Lot Number

1931 Pierce-Arrow Model 41 Convertible Sedan by LeBaron

Sold For $154,000

Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.

RM | Sotheby's - ARIZONA 19 - 20 JANUARY 2017

Chassis No.
Engine No.
  • Formerly of the Matt and Barbara Browning collection
  • Restored by Pierce-Arrow specialist Eric Rosenau
  • Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance award-winner
  • Reportedly one of only four examples built in 1931

132 hp, 385 cu. in. L-head inline eight-cylinder engine with two-barrel updraft Stromberg carburetor, four-speed manual transmission with freewheeling, solid front and live rear axles with semi-elliptical leaf spring suspension, and four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 147 in.

For its top-of-the-line Model 41 series of 1931, Pierce-Arrow revived the splendor of past days with a majestic 147-inch-wheelbase chassis, carrying a new 132-horsepower straight-eight, the most powerful eight-cylinder engine in its class. A deeper radiator shell and heightened brightwork effectively offset the growing trend to more restrained exterior colors, while further technical innovations to the chassis included free-wheeling, allowing for easy downhill coasting without the need to disengage the transmission or depress the clutch pedal.

Pierce-Arrow offered the Model 41 with a variety of luxe “semi-custom” bodies, produced by the renowned coachbuilders LeBaron. Indications are that only about 25 LeBaron bodies were ordered for the Model 41, in all styles, and only four of those were the four-door convertible sedan. Especially attractive in its subtle design, the convertible sedan bears a striking resemblance to LeBaron’s work on Chrysler and Packard chassis of this same era, including the distinctive beltline molding and very long hoodline, which emphasize its length and power.

The convertible sedan offered here is perhaps the most famous and well-respected example. Its history is known back to the early 1950s, when it was purchased by the late, well-known enthusiast James Weston of California. Mr. Weston subsequently sold the Pierce-Arrow, in excellent original condition, to Matt and Barbara Browning of Ogden, Utah, in 1972. The Brownings were, in their time, the most renowned Pierce-Arrow collectors in the country, building a wonderful private museum that’s depth, breadth, and quality has yet to be surpassed. All of their cars were beautifully, correctly restored or excellent original examples, and they remain some of the finest of their kind, 16 years after the collection was dispersed.

This was the final car restored for the Brownings, and like many of the greatest automobiles in their collection, the work was done by the late Eric Rosenau, the foremost Pierce-Arrow authority on the West Coast, in a wonderful light and dark brown with orange pinstriping. Fresh out of restoration at the time of its sale in 2000, the car was shown by its new owner at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2001, winning a class award. Today the paint, interior, and chassis remain beautiful and well-presented, a testament to the lasting quality of Mr. Rosenau’s renowned workmanship. Further, it is well-equipped with correct accessories, including not only the famous “archer” mascot, but twin side-mounted spares with contoured mirrors, Tilt-Ray headlamps, dual running lights, dual horns, and an Arrowlite taillight. The leather seats are adjustable, and footrests are provided for the rear passengers.

A superb Pierce-Arrow with desirable “semi-custom” coachwork and a wonderful, pure history filled with the best of names, this would be an outstanding addition to any collection of Buffalo’s finest automobile.

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