Pierce-Arrow was always one of the most opulent and expensive luxury cars built in America, but with the introduction of the 66-horsepower model, it moved into a class that was nearly unmatched. The 66 featured an 825 cubic-inch, six-cylinder engine, the largest engine ever installed in a production car - a record shared with Peerless Automobiles that still stands today as noted in the Guinness Book of World Records. Along with the enormous engine, every part of the driveline of a 66 is of larger scale than the other models, giving a true example of how Pierce-Arrow set out to build the best automobile of the era.
This 66 7-passenger touring is a quintessential example of not only Pierce-Arrow's grandest model, but also their most popular open car body, the ubiquitous 7-passenger touring.
Chassis #: 67145
Engine #: 67145
George N. Pierce, a bicycle manufacturer, was a partner in Heintz, Pierce and Munschauer, a Buffalo, New York, company that made bird cages. In 1872, Pierce bought out his partners and renamed the company for himself, embarking on pedal-powered transportation. In 1900, he built a steam car. A gasoline-powered car followed in November, and in 1901, the manufacture of a DeDion-engined 'Motorette' began. In 1904, the Pierce Automobile Company introduced the four-cylinder Great Arrow. Pierce's son Percy drove one in the inaugural 1905 Glidden Tour, and emerged victorious. Pierces would win the Glidden trophy for the next four events. The name 'Pierce' and 'Arrow' became so linked in the public eye that the company was renamed Pierce-Arrow in 1909.
In 1901, Pierce had been joined by a British-born engineer of Scottish ancestry named David Fergusson. He had laid out the design for the company's Motorette and Arrow models. In 1905, he toured Europe with manufacturing vice-president Henry May, where they visited all the British and Continental automobile factories. They were inspired by the large vehicles and their six-cylinder engines.
In 1907, the first six-cylinder Pierce was introduced, called the Model 65-Q. The engine had a T-head configuration, in similar fashion to the fours that preceded it, and had a 648 cubic-inch displacement size. The wheelbase measured 135-inches and was a foot longer than the larger four-cylinder model. Around 100 examples were built compared to 900 example of the four-cylinder models.
In 1913, the company introduced a design change that would become a hallmark for the Pierce-Arrow models - the fender-mounted headlamps. This was the work of designer Herbert M. Dawley. The company still offered conventional lights, and some jurisdictions forbade the new design.
In the early years after World War I, the Model 38, 48, and 66 would comprise the Pierce catalog through 1918. The Model 66 would become the 66A and grew to a 147.5-inch wheelbase.
This particular example is a Model 66-A-3 Touring model from 1915. It measures over 15 feet long and has a rear-mounted trunk. The body is finished in red with black fenders. The upholstery is done in black-tufted leather. It has a succession of known owners, including W.H. Cowles of Santa Barbara, California, Monty Holmes of Seattle, Washington, and eventually E.R. Bourne of San Diego, California, in 1971. Bourne sold it to Rodney Flournoy of California, who had Bourne cast a new body in aluminum. From 1983 until 2000, the car was part of the Willis Boyd collection of Santa Ana, California. The current owner acquired it from Mr. Boyd.
The car has a comprehensive instrument panel with six dials, including a Stewart-Warner clock with second hand, a Warner Auto-Meter (odometer), and a drum speedometer on top, with oil and gasoline gauges and a Westinghouse voltmeter below. In the toeboard is a temperature gauge.
The engine is an 824.7 cubic-inch T-head six-cylinder unit which produces 60 horsepower. The engine is three paired castings equating to six cylinders. The car rides on red artillery wheels with B.F. Goodrich Silvertown whitewalls.By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2016
The Pierce-Arrow Model 66 was one of the pinnacles of American design and craftsmanship of the early Twentieth century. Just like all Pierce-Arrows since 1910, they were powered by a six-cylinder engine. Originally they had a bore of 5.25-inches and a stroke of 5.5-inches giving it 714 cubic-inches of displacement. By 1913 it had grown to have a bore of 5-inches and a stroke of 7-inches. The engine displaced 825 cubic-inches and was double the size of many of its competitors. At 1600 RPM's, the engine was capable of producing 60 horsepower. This means the Type 66 was not only an elegant automobile, but it was also a very fast machine. It is believed that the Type 66 had the largest displacement engine ever to power a production automobile. It had 44 more cubic-inches than the Bugatti Type 41 Royale. With an engine of this magnitude, it consumed lots of fuel. The miles-per-gallon was around 8.5, meaning the 36-gallon fuel tank was good for nearly 300 miles. This often posed problems for the drivers, as gas stations were not always readily available.
Pierce-Arrow placed this mammoth engine in a chassis that measured 147.5-inches. It was a suitable platform for many coachbuilders to work their trade. Pierce-Arrow was among the first to use cast aluminum panels in their bodywork, reducing the overall weight of the vehicle while maintaining a high degree of structural rigidity and strength.
In 1914 an electric starter was added. A pressurized fuel delivery system using an engine-operated air pump to pressurize the tank appeared in 1915.
In 1916 Pierce-Arrow introduced their final iteration of the Model 66, the Series 4. This would remain in production until 1918.
From 1910 through 1918, there were 1250 examples of the Model 66 produced. It is believed that around fourteen have survived in modern times and only seven are the Model 66 A-4 series.By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2007