7.50-17 Bedford wide whitewall tires that look period correct and were fitted relatively recently.
This is an extraordinary car. Pierce Arrow rumble seat coupes are always in demand, and for good reason. Elegant, sporting, and impeccably dressed, it’s the pinnacle of early 1930s engineering and incredibly rare compared to its “Three Ps” competition. Extremely well documented with paperwork that will provide hours of entertaining reading, this is the rare Full Classic with a strong pedigree to back up its wonderful presentation.
For more details and photos, please visit www.HarwoodMotors.com