In the post-World War II era, it was not uncommon for cars to be sent to custom coachbuilders to be bodied with unique designs constructed to meet the needs and desires of the customers. Pierce Arrow sent many of their chassis's to Brunn because they were located in Buffalo, New York. One of their more elegant and memorable creations was the Metropolitan Town Car of 1936 which carried a price tag of $5,795 when outfitted with the twelve cylinder engine. It was the highest priced Pierce-Arrow in 1936.
As 1936 came to a close, Pierce-Arrow sent a V12 Limousine with the divider window and a 147-inch wheelbase to the Durham Body Company of Rosemont, Pennsylvania. It is believed that this prototype was possibly a replacement for the Metropolitan Town Car in 1937 but this would never come to fruition. As a result, this is the only example in existence.
This car features a cut-out section from its roof over the chauffeur's compartment. The windshield was raised by three inches. The front door skins and door glass were made and the rear quarter windows were removed using sheet steel. The rear trunk was cut out and replaced by a trunk rack.
This vehicles first owner was Charles Walker of Manchester, MA. It was purchased by John Grossman after the Second World War who paid a mere $400. He kept the car for a year and sold it to Bob Flynn of Lexington, MA. It later appeared in the New York Times for sale for $350. Ownership passed through several owners throughout the years and during that time was treated to a restoration that took seven years to complete. After which it was shown at numerous shows and even achieved an AACA Junior First at Hershey in 1986. The following year it earned its AACA First Senior award.
This 1936 Pierce Arrow Town Car Prototype was offered for sale at the 2007 RM Auctions held at Meadow Brook. It was estimated to sell for $175,000 - $225,000. The car is powered by a 462 cubic-inch V12 side-valve engine capable of producing 185 horsepower. The engine is mated to a three-speed manual gearbox and there are four-wheel vacuum assisted drum brakes. It is the only example known to exist and an excellent example of Derham's quality, creativity, and craftsmanship. This beautiful machine exceeded the estimated value, selling for an impressive $231,000 including buyers premium.