Buffalo’s Pierce Arrow Automobile Company was founded in its original form way back in 1865 as Heinz, Pierce and Munschauer, who manufactured various household items, including their best known product – gilded bird cages. In 1872, George Norman Pierce bought out his partners and added bicycles to the company’s portfolio. By 1900 they were experimenting with building steam cars under license and by 1904 they settled on building large, upscale models. Pierce-Arrow earned a reputation for solid reliability, excellent build quality and became one of the great names of the classic era.
For 1929, Pierce-Arrow developed a new and thoroughly modern L-head inline eight-cylinder engine. The new eight was significantly lighter than the large T-head six that it replaced, the design of which had its roots in the Brass Era. With an output of 125 horsepower, this new engine also provided a healthy 25 percent more power from fewer cubic inches, as well as smooth, vibration-free running. The reward for Pierce was that 1929 was the best-ever year for the company, with nearly 10,000 cars sold. Despite the dire economic conditions that loomed, optimism and momentum paved the way into 1930. For the turn of the new decade, the flagship Model A gained a magnificent 385 cubic inch, nine-main-bearing eight-cylinder that is considered today to be the best engine the company ever produced. With an impressive 132 horsepower, it propelled the big 144” wheelbase model A at a brisk pace. Few luxury cars of its day could match the Pierce’s performance. A synchronized transmission aided in drivability, and a wide array of bodies was available to suit their wealthy clientele’s needs.
This impressive 1930 Model A is a very handsome example of this rare and desirable flagship model from Pierce Arrow. Riding on a grand 144-inch wheelbase, the Convertible Coupe coachwork is finished in a striking combination of medium gray main body with black fenders and swage lines. Red coach stripes and the black painted wire wheels lend an air of sportiness to the elegant design.
While the restoration was performed some time ago, this wonderful Model A still presents in beautiful condition. Today, the black and gray paintwork has begun to show just a bit of age through very minor crazing in places, yet remains extremely attractive and honest. The body is straight, with very good shutlines and panel alignment, a testament to the quality of the restoration. The convertible coupe body style is quite sporting for the period, and it wears an array of accessories that add to the appeal. Up front, a radiator stone guard is fitted, as well as a single Pilot Ray spot lamp and a pair of unusual spot lamps mounted on a light bar. Of course, the signature faired-in headlights make this unmistakable as a Pierce Arrow. The proud “Kneeling Archer” mascot rides atop the radiator and he comes complete with the fragile (and oft missing) bow and arrow. Dual side mount spare tires are clamped in place with unusual and stylish chrome brackets that feature integrated mirrors. In the rear, a single tri-lens tail light, chrome trunk rack and gorgeous chrome bumper accentuate the style.
Stepping inside the cabin, you find beautiful black leather that shows hardly any creases or signs of use. The door panels and black carpet are also excellent but the highlight of the interior is no doubt the spectacular dash. The gorgeous woodwork is beautifully finished, extending from the dash and around onto the door caps. Original instrumentation and switchgear are accompanied by a Waltham Eight Day clock, cigar lighter and gorgeous Art Deco ash tray mounted on the passenger side. Should you wish to carry the occasional rear passenger, there is a rumble seat which trimmed in matching black leather, and appears virtually unused. The black canvas folding soft top is likewise in very good order.
Pierce Arrow’s big 385 cubic inch straight eight presents extremely well, finished correctly in an attractive mixture of gloss black paint and polished/plated metals and hardware. A few concessions such as modern belts and hoses have been fitted in the interest of reliability and serviceability, though the major components remain period correct and in very fine working order.
Beautiful, impressive, and luxurious, this Pierce-Arrow Model A is a very desirable example of one of the best models ever produced by this storied company. The sporting body in combination with the magnificent 132 horsepower, nine main-bearing engine and grand 144 inch wheelbase makes it an ideal choice for touring and events. The restoration on this car was clearly done properly, and from day one, it has been very well preserved and is ready to be thoroughly enjoyed.