Pierce-Arrow Convertible Sedan

A new straight-eight engine was green-lighted, boxy coachwork smartened up, and the 1929 Pierce-Arrow went from drawing board to production line in six months. The net result was a doubling of sales to 9,840, the company’s best year ever. Even the stock market crash didn’t hurt much at first, with 6,916 cars sold in 1930.

The year 1931 was the third of the Studebaker/Pierce-Arrow combine, and the companies performed well together. The top-of-the-line Model 41 rode on an enormous 147-inch wheelbase, as big as the Pierce-Arrows from the teens, and Studebaker found a canny way to offer “quick-delivery” customs by contracting with the LeBaron Coachworks. LeBaron would build five bodies including a convertible sedan, a convertible victoria, a coupe, a limousine and a club sedan. They’d be finished in primer “in the white,” and a customer would come to a Pierce-Arrow showroom and place the order there, choosing paint, trim and accessories. Pierce-Arrow would direct the coachbuilder, and a finished car would materialize at the dealership, with much fanfare.

The system worked well until the Depression caught up with the industry. These cars are some of the handsomest of the decade. They can be recognized by their single bar bumpers, a deeper radiator shell, more brightwork (300 pieces of stainless steel fitments in some cases) and the new “bareheaded” archer hood ornament, arguably the most handsome ever designed.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August of 2011 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.

132 hp, 385 cubic inch straight eight-cylinder engine, two-barrel updraft Stromberg carburetor, four-speed manual transmission, with freewheeling, front and rear semi-elliptic leaf springs, rear live axle, four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. Wheelbase: 147".

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Dan Savinelli

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