Pierce-Arrow Society Feature Article
When the Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company ran this advertisement in February, 1934, they had little idea the "years to come" would continue 65 years later! In 1934, Pierce-Arrow charged ahead in typical fashion, creating great cars to be enjoyed for generations. Once again an independent company after their relationship with Studebaker was severed in 1933, Pierce-Arrow came out with three new cars for 1934. Before the Spring was over, they added yet another model to the line-up.
The 1934 cars brought many changes to the traditional Pierce-Arrow design. A more "youthful" look was achieved using rounded body lines. The traditional Pierce-Arrow triple taillight, a standard since the Series 80 and Series 33 of the mid-twenties, was replaced by taillights molded into the rear fenders, mimicking the traditional fender headlights. The radiator shell was painted, with only the grill chromed, and the radiator cap was moved under the hood; the archer ornament permanently attached to the shell. The hood was also restyled to use horizontal doors.
The original line-up for 1934 included three models, the 840A, 1240A, and 1248A. The 840A used a 385 CID straight-eight engine mounted in a 139 or 144 inch wheelbase chassis. Ten body styles were available ranging in price from $2795 to $4995. The 1240A and 1248A cars used a 462 CID V-12 engine. The 1240A was available in nine body styles on a 139 or 144 inch wheelbase chassis. The 1248A used a 148 inch wheelbase chassis. Custom coach work by Brunn was available. Prices for the twelve-cylinder cars ranged from $3195 to $7000.
In the Spring of 1934, another model was added. 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
The Silver Arrow attempted to capitalize on the publicity of the 1933 Silver Arrow show cars. Most of the dramatic features of the show cars were omitted in the production version, but they did feature a "fast back" streamlined design. The production Silver-Arrow used a 144 inch wheelbase chassis and was available with either an eight or twelve cylinder engine.
Despite the new cars, Pierce-Arrow was bankrupt by August, 1934. Attempts to merge with Auburn and REO failed. Pierce-Arrow president, A.J. Chanter, arranged for loans from The Marine Trust Company and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to keep the company afloat. Conditions of the loans required the Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company to reorganize as the Pierce-Arrow Corporation, limited production, and forced the liquidation of all of the factory-owned dealerships. Pierce-Arrows were sold only through independent dealers.
Although a rocky year for the company, the 1934 Pierce-Arrows started a new era at
Pierce-Arrow. The traditional style of earlier Pierce-Arrows was replaced with the
more modern, rounded designs. Although production was low, several have survived and
frequently attend our Annual Meet. To learn more about these cars, we invite you to
join the Pierce-Arrow Society!