Lot 399

Hershey 2019

1904 Pierce Arrow

The Muckel Collection


$236,500 USD | Sold

United States | Hershey, Pennsylvania



Engine No.
  • Offered from the Muckel Collection
  • Formerly owned by Harrah’s Automobile Collection and Carl J. Schmitt
  • The sole surviving example with this styling
  • Past participant in the London-to-Brighton Veteran Car Run
  • Exceptionally well built with 15 hp—fast for its era
  • A fascinating piece of “pre-hyphen” Pierce-Arrow history

The astute reader will note here the lack of a hyphen in the name Pierce Arrow. In the early years of the George N. Pierce Company’s auto manufacturing efforts, the marque was simply the Pierce, and Arrow referred to a model. In the case of the 1903-04 Arrow, as seen here, it was equipped with a 15-horsepower, twin-cylinder engine. It is believed that total production of the Pierce Arrow was only 125 examples over the two-year run, and only three of them remain extant today. They stand as testament to the robust quality and fine design of even the earliest Pierce automobiles.

This Arrow was acquired by the famed Harrah’s Automobile Collection in 1963 as an engine and chassis, and was preserved in their vast holdings, awaiting restoration, for over twenty years. When the Harrah’s collection was dispersed in the early 1980s, the Arrow was sold to the well-known Pierce-Arrow enthusiast Rodney Flournoy and was stored in his ownership until 2001. It was then sold to Carl J. Schmitt of Walla Walla, Washington, a noted member of the Horseless Carriage Club of America, known for the fastidious maintenance, documentation, and use of his automobiles. Indeed, the car’s history file includes correspondence between Mr. Schmitt and various other Pierce authorities and automotive historians, as well as photographs of the chassis, engine, and parts as they were acquired by Mr. Schmitt.

Mr. Schmitt submitted the car to Allan Schmidt of Horseless Carriage Restorations in Escondido, California, where, over a five-year period, it was carefully restored to its original configuration, including a body precisely fabricated to the original factory design—the second of three styling variations used for the Arrow. Numerous other parts were borrowed from another Arrow and precisely duplicated, as well. The result was shown at the Kirkland Concours d’Elegance in 2006, winning Best in Class.

Since joining the Muckel Collection in 2008, the Pierce has continued to be well cared for and appeared at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2010. In 2011 it traveled to England with John Muckel and completed the London-to-Brighton Veteran Car Run, a legendary test for these vehicles. It would be certainly welcomed back to that event in the future, as well as to One- and Two-Cylinder Tours here in the United States. The 15-horsepower engine and unusually sturdy, well-engineered construction would make it a powerful and especially rugged entrant.