Pierce-Arrow was one of the last of the luxury car marquee's to switch to a larger powerplant. They held firm to their six-cylinder engine right through to 1927. Their sixes were very large T-head units with four valves per cylinder and twin ignition.
In 1928, Pierce-Arrow introduced their lower-priced Series 80 cars which helped to stimulate sales, now reaching 5,000 units. Sadly, the company was not healthy and short on money. Their short-term solution was to form an alliance with Studebaker. Studebaker was looking for a true luxury model, and they had a cash surplus to offer Pierce-Arrow. The new cash flow allowed Pierce-Arrow to create a new engine.
In 1929, a new engine was introduced which featured an L-head design. It was much lighter than the big T-head six it was replacing. Power was rated at 12 brake horsepower and had 25 more power, from 12 percent less displacement than the outgoing engine. The new model, dubbed the Model 133 for it wheelbase, started at $2,775, far less than the Model 36 - the cheapest model in 1928 - which sold for $5,800.
The new engine and the reduced cost gave Pierce-Arrow their best year ever, with 8,000 cars sold.
The new 1930 models were introduced on January 4th and included three series on four wheelbases in 17 body styles.
The Great Depression was taking a strangle hold on the economy and businesses were struggling for survival. Ideas were being exercised to stimulate sales and to encourage buyers into showrooms. Pierce-Arrow trimmed their catalog, with engine choices cut to two. They still had the same array of models.
It took a few years to realize the union between Studebaker and Pierce-Arrow was a bad move. Buffalo businessmen rescued Pierce-Arrow from the wreckage of its South Bend suitor, which by 1933 was in receivership.
Pierce-Arrow introduced a V12 engine in 1932. a 398 cubic-inch was placed in the cars that had the 137-inch wheelbase while the larger 429 engine was put into the larger models. The performance from the smaller engine was no better than the engine and was soon dropped.
For 1933, a large 462 cubic-inch, 175 horsepower was unveiled.
This Pierce-Arrow Twelve Convertible Sedan Model 1242 is powered by a 462 cubic-inch L-head V-12 engine. There is a wheelbase that measures 137-inches and there are four-wheel mechanical brakes. It was the first car purchased by Dr. Atwood for her collection. It was acquired in 1983 from John Sanders of Rockford, who had restored it a few years earlier. In 1984, it earned AACA National First Junior and Senior honors. It would continue winning awards through 1992. In 1986, it achieved AACA Grand National status at Ashville, North Carolina.
The car is painted in silver and black and there is a tan canvas top. The odometer shows 137 miles, which may be the total traveled since its restoration.
It is believed that the total Model 242 production between the four body styles was just 120 cars. Eight are currently registered by the Pierce-Arrow Society.
In 2009, this Convertible Sedan was offered for sale at the Automobiles of Arizona auction presented by RM Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $240,000 - $300,000 and offered without reserve. The lot was sold for the sum of $181,500 including buyer's premium.