Pierce Arrow Model 80
The Pierce-Arrow Motor Company was formed at the turn of the 20th century by George N. Pierce. The company enjoyed very quick and early fame for building reliable and durable automobiles. One example was driven on the inaugural 1905 Glidden Tour with Pierce's son Percy at the wheel of the Pierce Great Arrow. The Great Arrow won the event and went on to dominate the next four events. In honor of its accomplishments, the 'Pierce' and 'Arrow' became eternally linked as the company was renamed Pierce-Arrow in 1909.
As the years progressed, the Pierce-Arrow company enjoyed much success in the luxury car segment. During the 1920s, the company faced pressure from other manufactures, which were utilizing new production techniques which allowed for a reduction in costs. In response, the Pierce-Arrow Model 80 was introduced in 1924. It was positioned slightly down-market and into the price range of a great audience. This meant higher production volumes and the ability to move away from the costly traditional production techniques and into more modern methods.
The Model 80 was clothed in aluminum and given four-wheel vacuum-powered brakes in 1927. For 1928, the changes were minimal except for a name-change to the 'Model 81'. Visual changes includes smaller headlamps for this one year only. Another exclusive '1928 only' feature was the new emblem of the Pierce family crest prominently displayed on the Pierce-Arrow radiators. The emblem was changed when Mrs. Percy Pierce correctly pointed out that it was not the actual crest of the George N. Pierce family.
There were nearly five-thousand examples of the Series 81 Models produced in 1928.
By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2008
The Pierce-Arrow Company has a history that dates back to the dawn of the motor car and quickly evolved into one of the top producers of luxury and sophisticated automobiles. They worked closely with their Buffalo, New York neighbor Aluminum Company of America to perfect casting techniques that produced cast aluminum body panels as thin as 1/8 inch. The result was a strong material that was very lightweight.
The design of the Pierce-Arrows was performed in-house by the talented Herbert Dawley. He patented the design where the headlights faired into the tops of the front fenders, a feature that would become a hallmark for the Pierce-Arrow Company.
Through craftsmanship, style, and innovation, the Pierce-Arrow Company continued to lead the industry for many years. That all changed by the late 1920s as Pierce-Arrow was being outpaced by their competition. By this time, more modern production methods were making it easier for other marque's to provide a product at a cost that was difficult for Pierce-Arrow to compete. Within a few years, Pierce-Arrow re-solidified itself as a prominent company through new engineering advances, a broad model lineup, and marketing techniques.
The Model 80 was first shown in 1924 and by 1927 it was offered with four-wheel vacuum-powered brakes. The fuel gauge was located on the gas tank while the temperature gauge was mounted on the dashboard.
Production of the Model 80 lasted until 1927. It was an entry-level vehicle aimed at attracting a wide audience of buyers who could afford this milder-priced vehicle. It was priced between $2,400 to $4,000 less than the larger and more stately Series 36. It was a car that was not intended to be chauffeur-driven. By 1926 sales had risen to 7,500 units for the Series 80. However, the following year sales declined dramatically and the Series 80 was dropped.
By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2008