1935 Pierce-Arrow Twelve Silver Arrow Coupe

Sold For $198,000

Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.

RM | Auctions - HERSHEY 10 - 11 OCTOBER 2019

Chassis No.
  • Restored in the 1990s; remains in stunning condition throughout
  • One of two known surviving twelve-cylinder Silver Arrow coupes
  • Only four examples believed to have been originally built
  • CCCA National First Prize winner

From George Pierce’s first single-cylinder Motorette in 1901 to the final twelve-cylinder car built for engineer Karl Wise in 1938, Pierce-Arrow stood proudly for quality, craftsmanship, and luxury. Along with Packard and Peerless, the Buffalo, New York, firm built America’s finest luxury motor cars, earning a loyal clientele along the way.

Despite the impeccable reputation, Pierce-Arrow, like many of its high-end contemporaries, struggled with a limited dealer network and challenging economic conditions. Desperate to survive and to shake their conservative image, Pierce-Arrow management hired Phil Write as a consultant to design a new flagship that would show the world what Pierce was capable of. The result was the streamlined twelve-cylinder Silver Arrow. It made its grand debut at the 1933 New York Auto Show with the slogan “Suddenly it’s 1940!” The sensational machine featured fully enveloped front fenders, no running boards, and a distinct fastback roof treatment with a triangular rear-window opening. The design was a marvel; however, the shocking $10,000 price tag kept even the wealthiest customers away during the austere early 1930s. Only five were built, although the highly advanced styling went on to influence Pierce-Arrow’s regular production cars later in the decade, with the Silver Arrow name appearing on a flagship coupe that drew heavily from the Phil Write–penned original.

This Silver Arrow is one of only 875 cars produced in total by Pierce-Arrow in 1935. It is one of only two known surviving Model 1245 twelve-cylinder Silver Arrow coupes out of an estimated four units originally built. This exceptional motor car features an award-winning restoration commissioned in the 1990s by Los Angeles–based collector Harris Laskey. Finished in a striking yet understated two-tone maroon color scheme, this rare and breathtaking Silver Arrow remains in excellent condition, coming most recently from an extensive collection of significant automobiles. Finish quality on the factory coachwork is expectedly high, and the detailing is superb. The color scheme cleverly plays with the shapes and lines of the body, subtly highlighting the fastback shape. Accessories are kept to a minimum, with dual side-mounted spare wheels, an Archer mascot, and twin chrome trumpet horns topped with driving lamps. The tall, canted-back radiator and unique fender-mounted headlights are distinct Pierce-Arrow characteristics. The Silver Arrow is a grand and imposing car, riding on a 144-inch wheelbase and standing over six feet tall at the roof. Beige steel artillery wheels with wide whitewall tires provide a well-judged contrast.

Inside, light brown broadcloth covers the large, softly sprung front seats, door panels, and the generous rear seats. Darker brown carpets and gorgeous woodwork provide a pleasing contrast to the seat upholstery. The luxurious appointment includes opening rear windows, individual front seats, and a factory-equipped radio.

The big 462 cu. in. V-12 engine presents in good order, with slight mellowing since its meticulous restoration. The black enamel finish is in good condition, with some moderate cracking and “baking off” of the paint in places due to regular use and heat cycles. The presentation is otherwise tidy, with correct hardware, clamps, and fittings used throughout the engine bay. At an impressive 175 hp, Pierce’s V-12 matched Cadillac’s complex and expensive V-16 for output, giving even a large car like the Silver Arrow very respectable performance. The engine is paired with a three-speed manual transmission with optional freewheeling.

Since the restoration was completed, this rare Silver Arrow appeared in numerous prestigious events. It is a CCCA National First Prize winner; it appeared at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance; and it won its class at the 1999 Palo Verdes Concours, and was awarded Most Elegant at the Silverado Concours d’Elegance. This Pierce remains in beautiful cosmetic condition and is ready to be enjoyed on CCCA CARavan tours or with groups such as the AACA or the Pierce-Arrow Society. This is a rare opportunity to acquire one of just two known survivors of Pierce-Arrow’s most stylish and powerful offering from 1935.

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