Motor City

The Inn at St. John's
30 July 2016
Lot 131

1927 Pierce-Arrow Model 80 Four-Passenger Touring

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$60,500 USD | Sold

United States | Plymouth, Michigan

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Chassis No.
8022178
Engine No.
8022168
  • The sportiest four-passenger Pierce of its era
  • Equipped with the rare “New York” headlamps
  • Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) Full Classic

70 bhp, 288.5 cu. in. inline six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, solid axle suspension with leaf springs, and four-wheel vacuum-assisted drum brakes. Wheelbase: 130 in.

Few marques worldwide have developed the legendary reputation of the Pierce-Arrow. As a leader in the luxury car field, Pierce-Arrow built its name and status on its exquisitely engineered smooth, silent, and massive six-cylinder engines and the overall fine workmanship put into its vehicles.

Pierce-Arrow worked with its Buffalo, New York, neighbor, Aluminum Company of America, to perfect casting techniques, which resulted in producing cast aluminum body panels as thin as an eighth of an inch. The resulting Pierce-Arrow bodies were exceptionally strong and lightweight. Body design was handled within Pierce-Arrow by the talented Herbert Dawley. In 1913, it was Dawley who patented the feature that would come to be Pierce-Arrow’s trademark: the headlights faired into the tops of the front fenders. Most subsequent Pierce-Arrows throughout the company’s history came with this treatment.

The engineering, refinement, and attention to detail had made Pierce-Arrow a leader in the luxury car market. Yet, by the late 1920s, Pierce-Arrow was in trouble. Its competitors were able to undercut their prices through the use of faster, more modern production methods.

The Model 80 had first appeared in 1924 as a smaller, “owner-driver” companion to the T-head dual-valve six, introduced following the Armistice. In 1927, Pierce-Arrow offered the aluminum-bodied Model 80 with four-wheel vacuum-powered brakes. The temperature gauge was on the dashboard, but the fuel gauge was on the gas tank.

Presented in pale green over black, with a green leather interior accented by the beautiful wooden steering wheel and dashboard, the Four-Passenger Touring offered here is a most striking Pierce. It is equipped with painted wooden artillery wheels, a sporty single rear-mounted spare, a second windshield with “wind wings,” and a Motometer atop the radiator shell, as well as freestanding headlamps. The latter are the so-called “New York” headlamps, necessitated on cars ordered in Pierce-Arrow’s home state, where, for many years, the company’s famed “fender lights” were illegal. Freestanding lights were also regularly ordered by the company’s more conservative customers; however, they are an extremely rare sight today.

Pierce-Arrow historian Bernard Weis records former owners of this car as Wallace Boyce of Roswell, Georgia; Anthony D’Agostino of Park Ridge, New Jersey; and Peter Cohen of Longwood, Florida. In its current ownership, it presents nicely and has benefited from a recent service of its cooling system.

This sporting Pierce-Arrow would be an excellent addition to any Full Classic collection.