George Pierce of Buffalo, New York, built ice boxes, birdcages, and bicycles before entering the petrol-driven automobile market in 1901. The Pierce-Arrow name would first appear in 1904. In 1908 the firm became the Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company and focused its attention on the production of luxury cars and pioneering technological developments, including servo-assisted braking and hydraulic tappets.
Throughout its existence, the Pierce-Arrow automobiles were known for quality, luxury, and craftsmanship. They were positioned alongside Packard and Peerless, forming the venerable three-P's, and were among America's finest luxury motor car producers. From George Pierce's first single-cylinder Motorette in 1901, the company built an impeccable reputation. Like many of its high-end contemporaries, struggled during various times due to challenging economic conditions and a limited dealer network. The clung to traditional styling and was handicapped by a range of sixes in an increasingly multi-cylinder marketplace. Sales declined throughout the 1920s and in 1928 allied with Studebaker. This allowed Pierce-Arrow access to a range of straight eights, already under development before Studebaker's arrival. As a result, sales doubled in 1929. In November of 1931, a V12 was added to the lineup. Despite the new injection of cylinders, Studebaker and Pierce-Arrow struggled in the post-Wall Street Crash years. Studebaker filed for bankruptcy in 1933, leaving Pierce-Arrow as an independent once again.
In need of a new flagship vehicle, Phil Write was hired as a consultant. The result was the streamlined twelve-cylinder Silver Arrow which made its debut at the 1933 New York Auto Show. It was devoid of running boards, had fully enveloped front fenders, and a distinct fastback roof treatment with a triangular rear-window opening. Its exclusivity was guaranteed by its $10,000 price tag, ensuring only the wealthiest of customers would purchase the vehicle. Only five examples were ever constructed but its advanced styling features were later seen in several of Pierce-Arrow's regular production cars. Total Pierce-Arrow production for 1935 was 875 cars.
With a lack of lower-price range, sales dwindled throughout the 1930s, causing Pierce-Arrow to fold in 1938.
Production of the 1245 Model began on January 2nd of 1935. Power was from a reliable V-12 engine designed by Karl Wise, the company's chief engineer. The engines would eventually be the engine that would power Seagrave fire engines through 1981. The 462 cubic-inch 12-cylinder had Stromberg carburetors, seven main bearings, and delivered 175 horsepower. The engine was backed by a three-speed manual transmission, rode on 7:50x17 tires, and stopping power was employed by mechanical drum brakes by Stewart. The Pierce-Arrow 1245 model in 1935 had a choice of 17 exterior colors and 10 different upholstery options. Five catalog body styles were offered on the 138-inch wheelbase, and three on the 144-inch platform, including a 7-passenger sedan, Limousine, and the legendary Silver Arrow.
In comparison to Cadillac's V16, Pierce-Arrow's produced approximately the same amount of horsepower. The 1935 Packard was also in the same range, at 175 bhp from its 445 cubic-inch V12. The Duesenberg, however, produced nearly 100 additional horsepower from its 420 cubic-inch straight-8 engine (320 HP with the supercharger). The eight-cylinder engine in the Stutz DV-32 produced nearly 160 horsepower, however, it was not available after 1933 (six Stutz cars were produced in 1934 before the factory closed its doors).
The V-12 engine found in the Pierce-Arrow was a worthy contender to output produced by much of the luxury car segment. While other manufacturers chose to diversify their range and offered lower-market vehicles to generate sales, Pierce-Arrow remained steadfast. Company President Arthur Chanter noted that among the American prestige automakers in America, only Pierce-Arrow remained exclusively committed to supplying fine automobiles to the luxury market. by Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2019
Related Reading : Pierce-Arrow Twelve History
Pierce-Arrows were stately vehicles that commanded admiration and respect and had a price tag to match. The individuals who bought the most elite Pierce-Arrows were individuals that were high on the social ladder and cost was not an issue. The Pierce-Arrow catered to every demand and request, even keeping special colors on hand for important families and only using those colors for those vehicles.... Continue Reading >>
The Pierce-Arrow Company had been launched in 1901 and by the late 1920s was experiencing financial difficulties in a changing marketplace. The company merged with Studebaker in 1928 and the results showed up in improved mechanics and styling. The me....[continue reading]
The 1935 Pierce-Arrow Convertible Coupe epitomizes many of the finest elements of the Art Deco period. This is one of only four Brunn-bodied Convertible Coupes in the World. It is powered by Pierce-Arrow's smooth-running, reliable V12 engine, which w....[continue reading]
This Pierce-Arrow is the sole surviving Model 1245 coupe. It has streamlined styling, a long hood, rear deck, vee'd radiator shell, and curved roofline. It was owned for five decades by Harry Hurst of Santa Rosa, California, and later Washington Stat....[continue reading]
Pierce-Arrow produced 875 cars in 1935 and this particular example is one of two known surviving Model 1245 twelve-cylinder Silver Arrow coupes out of an estimated four units originally built. In the 1990s, Harris Laskey treated the car to a restorat....[continue reading]
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