By 1909, Pierce-Arrow had earned a solid reputation for quality, durability, and style. They had become the preferred transport of America's social elite. They added three additional chassis types for 1909, plus a new four-speed gearbox with outboard shift, and updated fenders. The public responded and sales rose from 552 units in 1908 to nearly 1,000 in 1909. Another high point for the company in 1909, was that it began a tradition as being the official car of the White House.
Pierce-Arrows were innovative and renowned for utilizing components made from expensive and exotic materials such as Krupp chrome-nickel axle shafts, aluminum coachwork, and a manganese bronze differential case. The engine had six cylinders that were cast-in-pairs with bearings installed between each, creating a very rigid crankshaft.
Pierce-Arrow produced 956 cars for 1909, with 362 of those being the legendary Model 48.
This example is one of the earliest known Pierce-Arrows in existence, and was the twelfth example built. It has never been comprehensively restored. Power is from a 453 cubic-inch T-Head six-cylinder engine fitted with a single updraft carburetor and offering 48 horsepower. There is a four-speed selective sliding gearbox and two-wheel mechanical drum brakes with additional braking on the transmission.
In the mid-1980s, this car became part of the Matt and Barbara Browning's collection of antique and classic Pierce-Arrow automobiles. During time in their ownership, the car was completely restored and then taken by them to the 1988 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance where it was awarded a First in Class (Pierce-Arrow through 1915). Years later, the car became part of the Otis Chandler collection.
The car is finished in a deep, rich maroon, with period-correct Panasote top. Inside, there is a pebble grain diamond-tufted leather seating.
In 2010, this Model 48SS Great Arrow was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company Auction held in Scottsdale, Arizona. The lot was estimated to sell for $350,000 - $450,000. As bidding came to a close, the lot was sold for the sum of $352,000, including buyer's reserve.