The Noviceís Guide to the Pierce-Arrow
by Linnea Shoberg
Reprinted from the
Pierce-Arrow Mascot, published by the Southern California Region of the PAS
Having been around Pierce-Arrows since birth, a love of
them has been instilled in me from the beginning. I do not know life without them, nor
would I want to. There are certain things you learn about Pierce-Arrows over time. Iíve
known some of these things for years. Others I have learned in recent years, since
getting behind the wheel for the first time. Most people reading these will recognize
them from years of experience. But hopefully, I will reach those of you fresh in our
ranks, those new to the Pierce-Arrow experience. There are a few things everyone learns
owning and driving one of these lovely beasts. Iím sure I will be missing some things,
but hereís a beginnerís course. Call them rules, fundamentals, even truths, whatever.
Iíll just number them, you decide.
First and foremost, follow the old Boy Scout motto ďBe Prepared.Ē I know this is
basic and even common sense, but Iím not joking. What old car-type person (doesnít
have to be a Pierce) hasnít gotten stuck on the side of the road? Bet you wonít find
many who havenít at some point. Iím talking cell phone, auto club membership with a
hundred miles of towing, fire extinguisher, extra water for overheating, you name
it. Yes, I realize folks lived without the cell phones and auto club memberships for
many years, but these are good advances and should be taken advantage of. Believe
me, when you need them, youíll be happy. Please donít take this to mean that
Pierce-Arrows are unreliable, because they are very reliable. But you must remember
that the youngest of these cars is hitting 68 this year and most are considerably
older then that, so they are bound to have a problem now and again.
Accept that the first time you get behind the wheel of a Pierce-Arrow, the car is
very aware of that fact. The car knows youíre a beginner and will want to teach you
everything it feels you need to know. The car will test you. You must remember that
many of these cars were bred for professional drivers, and desire to treated as
such. The first time I drove solo (meaning no father) the car got a flat tire. The
first time my sister drove solo, the car refused to start after she drove it only a
short distance. But please donít be intimidated. Each time you get behind the wheel,
it will give you a bit more control. These cars are willing to work with you. Sort
of ďTreat me well, and Iíll return the favor.Ē Listen to what they are teaching you.
Respect them and remember, ďWith age, comes wisdom.Ē Let them teach you. They know
what they like and theyíll let you know.
Listen to the more experienced. Iím talking human this time. In this club, and most
particularly our region, we have a wealth of Pierce-Arrow knowledge. Everything you
need to know about these cars is accessible to you in this club. People are often
talking about how the age of the members of this club is advancing. For the newbies
out there, this is good news. It is years of experience to learn from. Do not be
afraid to ask for help. The members in this club love nothing more then to expound
on the Pierce-Arrow. Many of these people have had these cars for many, many years
and know them inside out. Listen to them.
Donít get over-confident. There is nothing a Pierce-Arrow likes to do better then
put a cocky novice in his or her place. For example, when practicing
double-clutching and you finally get the car in third, do not yell out, ďYes, I can
finally do it.Ē Simply smile demurely and say, ď Let me try again and make sure it
wasnít luck.Ē The novice Pierce-Arrow driver should not get over-confident when
learning a new driving skill. The car can and does hear those things and will
quickly put you in your place. Donít think for second after cocky comments youíll be
getting that car in third as easily as you did the first time.
These cars are not mere machines, but members of the family. These cars are not
ordinary and should not be treated the same as you Ford pickup or Toyota sedan. Give
them a name and a roof over there head. When the Cedar fire was nearing our home in
Ramona, did we worry about the house? Not too much. The first thing we did was find
a place for the Pierces so that if the fire got any closer they would be safe.
Thatís because they are members of the family. Treat them well and theyíll treat you
Many of you will become such fiercely devout Pierce-Arrow enthusiasts that others
makes of cars will seem to pale in comparison. Cars once thought on par with
Pierce-Arrow will no longer stand up to the heightened standards you acquire after
your Pierce-Arrow experience. It is a side effect many people have experienced. It
must be said, so as not to offend, that this author harbors no ill will towards
other marques and has by no means been influenced by any negative sentiment within
the confines of this club.
Thereís probably some mechanical stuff that men will think is important toward the
whole beginnerís Pierce-Arrow experience. But the editor (being myself) chose
someone to write this who finds more enjoyment getting out in the cars, rather then
under them. So if that stuff is important to you, read Eric Rosenauís ďTechnical
TipsĒ column in this very publication. (Note: "Technical Tips" is available in the
Pierce-Arrow Mascot, published by the Southern California Region of the PAS)
To conclude, knowing the people in this club as I do (and enjoying the company of most
of them), Iím sure to expect some feedback on what I hit on and what I missed and may
expound upon it in a later issue. Or I may not. Enjoy your cars, and cherish your
moments in them. Many (perhaps too many) of the important experiences of my life have
included these cars, so if I sound a little biased, I am.