I am looking to see what members either have or have had a 1934 836A ,and what is their opinion of the car. I am looking for my first Pierce-Arrow, and would like to know from members, who have or have had that model, and why they have it or why they have sold it. I have read in many ways, it was P-A attempt at the Packard light eight. I have seen one that is available and would like to get some user opinions. Thank you!
There are some that believe that the 836A was a “cheap” car. While it was less expensive than most Pierce-Arrows, it was NOT a cheap car (Has always been a Full Classic @ CCCA). The reason for the demise of the 836A was that it robbed sales from the 840 and 1240 Series which were more profitable for the company.
It uses the 366 ci engine used by Pierce in earlier years, and the other components were all up to Pierce-Arrow standards. However, some aspects of the design have created detractors for this model i.e. a grill shell instead of louvers, a vent-less hood, different tail lights.
If one looks at P-A competitors in that same time frame, you’ll find that all of them were using these more modern design aspects. Some experience overheating issues with a vent-less hood. Pierce retro fitted the 1935 845 hood to the 836A Series to solve this problem.
In terms of a good driving Pierce, the 836A drives and functions like any other Pierce of that era and is a pleasure to drive.
If you find a solid, well restored/maintained 836A you will definitely enjoy it.
Keep us posted!
All the best,
It seems like there are a couple of advantages operationally for the 836A, it still had mechanical lifters instead of the hydraulic which can have issues, also no oil temperature regulator/cooler that is prone to leak, and a simple thermostat instead of a thermosylphon to control the shutters that are now pretty expensive to replace if they go bad which they sometimes do.
No louvers in the hood could be a problem for vapor lock, unless it is one that has thec1935 style hood with vent doors.
I almost bought an 836A four-door sedan. I was living in Manhattan and was seeing old cars on the street, suggesting having a Pierce would work. I had a Series 80 in college, which was something like an SUV, so driving the 836A – found just outside the city in Connecticut – quickly demonstrated the different driving position would not be what was needed for Murray Hill or Riverside Drive. Years later, my 836A experience was doubled by riding in the back seat of an 836A and can confirm it is very comfortable back there.
More recently, I wrote a story about the 836A and its less-than-one-year lifespan for the Classic Car Club (CCCA) magazine, The Classic Car. There is no question it is a full-size Pierce (using the 1933 wheelbase length) but looks shortened from the exaggerated slant of the radiator shell and the rear quarter. My research included talking to the owners in the CCCA and put some comments in my story – of course they liked them (all four-doors); one member owned two. I added some history about changing the hood from unvented to vented early in the model run, which led to a recall (likely hurting sales momentum): and which led to finding a brochure illustrating the change with photos. That also demonstrated some different interesting trimming on the beltline. In case you want a bigger 836A, there was a rare long wheelbase model; maybe one or two made as passenger cars, but others were for commercial use.
Right now, contacting the CCCA office is the only source for the story; the Society has the CCCA tape but they have yet to publish it.
I hope this helps; and look forward to hearing about your adventures looking for an 836A.
Dennis and I are gonna take a road trip to check out this car tomorrow – and perhaps another one further away.