1933 Pierce-Arrow Model 836

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The Pierce Company was founded by George N. Pierce, initially producing household items such as birdcages and iceboxes, and by the 1870s, had ventured into the world of bicycles. As the 1900s came into sight, Pierce began exploring the possibilities of motor carriages.

The first automobile produced by Pierce was in 1901. It was a 600lb Pierce 'Motorette' that was powered by a single-cylinder engine. In 1907, they were powered by large six-cylinder engines and called the Great Arrow. In 1908, the company was renamed the Pierce-Arrow Motorcar Company.

By the early 1910s, Pierce-Arrow had their Model 66, which was a large and stately vehicle driven by an 824 cubic-inch T-head six-cylinder engine and rode atop a large 147-inch chassis. By 1913, Pierce-Arrow patented fender-mounted headlamps, a design that would become a powerful brand signature for every subsequent Pierce-Arrow model produced during the remainder of the firm's existence.

The 1910s and early 1920s were a prosperous time for the Pierce-Arrow company. As the 1920s continued, the company began losing its footing as it continued to use its six-cylinder engines. Most of their competitors had moved on, now powering their cars with eight-cylinder engines. Pierce-Arrow was also hesitant to embrace the art deco flamboyance of the time, and their style was quickly becoming outdated.

In 1928, the Pierce-Arrow company was merged with the Studebaker Corporation. This made available an eight-cylinder powerplant. In 1929, Pierce-Arrow was finally able to offer an eight-cylinder model that was stylish and fast. Sales were strong and plans continued for the years to come.

The 1931 Pierce-Arrows were given a longer wheelbase than earlier models. The following year, two new 80-degree V-12 engines were announced. This bold move was to help keep pace with the vicious cylinder wars being fought by their rivals such as Marmon, Cadillac, Packard, and Lincoln.

In 1933, Pierce-Arrow introduced the Silver Arrow prototype car. It was a statement of the direction the Pierce-Arrow intended to take. It was bold and elegant that had poise and power. Meanwhile, the 1933 Pierce-Arrow production cars were given valenced fenders which were the only major visual change distinguishing them from their 1932 counterparts.

The eight-cylinder Pierce-Arrow Series 836 was available in both regular and extended wheelbase sizes. There was a wide range of body styles available on the 136-inch platform, while the extended 139-inch wheelbase was reserved for the special sedan and limousine styles. The 366 cubic-inch L-head inline eight-cylinder engine produced 135 horsepower and was paired with a three-speed manual transmission. The front received a solid axle while the rear had a live axle, with semi-elliptical leaf springs all round, along with four-wheel drum brakes.

The Studebaker and Pierce-Arrow merger was a financial nightmare from the start, and by 1933, the Studebaker management had brought the company to bankruptcy and into receivership. A group of Buffalo businessmen returned ownership of Pierce-Arrow to its hometown, paying $1,000,000 for the privilege.

For the years that followed, the company continued to modify and refine its eight- and twelve-cylinder lines, though their future was coming to an end. For the 1937 model year, only 200 cars were built. 1938 would be the final year and only a few cars were built before the company closed its doors. Unlike other marques, Pierce-Arrow never compromised and did not introduce lower-priced models to counter the Great Depression.

by Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2014

Vehicle Profiles

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

1933 Model 836
1933 Pierce-Arrow Model 836 Price Range: $2,405 - $3,425

Other 1933 Pierce-Arrow Models

Industry Production

1938Chevrolet (465,158)Ford (410,263)Plymouth (285,704)26
1937Chevrolet (815,375)Ford (765,933)Plymouth (566,128)167
1936Ford (930,778)Chevrolet (918,278)Plymouth (520,025)787
1935Ford (820,253)Chevrolet (548,215)Plymouth (350,884)875
1934Ford (563,921)Brewster (563,921)Chevrolet (551,191)
1933Chevrolet (486,261)Ford (334,969)Plymouth (298,557)2,152
1932Chevrolet (313,404)Ford (210,824)Miller (210,824)2,692
1931Chevrolet (619,554)Ford (615,455)Buick (138,965)4,522
1930Ford (1,140,710)Chevrolet (640,980)Buick (181,743)6,795
1929Ford (1,507,132)Chevrolet (1,328,605)Buick (196,104)8,422
1928Chevrolet (1,193,212)Ford (607,592)Willys Knight (231,360)5,736

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