Pierce Arrow produced the finest cars of the Classic Era in the opinion of many savvy Collectors. They were way over engineered and had features ahead of their time in many respects.
The forerunner of Pierce-Arrow was established in 1865 as Heinz, Pierce and Munschauer. The company was best known for its household items, and especially its delicate, gilded birdcages. In 1872, George N. Pierce bought out the other two, switching the name to George N. Pierce Company and in 1896, bicycles were added to the product range. A failed attempt to build a steam-powered car was made in 1900 with license from Overman, but by 1901 Pierce built its first single-cylinder two-speed (no reverse) Motorette with the engine licensed from de Dion. In 1904, a two cylinder was made named the Arrow. In 1903 Pierce decided to concentrate on making a larger, more luxurious auto for the upscale market, and the Pierce-Arrow automobile was born. This proved to be Pierce's most successful product, and the solidly-built cars with powerful engines gained positive publicity by winning various auto races. During this period, Pierce's high-end products were sometimes advertised as the Great-Arrow. In 1908 Pierce Motor Company was renamed The Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company.
In 1909, President William Howard Taft ordered two Pierce-Arrows to be used for state occasions, the first official automobiles of the White House. An open-bodied Pierce-Arrow carried Woodrow Wilson and Warren G Harding to Harding's 1921 inauguration. A restored 1919 Pierce Arrow is on view at the Wilson Presidential Library. Herbert Dawley (later a Broadway actor-director) joined Pierce-Arrow in 1912, and designed almost every model until 1938. In 1914, Pierce-Arrow adopted its most enduring styling hallmark when the headlights of the vehicle were moved from the traditional placement on either side of the radiator into flared housings molded into the front fenders of the car. This gave the car an immediate visual identification from the side; at night it gave the car the appearance of a wider stance. Pierce patented this placement and it remained in place until the final model in 1938, although Pierce always offered customers the option of conventional headlamps. A small minority of customers purchased these less distinctive models. Through 1914 Pierce-Arrow also produced a line of motorcycles.
The Pierce-Arrow was a status symbol, owned by many Hollywood stars, corporate tycoons; royalty of many foreign nations had at least one Pierce-Arrow in their collections. In American luxury cars it was rivaled only by the Peerless and Packard, which collectively received the accolade Three P's of Motordom.
This very rare example was discovered in a shed in West Virginia by David Coco in the early 80's. The car had been involved in a minor fender bender many years back and had been put away many years prior. Mr. Coco embarked on a ground up restoration, having the engine rebuilt by Tom Lester, and doing a lot of the restoration work including the leather upholstery himself. He sold the car prior to finishing it to fellow Pierce Collector John Steckbeck, who completed the restoration, adding the snazzy Art Deco door cards and headliner, and complimentary belt molding trim and pin striping. The car then passed to Phil and Carol Bray in the Detroit area, where it received its CCCA First Primary Award and conveyed them on numerous CARavans and club outings. The car was purchased by a collector in Indiana, and was inherited by his son, who has decided to pass it on after enjoying it for the past few years.
Despite the time since restoration, the car still presents quite well with gleaming Chrome, soft and subtle upholstery, and the legendary reliability and smooth driving characteristics Pierce Arrows are so famous for. The car starts right up, runs straight and true down the road, shifts crisply through the gears, and stops with authority. This is a car you can immediately press into service on long distance tours and show with confidence.