Lot Number

1932 Pierce-Arrow Model 54 Convertible Sedan

Sold For $117,600

Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.

RM | Sotheby's - AMELIA ISLAND 8 - 9 MARCH 2019 - Offered from the Leon-Hackney Collection

Chassis No.
Engine No.
  • Offered from the Leon-Hackney Collection
  • “The Birthday Present,” a sentimental favorite in the collection since 1981
  • Well-maintained older restoration, with rare artillery wheels
  • Two-time winner of the Pierce-Arrow Society Vanderveer Trophy
  • Accompanied by a thorough restoration and history file
  • Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic

In 1981, Berta Hackney achieved every woman’s dreaded milestone: her 50th birthday. “I had asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday,” Jay Leon recalled to Beverly Rae Kimes in her 1990 book, The Classic Car, “and she said she was going to cry all day, but something special to ease the pain would help. When I located this car and asked if it would do, she replied, ‘what pain?’”

The car was this 1932 Pierce-Arrow Model 54 convertible sedan, with a 125-hp inline eight-cylinder engine on a chassis with a 137-in. wheelbase, overbuilt and beautifully engineered to the Buffalo automaker’s usual standards. Its history was traceable back to 1954, when it was registered in New York State by Donald and Joan Davis. In 1973, Mrs. Davis sold the Pierce to Ray and Dave Lipka, who restored it in black and silver with a red leather interior, and installed a correct 1932 engine. The Lipkas had exhibited the car at the Pierce-Arrow Society’s National Meet in 1978, winning the Vanderveer Trophy for Best of Show.

After Berta Leon acquired the car, she took it back to the PAS National Meet, and again won the top award, in 1981. The following year, it was shown at both the Meadowbrook and Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Additional restoration work followed in the late 1980s, improving the authenticity, fit, and finish, including a new interior, top, and chrome plating.

In addition to its show career, the car was driven by the Leons in the 1986 Texas Bicentennial CARavan, covering about 900 reliable miles, and by Berta Leon-Hackney 20 years later in the 2006 Heart of Texas CARavan. Today it remains a well-preserved and very attractive older restoration, recording 20,547 miles.

“Convertible sedans are always elegant bodies,” Mr. Leon noted in The Classic Car. “This car particularly so.”

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