1930 Pierce-Arrow Model A
The Pierce Arrow Motor Car Company of Buffalo, NY, was the utmost in American luxury car manufacturers. The trademark integrated headlights were Pierce Arrow's most noted feature, along with the 'kneeling archer' hood ornament. This Pierce Arrow was originally sold in Memphis, TN. A most unusual feature is the location of the release for the rumble seat, which is behind the front compartment known as the 'fifth door,' referring to the location of your 'fifth' of liquor during prohibition. The transmission has a 'free wheeling' feature which allows the car to coast without engine braking. The wooden wheels are known as 'artillery wheels,' after those used on Army artillery caissons. The small door on the passenger side is called the 'golf door,' and covers a compartment used to store a bag of golf clubs.
In 1929, Pierce-Arrow launched two new cars available on two wheelbase sizes, measuring 133- and 144-inches. Various bodystyles were available ontop of these chassis and sales reached 9,700 examples for the Company, their best year to date. The names of these two newly introduced cars were the Series 133 and Series 144, due to their wheelbase sizes. Under the bonnet was a inline eight-cylinder engine with side-valve technology and nine main bearings. Horsepower was exceptional, measuring 125 from the 365.4 cubic-inch powerplant. The engine was mated to a three-speed manual gearbox which powered the rear wheels.
As the economic turmoil of the late 1920s and early 1930s began to show its ugly head, most luxury marque's seemed oblivious to the fact and continued to introduce large and expensive automobiles powered by mammoth engines. The pool of potential customers dwindled and many maruqes were forced to go the way of the dinosaur. Sales for Pierce-Arrow plummeted to 6,795 for 1930, and 4,522 for the following year. These slow sale figures seemed to fuel Pierce-Arrow's desire to continued in the luxury car market, and they introduced an improved Eight model, followed by a side-valve V12 engine in 1932.
In 1933, Studebaker who had purchased Pierce-Arrow a few years prior, was forced to sell Pierce-Arrow. The company was purchased by a group of Buffalo based investors and Pierce continued to create and sell automobiles until 1937. The Packard Company was managing to stay afloat by creating a lower-cost line that appealed to a broader market segment and had increased revenue and sales. Pierce-Arrow attempted to mimic their achievement by introducing the low-priced One-Twenty model. The move may have worked if it had been done earlier, and Pierce-Arrow was forced to cease production in 1938. On Friday, May 13th the company was sold at auction.By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2008
This car was originally owned by the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, CO. It was used to transport the hotel guests to the top of Pikes Peak, an elevation of 14,000 feet. The car is powered by a 385 cubic-inch, side-valve, inline 8-cylinder engine developing 125/132 horsepower. The manual transmission featured freewheeling, which was thought to offer a smoother ride and better fuel economy but put a heavy load on the brakes. It was eventually banned as unsafe. Pierce-Arrow produced 6,916 vehicles in 1930. A family member of the current owner purchased the car in the 1960s and the current owner purchased the car format he estate in the 1990s.
In the late 1800's the Pierce Company earned a stellar reputation for building quality simple household products and bicycles. At the turn of the century, a subsidiary of Pierce had built a few motorcycles. In 1908, Pierce started manufacturing a single cylinder automobile. This would lead to expansion with the formation of the Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company. Known for producing high quality luxury salons and sports roadsters, they quickly established a fine reputation. Utilizing a unique signature grill ornament known as 'The Helmeted Archer', Pierce-Arrows had a very distinct look with a unique integrated fender light design.
In 1930, the desire for prestige automobiles was at fever pitch, and the Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company was producing some of the most coveted cars. This Model 4S Limousine epitomizes the Pierce standard of luxury and class. Riding on a larger wheelbase, this rare body style automobile certainly qualifies as a true limousine. Among the many features are dual side-mount spare tires, the artillery wheels and a sumptuous grey cloth interior.
Recently this automobile received complete refurbishing of the drive-train components and mechanicals. The straight eight engine provides more than adequate power to push this pre-war classic smoothly.