Buffalo’s Pierce Arrow Automobile Company was founded in its original form way back in 1865 as Heinz, Pierce and Munschauer, who manufactured various household items, including their best known product – gilded bird cages. In 1872, George Norman Pierce bought out his partners and added bicycles to the company’s portfolio. By 1900 they were experimenting with building steam cars under license and by 1904 they settled on building large, upscale models. Pierce-Arrow earned a reputation for solid reliability, excellent build quality and became one of the great names of the classic era. For 1929, Pierce-Arrow developed a new and thoroughly modern L-head inline eight-cylinder engine. The new eight was significantly lighter than the large T-head six that it replaced, the design of which had its roots in the Brass Era. With an output of 125 horsepower, this new engine also provided a healthy 25 percent more power from fewer cubic inches, as well as smooth, vibration-free running. The reward for Pierce was that 1929 was the best-ever year for the company, with nearly 10,000 cars sold. Despite the dire economic conditions that loomed, optimism and momentum paved the way into 1930. For the turn of the new decade, the flagship Model A gained a magnificent 385 cubic inch, nine-main-bearing eight-cylinder that is considered today to be the best engine the company ever produced. With an impressive 132 horsepower, it propelled the big 144” wheelbase model A at a brisk pace. Few luxury cars of its day could match the Pierce’s performance. A synchronized transmission aided in drivability, and a wide array of bodies was available to suit their wealthy clientele’s needs. This impressive 1930 Model A is a very handsome example of this rare and desirable flagship model from Pierce Arrow. Riding on a grand 144-inch wheelbase, the Convertible Coupe coachwork is finished in a striking combination of medium gray main body with black fenders and swage lines. Red coach stripes and the black painted wire wheels lend an air of sportiness to the elegant design. While the restoration was performed some time ago, this wonderful Model A still presents in beautiful condition. Today, the black and gray paintwork has begun to show just a bit of age through very minor crazing in places, yet remains extremely attractive and honest. The body is straight, with very good shutlines and panel alignment, a testament to the quality of the restoration. The convertible coupe body style is quite sporting for the period, and it wears an array of accessories that add to the appeal. Up front, a radiator stone guard is fitted, as well as a single Pilot Ray spot lamp and a pair of unusual spot lamps mounted on a light bar. Of course, the signature faired-in headlights make this unmistakable as a Pierce Arrow. The proud “Kneeling Archer” mascot rides atop the radiator and he comes complete with the fragile (and oft missing) bow and arrow. Dual side mount spare tires are clamped in place with unusual and stylish chrome brackets that feature integrated mirrors. In the rear, a single tri-lens tail light, chrome trunk rack and gorgeous chrome bumper accentuate the style. Stepping inside the cabin, you find beautiful black leather that shows hardly any creases or signs of use. The door panels and black carpet are also excellent but the highlight of the interior is no doubt the spectacular dash. The gorgeous woodwork is beautifully finished, extending from the dash and around onto the door caps. Original instrumentation and switchgear are accompanied by a Waltham Eight Day clock, cigar lighter and gorgeous Art Deco ash tray mounted on the passenger side. Should you wish to carry the occasional rear passenger, there is a rumble seat which trimmed in matching black leather, and appears virtually unused. The black canvas folding soft top is likewise in very good order. Pierce Arrow’s big 385 cubic inch straight eight presents extremely well, finished correctly in an attractive mixture of gloss black paint and polished/plated metals and hardware. A few concessions such as modern belts and hoses have been fitted in the interest of reliability and serviceability, though the major components remain period correct and in very fine working order. Beautiful, impressive, and luxurious, this Pierce-Arrow Model A is a very desirable example of one of the best models ever produced by this storied company. The sporting body in combination with the magnificent 132 horsepower, nine main-bearing engine and grand 144 inch wheelbase makes it an ideal choice for touring and events. The restoration on this car was clearly done properly, and from day one, it has been very well preserved and is ready to be thoroughly enjoyed.
Pierce-Arrow’s mighty Model 66 was one of the largest, grandest and most powerful automobiles sold in America during the Brass Era. Putting the importance of the magnificent Model 66 into perspective, it is considered by some to be the Brass Era equivalent to the Classic Era’s Bugatti Type 41 Royale. It is one of the most desirable automobiles of the period, and though records show that 1,250 were built between 1910 and 1918, a mere 14 survivors are known to exist today. The beautiful and imposing Model 66 is highly sought after by collectors and rarely do such examples come up for sale on the open market. Named for the headline-grabbing power output of its immense inline six-cylinder engine, the Model 66 first debuted in 1910. For the initial production run, the T-Head engine displaced 714 cubic inches, or approximately 11.7 liters. By 1913, engineers bumped the displacement to 825 cubic inches, or a full 13.5 liters. With the increase in displacement came a subsequent jump in power to nearly 100 horsepower, otherworldly figures for a time when the ubiquitous Model T produced about 20 horsepower from 177 cubic inches. Despite the increase of power, the model name remained the same. As impressive as those figures are, the old adage of “sell horsepower but drive torque” rang true even back in 1913, for the long stroke engine revved to only 1500 rpm and produced locomotive-like torque, allowing smooth and effortless performance. Prior to building automobiles, the company that eventually became Pierce-Arrow had vast experience in building household items, bicycles and in particular, ornate gilded bird cages. When the focus shifted to motorcars, they applied their experience working with different materials to their new products. Like other Pierce Arrows of the time, the Model 66 wore a body constructed of cast aluminum, produced in the company’s own foundry. The aluminum body was light and strong, with superior longevity thanks to a minimal use of traditional wooden frame work. For such a large and expensive motorcar, the coachwork was equally grand and regal, with most cars bodied in-house as multi-passenger touring cars and limousines. The motorcar being offered is a 1916 Model 66-A-4, the final evolution and most desirable of the series. The 66-A-4 was equipped with the massive 825c.i. engine, dual ignition from both a coil-and-battery system as well as a magneto, and used aluminum alloy for the crank case and other engine components. Discounting only the singular 66-A-5 prototype, this chassis is the most advanced of all Model 66s known. According to historian Bernard Weis, chassis number 67219 was acquired by Pierce collector Milo Smith from well-known restorer Carl Amsley of Pennsylvania, who had purchased it from Lewis Crossett of Boston, Massachusetts. Mr. Amsley had produced a correct-style body for the car, using new castings made to original designs. As many original Pierce-Arrow components as possible were used, including a Model 48 cowl and fenders, which were reshaped and lightly modified to accommodate the larger Model 66. Upon inspection today, it can be seen that the work was performed with exquisite craftsmanship, closely matching the original casting techniques used by the factory. The engine, number A4 269, is recorded by the Pierce-Arrow Society as having been produced between December 1915 and August 1918. Various respected Pierce-Arrow 66 authorities, including Patrick Craig, have confirmed this to be a correct 66-A-4 passenger car engine. Furthermore, the original frame stamping, 67219, is still visible under the front floorboard. Mr. Smith reportedly eventually donated the restored car to his church, after which, in 1999, it was acquired by longtime HCCA member and Pierce enthusiast Norm Buckhart. Mr. Buckhart treated 67219 to a fresh, photo-documented restoration performed by the respected Allan Schmidt, of Horseless Carriage Restorations in Escondido, California, including extensive mechanical work, down to new engine bearings. The restoration was followed by several hundred reliable touring miles in HCCA events. Before selling the car to the most recent owner, Mr. Buckhart again had the restoration freshened by the late Pierce-Arrow authority Eric Rosenau, including a thorough mechanical sorting with a valve adjustment and carburetor rebuild. It remains in excellent mechanical order to this day and is ready for road-duty and attractive enough for show. Today, this car presents beautifully in an extremely handsome yet understated two-tone grey color scheme, complemented by a black folding top with rear quarter windows. The painted radiator shell and wooden artillery wheels with six Johnson rims were original Pierce-Arrow options. The overall presentation remains extremely attractive and its size and stature are quite simply jaw-dropping. In combination with the stunning looks, its vast interior and immense power, make this Model 66 a superb choice for both shows and tours. As with all 1915–24 Pierce-Arrows, it is recognized as a Full Classic by the Classic Car Club of America and thus can even be used for their CARavan tours, for which it would make a faithful companion. The sale includes operating instructions, service and maintenance catalog reprints and some restoration photos. Simply put, the acquisition of a Model 66 ranks as a “holy grail” experience for Pierce-Arrow enthusiasts, and any fan of early automobiles is sure to be taken by its impressive stature and performance.