The Milhous Collection | Lot 814
1913 Pierce-Arrow Model 48-B 5-Passenger Touring Car
$385,000 USD | Sold
| Boca Raton, Florida
25 February 2012
48 hp, 524.0 cu. in. T-head six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, solid front axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, live rear axle with three-quarter elliptic leaf springs, and two-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 142"
• Believed to be the only survivor of its type
• Pebble Beach class-winner in 1994
• Ideal to show or tour
The first six-cylinder Pierce was the Model 65-Q, introduced in 1907. Like the fours that preceded it, the new powerplant was of T-head configuration, displacing an impressive 648 cubic inches. Built on a 135-inch wheelbase, nearly a foot longer than the largest four-cylinder model, the 65-Q weighed in at slightly more than 4,000 pounds. About 100 were built, as opposed to 900 fours, but the tide was turning. For 1910, there were three sixes, the 36-UU, the 48-SS and the 66-QQ, which was basically the 65-Q with a quarter-inch larger bore. The model numbers were derived from the cars’ rated horsepower, which was calculated solely from the bore and number of cylinders. Successive models of 38, 48 and 66 horsepower would comprise the Pierce catalogue through 1918.
This particular car is extremely rare. It is the only aluminum-skinned early Pierce-Arrow known by marque experts to exist. Only the rear wheel-wells are cast aluminum, as 1/8-inch cast aluminum was the normal body construction for Pierce-Arrows of the era. The nature of this thinner coachwork was likely due to a specific customer request, and while Pierce-Arrow did offer this as an option in their catalogues, it was quite rare.
The complete history of this car is not recorded, but it is known to have been in Oregon for some years, prior to being purchased by Jack Passey, a California-based collector in 1989. Soon after it passed to Pat Craig of Stockton, California, then back to Mr. Passey, and then to Knox Kershaw, who submitted the car for restoration to Eric Rosenau of San Diego during the early 1990s. Upon completion, the Model 48 won its class at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 1994. The same year, at the Pierce-Arrow national meet, it was judged First in Class, Best of Show and Best Restoration.
Handsome in dark blue with red pinstripe, this Model 48-B Pierce-Arrow is an older restoration that shows evidence of careful use. The car’s nickel brightwork is very good, as is the laminated glass windshield. The seats are upholstered in black buttoned leather, in very good condition, and the black leatherette top is lined. Side curtains are included, carried in a pouch at the back of the front seat.
The engine is nicely detailed, painted black with an aluminum crankcase, and has a correct air-operated starter. Additional equipment includes electric lights, and the instruments on the panel include oil pressure, voltage, air pressure and a Warner Auto Meter speedometer-clock. The chassis is painted in dark blue and is nicely detailed, and the car is fitted with 37X5 B.F. Goodrich Silvertown tires.
Pierce-Arrow touring cars are a favorite choice for vintage tours. This car’s high standard of specifications, with self starting and electric lighting, make it a more practical tour car than most others its age. It is believed to be the only surviving 48-B five-passenger touring car, ensuring the new owner will be in a class all his own.