The Pierce Company was founded by George N. Pierce. The company began by producing household items such as birdcages and iceboxes, and by the 1870s, had ventured into the world of bicycles. As the 1900s came into sight, Pierce began exploring the possibilities of motor carriages.

The first automobile produced by Pierce was in 1901. It was a 600lb Pierce 'Motorette' that was powered by a single-cylinder engine. In 1907, they were powered by large six-cylinder engines and called the Great Arrow. In 1908, the company was renamed the Pierce-Arrow Motorcar Company.

By the early 1910s, Pierce-Arrow had their Model 66, which was a large and stately vehicle driven by a 824 cubic-inch T-head six-cylinder engine and rode atop a large 147-inch chassis. By 1913, Pierce-Arrow patented fender-mounted headlamps, a design that would become a powerful brand signature for every subsequent Pierce-Arrow model produced during the remainder of the firm's existence.

The 1910s and early 1920s were a prosperous time for the Pierce-Arrow company. As the 1920s continued, the company began loosing its footing as they continued to use their six-cylinder engines. Most of their competitors had moved on, now powering their cars with eight-cylinder engines. Pierce-Arrow was also hesitant to embrace the art deco flamboyance of the time, and their style was quickly becoming outdated.

In 1928, the Pierce-Arrow company was merged with the Studebaker Corporation. This made available an eight-cylinder powerplant. For 1929, Pierce-Arrow was finally able to offer an eight-cylinder model that was stylish and fast. Sales were strong and plans continued for the years to come.

The 1931 Pierce-Arrows were given a longer wheelbase than earlier models. The following year, two new 80-degree V-12 engines were announced. This bold move was to help keep pace with the vicious cylinder wars being fought by their rivals such as Marmon, Cadillac, Packard, and Lincoln.

For 1933, Pierce-Arrow introduced the Silver Arrow prototype car. It was a statement of the direction the Pierce-Arrow intended to take. It was bold and elegant that had poise and power. Meanwhile, the 1933 Pierce-Arrow production cars were given valanced fenders which was the only major visual change distinguishing them from their 1932 counterparts.

The eight-cylinder Pierce-Arrow Series 836 was available in both a regular and extended wheelbase size. There was a wide range of body styles available on the 136-inch platform, while the extended 139-inch wheelbase was reserved for special sedan and limousine styles.

The Studebaker and Pierce-Arrow was a financial nightmare from the start, and by 1933, the Studebaker management ha brought the company to bankruptcy and into receivership. A group of Buffalo businessmen returned ownership of Pierce-Arrow to its hometown, paying $1,000,000 for the privilege.

For the years that followed 1933, the company continued to modify and refine their eight- and twelve-cylinder lines, though their future was coming to an end. For the 1937 model year, only 200 cars were built. 1938 would be the final year and only a few cars were built before the company closed its doors.


By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2014

Vehicle Profiles

Club Sedan
Designer: LeBaron

Chassis Num: 1070153

In 1865 the company bearing his name was founded by George N. Pierce in Buffalo, NY. The company's first automobile, the Pierce Motorette, was produced in 1901 for the Pan-American Exposition. A new modern factory was completed in 1906 and the name....[continue reading]

Club Brougham

The Pierce Silver Arrow was an immediate hit when it was introduced at the 1933 New York Automobile Show and later at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. With a streamlined design created by Phillip Wright, the Silver Arrows were radical designs and rece....[continue reading]

Enclosed Drive Limousine

Chassis Num: 1550247
Engine Num: 239L1 137

This 1933 Pierce-Arrow Series 836 Limousine rides on an extended 139-inch wheelbase. There were 2,152 Pierce-Arrows built for 1933, and this example was built near the close of 1933, as it was the 12 from the last created for that year. It is fitted ....[continue reading]

Enclosed Drive Limousine

The Pierce-Arrow company was founded in Buffalo, New York in 1865 manufacturing everything from ice boxes and birdcages to bathtubs and bicycles. They built their first car in 1901 and in 1903 introduced the Arrow. The Arrow was followed by the Great....[continue reading]

Convertible Roadster

In 1933, the Pierce-Arrow automobile company became independent again, ending its brief merger with the Studebaker Company that had taken place in 1929.....[continue reading]

Sedan

Chassis Num: 1070470

Pierce-Arrow's acute need for financial stability led to their controversial merger of 1928 with Studebaker. This influx of cash funded the development of new models, provided the resources for a new eight-cylinder engine in 1929, which broke the com....[continue reading]

Club Brougham

This car was designed when Pierce-arrow was still part of Studebaker and shared the body design with the Studebaker St. Regis Brougham. IN 1933, the two companies parted ways when Pierce was sold by Studebaker for $1 million after having been bought ....[continue reading]

Convertible Roadster

For more than three decades the Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Co. of Buffalo, New York, was among the most respected and renowned automaker in America. Hard to believe the company responsible for producing the grandest of luxury cars began by building bird ....[continue reading]

Club Sedan
Chassis #: 1070153 
Club Brougham
 
Enclosed Drive Limousine
Chassis #: 1550247 
Enclosed Drive Limousine
 
Convertible Roadster
 
Sedan
Chassis #: 1070470 
Club Brougham
 
Convertible Roadster
 

 
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