If you own one of these old chariots and you’ve been thinking about parting with it, this would be a good time to act
Before entering the automotive business in 1901, the George N. Pierce Company of Buffalo, NY, had been engaged in making such diverse products as birdcages and bicycles. Pierce’s first cars were called Motorettes and were powered by DeDion-Bouton engines. By 1903 Pierce was building two-cylinder cars and in 1904 its four-cylinder Pierce Great Arrow arrived. The Great Arrow line expanded to include six-cylinder cars in 1907 and two years later both the company and the marque were re-named Pierce-Arrow.
Only the finest materials were used in these motorcars, including complex but immensely strong cast aluminum bodies. Throughout the years Pierce also pioneered the use of power brakes and hydraulic tappets, and in 1913 the marque’s most distinguishing feature appeared when fender-mounted headlamps became standard on all series.
The cars found great success, and acceptance at the highest social and governmental levels; indeed, Pierce-Arrows were the official White House automobile for many years. Pierce’s greatest mechanical tour de force in its early years was the gargantuan Model 66. With a rating of 60 hp and a 5- by 7- inch bore and stroke in its six cylinders, these road-going locomotives rode on a wheelbase of over twelve feet and cost anywhere from $6,500 to $8,000 depending on the body style specified by their well-heeled customers. The Dual Valve Six appeared in late 1918 but shortly thereafter Pierce-Arrow went through several years of turmoil as company ownership and staff went through some key changes.
To expand its market Pierce brought out the Series 80 in 1924. This was a lower-priced and more modern appearing car than the senior autos. But it was still a six-cylinder, as Pierce stubbornly clung to the credo that a six was the ideal powerplant. Meanwhile, the competition offered both straight-eights and V8s, and Packard had even offered twelves during the early 1920s.
It would not be until 1930 that Pierce made an eight-cylinder car, just in time to be trumped by the V12s and V16s of Cadillac, Marmon and Lincoln. Pierce and Studebaker merged in 1929, although the Buffalo automaker remained an independent entity in terms of development and manufacturing. Pierce played a quick and successful game of catch-up in the multi-cylinder race, bringing a new and magnificent V12 engine to market in late 1931. But the marriage to Studebaker was proving less than felicitous and in 1933 the South Bend firm went into receivership, taking Pierce-Arrow down with it.
This particular car is a rare model and one of only a very few 1930 Model B convertible coupes known to the Pierce-Arrow Society, and is fitted with an original 8-cylinder engine. Purchased by the current owner in original condition in 1994, it has since been the subject of an eight-year restoration using original parts wherever possible. All the woodwork has been replaced, the chromium trim re-plated, the metalwork repaired as necessary, and a full re-paint was carried out. The convertible top was replaced and a completely new interior was fitted by a noted specialist. All dashboard instruments are complete and original.
Only driven sparingly since restoration, after careful running-in the car will be ready for touring or regional showing. Of course, it is eligible to join in the activities of the Classic Car Club of America. It would prove an excellent choice for tours thanks to its splendid riding qualities, quietness of operation, ease of driving, luxurious passenger comfort, style and great quality.