Pierce-Arrow Model 42 Sport Phaeton
This new-for-1931, four-passenger Pierce-Arrow Model 42 Sport Phaeton carried a considerable list price of $3,785 when new. It has had just four owners from new and is showing only about 15,000 miles, which are believed to be accurate and original. Longstanding members of the Pierce-Arrow Society know the Pierce and its provenance very well, and extensive research by the current owner strongly suggests James John “Jimmy” Walker, who was nicknamed “Beau James” and served as one of New York City’s most colorful mayors from 1926 to 1932, owned the car when it was new.
Several telltale features support its intended parade/ceremonial use. Firstly, the very distinctive two-tone Forest Green/Kelly Green exterior color scheme certainly evoked Walker’s Irish ancestry, which he proudly espoused (and his alleged ties to Tammany Hall). It was clearly outfitted for parade duty with a fold-down windshield with wind wings and aluminum framing, heavy-duty solid bumpers, a deleted rear footrest (to better allow standing) and the substitution of the usual side-mounted spare tires for a rear-mounted spare tire. This last feature is perhaps a concession to the Mayor’s somewhat smaller stature, which would certainly have been obscured by the usual (and rather massive) side-mounted spare tires of the era.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in October of 2011 at the Hershey Lodge, Hershey, Pennsylvania.
132 hp, 385 cu. in. L-head inline eight-cylinder engine, three-speed manual transmission with freewheeling, live front and rear axles with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and Bendix duo-Servo mechanical brakes. Wheelbase: 142"
Source: RM Auctions